Last Saturday (11 October), saw the 12ft Skiff fleet rock-up to Draycote Water for the final round of this year’s Bartercard Cup series, and with Design Source and Nice Action both going into the event on equal points, it was going to be close.
With the wind forecast was for 8-10kts, decreasing during the afternoon, with even less on Sunday, the fleet got out onto the water for a relatively early start (early for the 12 fleet is about noon!). The plan for the day was to have 2 races back-to-back, come in for a lunch break (and rig change if needed), and then to have a further 2 back-to-back races after lunch. The course was small and with each 3-lap race only lasting about 40 minutes, a swim could mean the difference between first and last place.
No.1 rigs were the order of the day for all, except on Simon Roberts’ 'Team Bartercard' Slug design, who’s boat is designed to be easily-driven and hence require less power, hence sported his No.2-sized rig.
12ft Skiff Design Source and Aquaskipper soaking down hill - Courtesy 12ft Skiff Association
The first race saw Design Source & Bartercard take a successful port-end flyer off the start.
Crossing the rest of the fleet to be first and second respectively at the windward mark, with Aquaskipper, Nice Action, and CST in persuit.
Design Source then proceeded to do a complete 'Horizon job' on the rest of the fleet, finishing almost half a lap ahead of Bartercard, with Nice Action in 3rd, Aquaskipper 4th, and CST Composites 5th.
Race 2 saw a very close start line, but with a notable lack of Team Bartercard, who had decided to go for a blast down the lake between races, and were still making their way back to the line.
This race again saw Design Source taking the lead at an early stage, but this time they were unable to break-away from Nice Action. To the complete surprise of the entire fleet, Simon Roberts and Richard Butler on Bartercard, caught the fleet up, overtaking Nice Action into 2nd place at the final top mark rounding.
The race was looking set for the same line honours as in race 1, when at the final leeward mark, Design Source snapped a trapeze wire ending in a swim, allowing Bartercard to take the gun, with Nice Action in 2nd, Design Source 3rd, and Aquaskipper 4th.
So at lunch break, Bartercard was in the lead, (with a 1st and a 2nd), with Design Source in 2nd overall (with a 1st and a 3rd), and Nice Action in 3rd overall (with a 2nd and a 3rd).
12ft Skiff Design Source making the most of the light winds. - Courtesy 12ft Skiff Association
As the fleet went back out after lunch, it became clear that the wind was starting to drop, and that there was not going to be a 4th race, so with Design Source only 1 point ahead of Nice Action and no discards, Design Source only had to beat Nice Action to win the series.
So Race 3 pre-start saw Design Source hunting-down Nice Action in classic Match Racing style, and at the gun, Design Source sat on Nice Action all the way up the first beat, before breaking away.
This allowed Aquaskipper to blast away at the front of the fleet, before losing their lead on the fist downwind leg due to a 'may west' wine-glass in their kite (perhaps we should now call it a 'Katie Price' with the size of the No.1 kites?). This allowed Design Source to take the lead, which they held to the finish, with Bartercard 2nd, and Nice Action just pipping Aquaskipper on the line for 3rd.
So after another really exciting year of 12ft Skiff racing, Team Design Source took the win for the event, which also secured them the Bartercard Cup by 2 points over Nice Action. 12ft Skiff - Final overall positions
1st Design Source Chris Ghandi & Tom Vian 5pts
2nd Bartercard Simon Roberts & Richard Butler 5pts
3rd Nice Action Bob Clements & Alan Atterbury 8pts
4th Aquaskipper Neil Cardno & Ken Scott-Brown 13pts
5th CST Composites Andy Lang & Tom Gruitt 15pts
12ft Skiff - CST composites - Courtesy 12ft Skiff Association
The 12ft Skiff Class would like to thank Bartercard plc for their continued support, Draycote Water for their usually warm welcome, Iain Christie for acting as PRO, Predator Technology for the loan of the 'headcams' and 'boatcams', and all of the contributors of photos of the day.
Photo's credited to Amy Grant