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A Class Cat GBR National Championships at Weymouth

by Gordon Upton 22 Aug 2019 14:43 PDT 18-21 August 2019
USA National Champion Bruce Mahoney foils upwind to the top mark - A Class Cat GBR National Championships at Weymouth © Paula Kopylowicz Exploder

After two days of not sailing due to high wind limits, the thoroughbred competitors of the GBR Nationals, or Britnats, as the Aussies call it, where starting to get rather twitchy. But on day 3, Weymouth finally delivered, albeit with a few jellyfish the size of dustbins floating around, having blown in during the previous few days South Westerly storms.

Racing out in the bay so that David Campbell-James, the event PRO, could get a long course set in the higher winds. Both Classic and Open fleets sailed on the same course, with the Open fleet off first and sailing 3 laps to the Classic fleets 2. This proved to be the perfect solution for the fleets, as there were some 51 or so boats entered, but several no shows. The Open leaders tended to do their races in 35 mins, the Classics in about 45.

All the races got away first time with minimal fuss and only a couple got the dreaded UFD designation for being across the line within the last minute before the go.

The wind in the first race was a pleasant 14-15knots pretty much Westerly, although it started to swing left and right as the race progressed leaving the sailors trying to guess the correct side of the course. Mischa Heemskerk NED 7, Bruce Mahoney USA 311 and Stevie Brewin AUS 4 was the finish in the Open. Scott Anderson AUS 31, Micky Todd ESP 7 and Alberto Farnessi SWE 59 in the Classics. No score was recorded for the jellyfish, but it was thought that they took out several competitors rudders.

Race 2 was similar but with the wind sneaking up to 16 with 20 knot gusts. The fleet, slightly depleted by the sea fauna casualties, again set off. One or two more boats fell over now as the wind got up. The swinging looked less of a problem now, as the racers slowly switched towards survival mode. Stevie won that one, with Misha second and Dave Shaw NZL 230 in third, despite coming into the bottom mark rather hot and hard, finding no way around the classics in the way, elected to do an emergency stop by leaping into the air and crashing down in spectacular manner, mere yards from your correspondent who had just rounded on his Classic old DNA. The Classics were again won by Scotty, with Alberto following and Bruno Biedermann SUI 56 in third.

Then the wind got up more again. The fleets set off into 20-24knot gusts. Survival mode for many, life affirming for others. Being overtaken downwind on a Classic by a foiling 'A' Cat doing 27.5 knots is quite eye opening. The tactics by now were just to stay on the top part of the boat and finish. Again, Stevie beat Mischa with Dave following up in third. The Classics had Scotty and Alberto, but with GBR sailor Owen Cox in third.

But again as ever, the best winds were saved for the sail back home. This was some great sailing, other than the arcade game of dodging the jellyfish part. But a great way to get the first races of this regatta on the board.

The second day of racing at the GBR Nationals brought much lighter conditions, 7-8 knots was the form. This also created wind holes in parts of the course, and together with wind shifts, created conditions more familiar to lake sailors. Often though, a sea breeze can develop in the afternoons here, but today it would added maybe a knot or two this time.

The race format was the same as day one; three races, two starts, one course. Only this time, the conditions were much more a Classic boat day. With the three lap Open and two lap Classic division format put the boot on the other foot with the Classics having to wait between the races for the foilers to finish for a change.

The shifts meant that on one lap one side was favoured, and maybe on the next it had moved to the other. This was very much a tactical experts day.

All the starts for off first time, possibly leading to the PRO having a misguided belief now that the 'A' Cats are the pussycats of all the fleets, as they are so well behaved at the line. Maybe he'll be in for a rude awakening though at the Worlds this weekend as the bigger fleets fight for positions on the line. The decision to run both fleets at the same time, albeit on different starts, proved to be a very workable mode, presenting few problems, and the finishing times were comparable with the differing lap numbers

Racing inside Portland Harbour this time, partly to reduce jellyfish encounters and partly because the lower winds can require a shorter top mark distance. The jellyfish were still at the party though, however fewer in number and they were hit less hard if you did get one. They will hopefully be gone in a couple of days, and seem to sink down when it's sunny.

In the Classics, the form of the previous day was still Scott Anderson AUS on the Exploder AD3 and Alberto Farnessi SWE on his old Marstrom battlecruiser, fighting for positions and with Bruno Biedermann SUI chasing in third. First blood of the day went to Scotty, but Alby showed great skill over the former World Champ by getting the final two bullets so he finished just 2 points behind in the end. GBR sailor Owen Cox was in his element on his newly acquired DNA. Owen is a lake sailor and sails at Bala Lake in Wales, so can handle shifts and the light stuff with ease, and became GBR National Champion as a result, and finished a very creditable 5thoverall.

