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J Composites 2022 - J99 LEADERBOARD

Ronstan Finn UK National Championship at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy

by John Heyes 18 May 10:38 PDT 13-15 May 2022
Ronstan Finn Nationals at the WPNSA © Richard Phillips

A strong turnout of 40 Finns gathered at WPNSA for the 2022 Ronstan UK National Championships. The growing popularity of the class was evidenced by the presence of several top returning Finnsters, including multiple Endeavour Trophy champion Nick Craig and BFA U23 squad graduate, Cameron Tweedle.

Friday's opening races were perfectly set up by PRO Brian Drake within Portland Harbour, with three laps of a proper sized championship windward /leeward course. Conditions were perfect building on epic, with a building breeze of 16-20 knots and glorious sun.

Youth and a strong downwind work ethic won the first race as Cameron Tweedle demonstrated his free pumping technique to take the win from Phantom class champion Andy Couch, with Nick Craig quickly regaining his feel for the Finn in third. Experience and fitness came to the fore in race two, with his winter training programme paying off for ex Laser World Champion Lawrence Crispin, whose pace downwind carved out a big lead ahead of Cameron and Andy Couch. With only 5-degree shifts to play with, the leaders tended to work the wind bend on the left-hand side of the course under Portland with occasional gains were made on the right by those willing to find an alternative route upwind.

The third race saw many tired legs as the wind built to 20 knots plus gusts and despite the Oscar free pumping flag still flying there was little take-up of that freedom outside the top few! True to the developing form book, Cameron took the win from a closing Crispin, with the consistent and much lighter Nick Craig working hard to take third.

Saturday's forecast of a light and shifting breeze from SE to NE proved accurate, so the morning was spent in wide-ranging dinghy park discussions on the latest new kit and tuning.

The hard-working race committee called the boats out to the outer end of the harbour for a race at 2pm, just as soon as the new 7 knot easterly breeze had stabilised. The fleet started cleanly first time under the 'U' flag, with boats on both sides of the course sniffing out the greatest pressure. In sharp distinction to Friday, it was the turn of the lighter weight sailors to show their ability, with Fergus Allen stretching out a useful lead by hunting down the best of the small shifts, leading around the 3 lap course by a clear margin. Lawrence Crispin proved that it wasn't only a lightweights race, to move through to second on the tactical upwind legs, holding off John Heyes in third - winning the photo finish from a late surge on the line from Kieron Holt.

A second race was quickly in process and was again a highly tactical game of chess with numerous place changes upwind, as the sailors looked to exploit every small puff, wind bend and shift. Nick Craig used all his multi-class experience to work the beat to lead at the end of the third upwind, just ahead of Heyes and Kristian Sjoberg. It was great to experience the mutual respect and sportsmanship of the top sailors as they allowed each other to cross on port, avoiding overly aggressive moves whilst still using every effort to get ahead of the competition. On the final downwind, John Heyes played the left of the run, finding a useful gust to pass Craig and claim an unexpected win.

Saturday evening was taken up with the sailors coming together to have their say at the class AGM, where the memories of Ray New and Richard Blowman were shared with great sadness and their contributions to the class were remembered. Retiring Class Secretary Martin Hughes was honoured for his 14 year stint in this important role, his great knowledge and experience will be retained as he kindly agreed to take on a Training Officer role for the class.

On Sunday morning, competitors woke to rain and a squally 20 knot plus breeze from the east, not a very inviting prospect. With the wind forecast to build further at lunchtime, the decision was taken to schedule just two races for the day. Whether this decision helped or not, a number of sailors took to the water in a breeze which was then gusting over 25 knots.

The sixth race got under way and first to the windward mark was Lawrence Crispin followed by Simon Percival and Cameron Tweedle. Down the run Simon and Cameron lost out to Fergus Allan and Kristian Sojberg, who both showed great pace, picking the breeze and waves down the left side of the run.

Cameron fought back into third place on the next upwind leg, working the right side of the course, but could not catch Kristian or Lawrence, who both excelled in the conditions which had by now started to subside. Lawrence had now ground out a big lead to take the gun for the win at the same time fork lighting was seen in the distance together with the rumble of thunder - perfectly staged!

Given the risk of thunderstorms in the area, Brian Drake took the decision to send the fleet back ashore to the safety of the academy. It was then a clear decision to bring the championship to an end, given the weather risks to sailors that were developing.

