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Flying 15 Southerns - Wells and Darling victory

'Flying Fifteen Southern Championship 2008'    Fotoboat.com ©

Very mixed weather for the Flying fifteen Southern Championship at the Royal Torbay YC. Torrential rain and thunder storms on the Saturday and Sunday was a hot and sunny day but the sea breeze did not settle in at all.

Victory went to Greg Wells and Mark Darling from Hayling Island SC, sailing their new boat, 3920 Betty. This was a return to the podium for Greg after a twenty year gap - the last time he won the Southerns. In second place were Mike Hart and Richard Rigg with third Barry and Sue Parkin.


The Race Officer did a very good job in difficult circumstances to get two races in on each day laying the course very close inshore on the Sunday to use the land breeze. The fleet of 46 boats headed out into Torbay in glorious sunshine and a building sea breeze from the South East. All was looking good for the three scheduled races except for some ominous storm clouds over the land. Sure enough the storm clouds took control and the heavens opened which killed the sea breeze and left a wind which boxed the compass.

Eventually, it settled from the South West at 10 knots and the race team quickly set a Triangle sausage course and race 1 was underway. The unfortunate Sue Bannister/Pride were caught OCS. Goacher/Evans and Davy/Harper both started just down from the Committee Boat and sailed a long starboard tack towards Brixham found some extra pressure and a nice 10 degree header, tacked and were one and two at the windward mark closely followed by Wells/Darling and the Parkins. These positions remained unchanged at the finish.

Between races another storm cloud came through and the wind dropped in strength but remained reasonably steady from the South West but now with plenty of holes to catch the unlucky. The first beat of race 2 was all about avoiding the holes and this was done brilliantly by Nutt/Hough who had a good lead at the windward mark. With an extra round and the lighter winds this was a much longer race and gave plenty of opportunity for boats to catch up as was proved by the Parkins. They sailed magnificently to recover form the late teens to eventually win the race followed by Nutt/Hough and Mckee/Hewkin.

The best recovery was made by the Falats who were virtually last at one point but managed to wriggle there way through to a very creditable seventh. With more storm clouds coming through the race officer rightly sent the fleet home. So, overnight the Parkins held a good lead on 5 points with Wells/Darling and the consistent Kitchens joint second on 13 points.

Sunday dawned with a cloudless sky and a moderate north westerly blowing off the land. The fleet sailed out into the bay hoping to get at least one good race in the north westerly before it was killed off by the thermal activity on the land. Alas, it was not to be and by the scheduled start time of 10.30 we were in the doldrums. It looked certain that a sea breeze would develop from the north east but after an hour of waiting it was not to be so the race officer and his team wisely decided to move further inshore where the North Westerly was still active.

There were holes and shifts everywhere and conditions were more akin to sailing on a lake rather than open sea. At the windward mark the leaders were Craven-Smith/Alvarado but it was Mckee/Hewkin who revelled in these conditions to win the race followed by Apthorp/Green and Wells/Darling.

With the delays it was obvious that there was only going to be one more race and therefore the title was still between five boats. McKee/Hewkin were leading on 4 points, Parkins were second on 5 points, Wells/Darling third on 6 points, Hart/Rigg on 10 points and Goacher /Evans on 11 points.

In the final race most of the fancied riders headed left towards the shore where there looked to be more pressure but to their disappointment they all ended up in a hole and deep in the pack. It was the boats to the right led by Hart/Rigg and Browning/Weatherill who led at the first mark. Wells/Darling just managed to dig themselves out of the mire and although in the late teens at the windward mark were at least in sight of the leading pack.

Mckee/Hewkin, the Parkins and Goacher/Evans were all but out of contention. Hart/Rigg went on to win the race which mean’t Wells/Darling had to finish 4th if they were to win the Southerns. A magnificent second beat saw them climb many places and squeeze round the top mark in third place and then down the final run they just pipped Browning/Weatherill at the post to finish 2nd and be crowned Southern Area champions.

All in all a very tricky weekend of sailing in which race officer Peter Rumbelow and his team did an excellent job to get in four races. The FF fleet would like to thank RTYC for putting on a great event and we look forward to returning soon.

Flying 15 - Final overall positions (46 entries)

1 3920 Greg Wells Mark Darling 3 10 3 2 8
2 3917 Mike Hart Richard Rigg 6 15 4 1 11
3 3911 Barry Parkin Sue Parkin 4 1 7 13 12
4 3905 David McKee Chris Hewkin 14 3 1 47 18
5 3842 Simon Kneller Dave Lucas 9 11 5 9 23
6 3818 Gill Browning Simon Weatherill 31 8 14 3 25
7 3923 Charles Apthorp Alan Green 15 14 2 10 26
8 3679 Ian Cadwallader Dave Sweet 7 18 11 8 26
9 3799 Veronica Falat Ben Falat 10 7 13 12 29
10 3922 Jeremy Davy Tim Harper 2 17 12 21 31
11 3904 Henry Craven-Smith Matt Alvarado 12 12 8 20 32
12 3853 Robert Hogben Glyn Morgan 29 20 6 7 33
13 3821 Steve Goacher Phil Evans 1 24 10 23 34
14 3883 Alan Bax Steve Butcher 13 9 16 19 38
15 3835 Andy Goddard Chris Massey 17 4 20 33 41
16 3716 Justin Waples Iain Stowe 18 6 19 18 42
17 3790 Peter Kitchen David Kitchen 8 5 31 47 44
18 3718 Brett Dingwall Steve Corby 5 19 21 22 45
19 3851 Ian Linder Kevin Sweetman 30 16 15 15 46
20 3914 Adrian Tattersall Tim Smart 21 13 43 14 48
21 3449 Nick Stone Sam Stone 16 27 24 11 51
22 3567 George Rock-Evans John Moorhouse 34 39 17 5 56
23 3645 Colin Nutt Chris Hough 36 2 29 26 57
24 3734 Howard Green Ian Preston 11 33 18 30 59
25 3899 Michael Thompson Simon Middleton 35 23 38 4 62
26 3611 Steve Douthwaite Russell Davies 28 28 30 6 62
27 3787 David Brockbank Janet Lefton 20 21 22 28 63
28 2523 Andrew McKee Maf Smith 27 26 36 16 69
29 3890 Geoff Bayliss Martin Grady 23 22 27 25 70
30 3772 Chris Swallow Matt Pallett 22 43 34 17 73
31 3736 Sue Bannister Martin Pride 47 25 26 27 78
32 3795 Simon Patterson Simon Thompson 39.5 30 9 47 78.5
33 3721 David Tunnicliffe Steven Jackson 26 31 23 47 80
34 3901 Mike Kilbee Tony Cox 32 32 25 24 81
35 3802 Mark Gardner Craig McCarthy 25 38 28 47 91
36 3536 Steve Hine Chris Beyerman 33 36 33 29 95
37 3521 Keith Jameson Adrian Simpson 37 29 35 34 98
38 3806 John Washington Richard Dobson 19 35 47 47 101
39 3827 Andrew Millband Andrea Millband 47 34 32 35 101
40 3902 Peter Hogg Alex Dobson 24 41 42 47 107
41 3653 Adam Mangan Terry Wuthrich 39.5 37 44 31 107.5
42 3378 Andy Clark Nadia Melnikova 38 40 40 32 110
43 3916 Mike Riley Steve Brown 41 44 45 36 121
44 3843 M R Edmondson S Wearing 42 45 39 47 126
45 3278 Paul McCarthy Gary Butler 43 42 41 47 126
46 3813 Peter Slater Jo Richardson 47 47 37 47 131




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8:58 AM Tue 10 Jun 2008 GMT






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