In the Open division, the 'early foilers', so called because they can get on their foils in lighter winds earlier, were the winners here. This may well be a skill needed at time next week because so far, the forecast is at the lighter end of the window. Stevie Brewin AUS, sailing his spare Exploder Ad3 just managed to fend of a strong challenge from Mischa Heemskerk NED on the bright green DNA F1x, and an even stronger challenge from Bruce Mahoney USA on his British Racing Green F1x, we all assumed had been painted specially in honour of this event! The Junior GBR sailor Oscar Lindley-Smith was the top Brit in this strong field and thus becomes GBR Open National Champion.

So, now with the dress rehearsal over, all thoughts turn to the big one. A couple of days visiting Monkey World, Portland Bill and the Tank Museum or drinking local cider, then Saturday at 1pm for the practice race. Race one of the 2019 Worlds starts 11am Sunday, with two races in the Open division followed by two in the Classics at 1PM on the same course.

We all watch with anticipation, as a few are yet to show their hands.

Classic Fleet Overall Results:

PosNatSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1AUS31Scott AndersonGosford SC1111‑226
2SWE59Alberto FarnesiLoftahammersbat SC‑3222118
3SUI56Bruno BiedermannRVS SC‑153533317
4ESP29Francisco Javier Acosta MedinaClub Nautico De Torre Del Mar7‑10695532
5GBR72Owen CoxBala SC‑13535101134
6SUI310Valente JacquesYC de Genève (Swisstransplant)677‑107734
7AUS27William MichieRichmond River SRRC(RET)44714837
8AUS992Mark CapelBrisbane Valley SC119106‑12440
9GBR111Mike BawdenRutland SC56813‑171345
10ESP129Javier Acosta MoralesClub Nautico De Torre Del Mar812‑13811948
11GBR15Struan WallaceThorpe Bay SC416(RET)1141449
12GBR3Neil Klabe 10119‑1781553
13GBR2Colin BannisterRutland SC12‑13121291055
14AUS9John DowlingMultihull YC Queensland(DNC)DNCDNC46660
15BEL17Astrid JanssensMiddelfart Sejlklub‑18141115131265
16GBR4Gordon UptonRutland SC98(UFD)1416DNC69
17GBR8Richard BartholomewRutland SC1415(DNC)16151676
18GBR14Anthony WykesRutland SC171714‑18181783
19ESP7Michael ToddCar Murcia2(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC90
20GBR39Luke SwainWhitstable YC16(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC104
21GBR53Hugh MacgregorLargs(DNC)DNCDNC19DNCDNC107

If you finished in the top ten at the A Class Catamaran nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

Foiling Fleet Overall Results:

PosNatSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1AUS4Steven BrewinKCC3113‑4210
2NED7Mischa HeemskerkWSV De Braasssem122‑62310
3USA311Bruce MahoneyMahoney Projects25‑611514
4NZL270Dave ShawNelson YC‑73323617
5AUS1035James WierzbowskiMerricks YCDFP‑8555424
6FRA2Emmanuel DodéSR Vannes674‑166831
7NED207Thijs Visser 1147117‑2440
8AUT96Michael Mödlhammer 1011(DNC)49741
9AUS63Mark GriffithRPAYC5981510‑1947
10AUS51Paul LarsenWPNSA81010‑26161256
11GER6Rainer BohrerTSU Utting1613(DNC)12131670
12SUI87Nils PalmieriClub Nautique de Vetsoix(UFD)61210UFD1172
13GBR599Oscar Lindley‑SmithWPNSA15121618‑221475
14ESP16Marc VerdaguerClub Nautic L'Escala14(DNC)DNC7121076
15SUI65Charles BuecheBT131414‑24232185
16POL111Michal KorneszczukYC Gdansk(DNC)DNF92081888
17GBR24Dave RobertsStokes Bay SC19(DNC)DNC820989
18NED93Willem PlokkerHellecat1816(DNC)17152591
19GBR21Richard HargreavesCowes Corinthian YC(RET)DNC172318192
20NED12Eric LampierHellecatRDG15132725(DNC)94
21CZE1Vladislav PtasnikALT F20T9(DNC)1128212796
22DEN77Tom BøjlandRoyal Danish YC12(DNC)DNC22141596
23SUI33Heiko MaierRCZ20(DNC)DNC141717101
24NZL555Phil RobertsonRoyal NZY SQN(DNC)DNCDNC91123109
25BEL19Wim DecaRNSYC2217(DNF)25UFD20117
26SUI17Dominik PeikertYacht Club Zug(RET)DNC1513UFD26120
27DEN19Felix JacobsenRoyal Danish YC21(DNC)DNC212629130
28SUI9Daniel CaviezelYacht Club Ascona(DNC)DNCDNCDNC1913131
29GBR1964Alun DaviesCayman Islands SC(RET)DNCDNC192422131
30GBR25Sam HeatonNDYC(RET)DNC18RET2728139
31ESP11Manuel CalaviaRoyal Barcelona YC(DNC)DNFDNFDNCDNFDNC165
31AUS1067Joseph RandallMcCrae YC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCUFDDNC165

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