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Flying Fifteen Worlds - The full story

by FF Media on 27 Jun 2007
Mike Hart and Tim Hall, Flying 15 World Champions 2007 Pedro Creixell
Mike Hart and Tim Hall (GBR) from Port Dinorwic SC, won the 16th International Flying Fifteen World Championships at their seventh attempt. After taking an early lead they held off all challengers, until the final race when they match raced the three time champions, Steve Goacher and Phil Evans (Royal Windermere YC, GBR) to hold them behind and take the Title.

Day One - 10 June 2007

Seventy-four International Flying Fifteens came to the start line on the alpha course to begin the 16th World Championships in the beautiful surroundings of the Bay of Pollensa, Mallorca, under clear blue skies with a steady 10 to 12 knot breeze.

However as the fleet approached the start line there was a 30-degree wind shift and shortly after this the race officer decided to abandon the race. After a considerable delay the race officer was able to set a line and commenced the starting sequence for race two, the fleet were cleanly away and making good progress.

However with the leaders 300 yards from the finish line the wind dropped away to almost nothing and the race officer abandoned racing for the day.

Day Two - 11 June

The Open fleet again gathered on the alpha course to begin the now delayed start to the world championships. The race officer made every effort to set a line in the shifting breeze and eventually postponed the start to await a steady breeze. With the breeze steady at 14 knots blowing straight off the sea into the bay the line and course were eventually set.

The fleet was perhaps showing some degree of frustration due to the delays up to this point and three general recalls were made, the fleet eventually getting off under a black flag. Although starting down the bunch the early leaders, Alan Bax and Paul Busby (HISC, GBR) tacked away to the right of the course into clear air.

At the start of the next lap the wind died to a light fickle breeze and this saw Mike Hart and Tm Hall (Port Dinorwic SC, GBR) pick the shifts towards the cliffs passing Bax and Busby to be race winners on the first day.

Second were Bax and Busby, third David McKee and Chris Hewkin (Dovestone SC, GBR), and fourth Nick and Janet Jerwood defending world champions (Royal Freshwater Bay YC, AUS).

Day Three - 12 June

Race two

The second day and second race of the championships provided the fleet with a consistent 14 knot breeze, however as this race was officially a re-sail of one of the races on the first day which saw seven boats fall victim the dreaded black flag - these seven were not allowed to start this race.

The fleet got cleanly away with the leaders coming off the middle of the line, tacking on to port towards the cliffs, the rest of the fleet were history, and this race definitely belonged to the Australians with; 1st Ron Packer and Peter Mudford (Royal Freshwater Bay YC, AUS), 2nd Nick and Janet Jerwood (AUS), 3rd Hart and Hall (GBR) and 4th Morgan Sheehy and Alan Green (National YC, IRL)

Race three

The Race officer clearly wanting to make up for the early delays, started the third race of the championship was shortly after the fleet had completed Race two. However a few seconds before the start a 20 degree wind shift allowed local sailors Paco Ibanez and Juan Ignacio Merayo to start on port in front of the fleet.

Charles Apthorp and David Ricard (HISC, GBR), in their brand new boat only finished the week before the event, quickly saw the shift and tacked underneath the Spanish boat to pick up the breeze from the cliffs and drag out to the right and eventually the lead - the early event leaders Hart and Hall finishing in their worst position so far in tenth.

Race three finishing order as follows; 1st Charles Apthorp and David Ricard (GBR) 2nd Grant Anderson and Dean McAulay (RFBYC, AUS), 3rd Simon Kneller and Dave Lucas (Grafham, GBR), 4th Darren Martin and Simon Murray (Strangford Lough S C, IRL) and 5th Steve Goacher and Phil Evans, former three time world champions (Royal Windermere YC, GBR).

Prior to the start of todays racing team GBR sporting the team colours orange and black from sponsors TNT assembled in front of RCNNPP for a team photo.

Day Four – 13 June

Race 4

The fourth race of the championship was delayed for one and a half hours to allow the sea breeze to overcome the off shore wind before an inconsistent and fluctuating breeze the fleet got away at the second attempt. In testing conditions the leading group split at the lee gate, though as boats converged at the windward mark the race was abandoned for reasons only apparent to the race officer.

With the reset course and wind still bearing the steady 010 degrees the race was again started cleanly though at the second attempt.

Those staying with the fresher breeze on the right of the course were favoured and the fleet saw a new leader at the windward mark, Peter and Sue Bannister (HISC, GBR), a boat length ahead of Goacher and Evans then event leaders Hart & Hall.

First to gybe was Hart, followed by Goacher, who found the right breeze and pulled away from the pursuing fleet with Hart and Hall rounding the leeward gate comfortably ahead of Goacher and Evans, then the Bannister’s.

With both Hart and Hall, and Goacher and Evans well ahead of the fleet to finish in that order after another triangle. A battle was on for third spot with six boats in contention. In a nerve challenging final beat with the wind oscillating 40 degrees at a time, McKee and Hewkin edged out the Bannister’s for third, with Justin Waples and Ian Stowe (Grafham, GBR) in fifth.

In terms of the overall championship standings with Hart and Hall placed first with a score line of 1, 3, 10, 1 the overall second placed boat dropping from 6th to 16th on the final beat now have results of 4, 2, 9, 16.

The question was could Mike Hart and Tim Hall consolidate their lead or would the now hard charging pack be able to hunt then down as we go into the final three races of the championship. Six GBR boats in the top ten overall places, the rest taken by a fair spread of Australia, Ireland and New Zealand - this was certainly a keenly contested open championship.

Day 5 - 15 June

Race 5

The Flying Fifteen World championships were set to have the closest finish since Dublin in 2003 with three crews in clear contention after yesterday’s racing. Early leaders Mike Hart and Tim Hall just hanging on to a slender 2 point lead from Steve Goacher and Phil Evans (GBR) and the Jerwood’s (AUS) both on 17 points.

With the prevailing wind established by mid morning from the south, as per the pre worlds, the race officer was eager to get race 5 away before the southerly breeze died away.

Many felt that the left side of the course would pay on the first beat as the sea breeze was showing a tendency to influence the gradient breeze during the week.

However Goacher and Evans, having re gained their traditional uncanny ability to sniff out the best Breeze, came off the line at the committee boat end and shortly tacked on to port (heading right). With the leading bunch including the South Africans And Irish heading to the western shore, the fleet became split between the left and right of the course, with Goacher and Evans having called it right closely followed by Apthorp and Ricard who also came up the western shore.

Event leaders Hart and Hall, having suffered gear failure at the windward mark, were forced to make temporary repairs down the run, which cost them many places.

Goacher and Evans sailed a middle course down the run with Apthorp and Ricard choosing to gybe off to the western shore, which paid off. Apthorp and Ricard rounded the leeward mark first closely followed by Goacher and Evans who hitched up to gain clear air and take substantial lead on the second beat. As the Jerwoods moved into seco

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