At the presentation, Cameron Tweedle was crowned BFA Finn National Champion, winning the prestigious Sunday Times Gold Cup and first Senior - a fitting tribute to the foresight of Ray New and the BFA in fostering the talent of U 23 sailors looking for a pathway to championship success. Cameron can now add his name to the illustrious list on the Gold Cup, alongside Vernon Stratton, Chris Law, Ian Percy, Ben Ainslie, Giles Scott and many more.

Every competitor was awarded a prize from the generous supply of sailing products from Ronstan, together with a valuable discount voucher.

The competitiveness of the fleet was underlined by Lawrence Crispin, who was only a point behind in second place and also claimed the first Grand Master title. Nick Craig was 5 points astern in third and won the Master category and was so back in love with the Finn he promised to buy a boat!

Kristian Sjoberg won the first Great Grand Master title in 6th place and Howard Sellers claimed the battle of the Legends in 28th place by a point from Peter Blick and Super Legend Richard Hart.

Newly elected BFA Secretary Simon Percival rounded the celebrations off by thanking Pete Allam's event team at WPSA for an excellent and very friendly event and recorded the BFA's thanks again to Ronstan and The Old Salt Loft for supporting another successful UK Finn National Championship. The visiting on the water judge, Sian was so impressed with the fleet's attitude and on the water behaviours she had little trade all weekend and said the Finns "Were one of the nicest classes ever", and she was keen to come back as a judge again - praise indeed...

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Finn nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosNatSail NoHelmClubCatR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1GBR45Cameron TweedleWPNSAOpen121‑94311
2GBR74Lawrence CrispinStone SCGM6122‑8112
3GBR56Nick CraigBurghfield SCMaster34352‑817
4GBR79Andy CouchBlithfield SCMaster2348‑9724
5GBR2Allen BurrellThorpe Bay YCGM4‑7673424
6FIN201Kristian SjobergNJKGGM567‑107227
7GBR86Fergus AllanLoch Earn SCGM‑20812111638
8GBR49James DownerGurnard SCOpen7986‑181040
9GBR635Simon PercivalChristchurch SCMaster851013‑20541
10GBR567Martin HughesWarsash SCGGM9‑139115943
11GBR61John HeyesWarsash SCGGM14162031(DNC[39])54
12GBR8Tim CarverWarsash SCGM101251512(DNC[39])54
13GBR33Kieron HoltWarsash SCMaster1122(DNS[39])461255
14GBR0David WalkerYorkshire Dales SCGM161015‑20191373
15GBR21Michael de CourcyMengeham Rythe SCGM13111724‑301176
16GBR634Roger CerratoWarsash SCMaster21‑281617101680
17GBR750Ivan BurdenMengeham Rythe SCGM171413‑34221480
18GBR679James ColeWarsash SCMaster1215111431(DNC[39])83
19GBR581Alex AtkinsChristchurch SCMaster‑22211416151884
20GBR51David KitchenPort Edgar YCGGM1820(UFD[39])12281593
21GBR12Daniel Belton  151919(UFD[39])232197
22GBR85Gary Phare  23261818‑3517102
23GBR84Oliver MurrayYorkshire Dales SCOpen2525(RET[39])211619106
24GBR1Sander KooijThorpe Bay YCGGM1917(RET[39])2526DNC[39]126
25GBR13Roman KhodykinMengeham Rythe SCMaster2424(RET[39])2614DNC[39]127
26GBR20Andy DenisonChristchurch SCGGM2718213334(DNC[39])133
27GBR40Russell NewChristchurch SCMaster2633222827(DNC[39])136
28GBR777Howard SellarsWarsash SCLegend3430(DNS[39])2213DNC[39]138
29GBR34Peter BlickChristchurch SCLegend2832232729(DNC[39])139
30GBR44Simon PhilbrickChristchurch SCMaster2929272333(DNC[39])141
31GBR631Richard HartMengeham Rythe SCLegend3536263217(DNC[39])146
32GBR47Tim NewtonOxford SCGM3127243036(UFD[39])148
33GBR619Christopher BarbaryWarsash SCGM303128(UFD[39])24DNC[39]152
34GBR111John DeLeeuwLoch Venachar SCGGM(DNC[39])23RET[39]2925DNC[39]155
35GBR4Russell WardHayling Island SCGGM(RET[39])DNC[39]DNC[39]1921DNC[39]157
36GBR18Jonathan PykeMengeham Rythe SCGM333525(DNC[39])DNC[39]20157
37GBR545Dick PrattBosham SCLegend3234(RET[39])3137DNC[39]173
38GBR66Robin GrangeMengeham Rythe SCGGM36(RET[39])DNC[39]3532DNC[39]181

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