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Musto Skiff Firecracker Open at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Andy Tarboton 8 Nov 2022 22:20 PST 5-6 November 2022
Dan Vincent at the 2022 UK Nationals in September 2022 © Tim Olin /

The Grand finale to the UK Musto Skiff season was packed with thrills, spills and all to play for. For Dan 'the-man' Vincent, the UK circuit was up for grabs if he won this event in another extremely close season with the formidable Jono Shelley. North vs South, the great rivalry. Jono had done all that was possible and could only wait and see if Dan would rise to the challenge.

And the pressure was on... a mere event win is hard enough to achieve, but the sailing course at Itchenor is narrow, the forecast was for 'fresh to frightening' conditions all weekend, and the line-up of competitors included the two time and reigning UK National Champion, Sam Pascoe, and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed boats at this years' World Championships. Game on!

Saturday greeted the fleet with a building and gusty south-westerly breeze. The race officer was keen to get things going on time before the conditions got too crazy, setting 2 very challenging races. Dan pounced early and took the overnight lead with a 2nd and a 1st, with Peter Greenhalgh scoring 2 3rd places, and Andy Tarboton a 1st and a 5th. Sam Pascoe suffered mechanical failure in the first race with his gooseneck pin dropping out, forcing him to retire back to the club for repairs before taking 2nd in the second race.

As the breeze built, the fleet returned to the club house for Itchenor's famous roast lunch and to recount the tales of war from the day. This included Rob 'RoRi' Richardson who managed to find a shallow spot outside the channel and had to pull his boat through '50 yards of mud' to re-float it and continue racing. Peter 'gun ho' Greenhalgh went swimming, purely because he out hoisted Andy 'turbo' Tarboton in front of him on the bear away and suddenly had to avoid riding into the cockpit of turbo's boat. Turbo himself found out later in that race that fathering a child has been unkind to his ability to bear away in big breeze, and Itchenor decided to give him 4 goes at it (he capsized 3 times on each bear away after righting the initial capsize) to get back into practise.

The fleet all seemed happy to get back indoors for the evening.

Sunday dawned with brief sunshine before the lashing of rain resumed, and with the breeze once again building throughout the day. The first 2 races were extremely hard fought with constant place changes. Paul 'Paulo' Molesworth started a race on port, dipped the fleet, but then nearly crossed the lot on the next tack before performing a spectacular 'tombstone' nose-dive right next to the committee boat, much to their delight.

Going into the last race, the points were so close (2 points separating the top 4 boats) that the finishing order of the last race would determine the overall positions. Rumours that Jono Shelley had offered various incentives to some of the competitors to assist the move up north of the trophy are either unsubstantiated or were not significant enough to stop Dan the man from showing his sheer class in the last race on his way to victory. An early capsize just after the start only fuelled the fire within. The after burners kicked in and nobody could touch Dan's pace as he emphatically took the win, the event, and the series without question.

A big thanks must go to Itchenor Sailing Club, the race committee and all the volunteers who gave up their time in very unappealing conditions to allow us to test ourselves against the elements. The club has now hosted us superbly for 2 years running, and we are already looking forward to next year. A final thanks goes to Ovington Boats who generously sponsored some additional prizes for the event.

Final places on the podium went to Dan Vincent in 1st place, Peter Greenhalgh in 2nd place and Andy Tarboton in 3rd place. Dan also took home the GBR Musto Skiff Circuit 2022 Title and the Title trophy bearing a half scale model of the Musto Skiff hull.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st622Dan VincentStokes Bay SC/ RNSA21‑4317
2nd609Peter GreenhalghTBC331‑529
3rd590Andy TarbotonHenley Midmar Yacht Club1‑53239
4th636Sam PascoeCastle Cove(RET)221510
5th549Robert RichardsonTBC4‑664620
6th638Sam BarkerTBC74(RET)7422
7th469Nathan StanierStokes Bay5(RET)88728
8th332Paul MolesworthTBC(DNC)DNC56DNC33
9th631Mark CooperBurghfield SC(RET)DNC79DNC38
10th584Andrew GouldEmsworth Slipper SC6(RET)DNCDNCDNC39

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