GP14 Nationals – Day 5

Day 5 Race Report – Friday 26 August

After yesterday’s float the forecast of 14mph generated a buzz of excitement in the boat park in the morning of the final day of the event. When we headed out it became apparent that it was more like 20mph plus with the waves up to 8 feet crashing over the foredeck and soaking you every two seconds.

It took no time at all to get out to the start and we lined up down at the pin end ready to attack the day head on. However, thanks to kamikaze start specialists Sam Watson and Andy Hunter I spent most of Race 8 waist deep in water waiting for my helm to bring out a new rudder. As we powered up about to cross the line with Sam and Andy underneath us the pair realised they were going to hit the anchor line of the pin end boat and tacked onto port and on top of us to avoid it. That left us with a choice of hit them or hit the anchor line and we did the nice thing and ended up with a snapped lifting mechanism on the rudder having got caught.

After our pit stop we got back out to watch the finish and saw Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson (Greystones SC) taking the win with Gary Deighan and Dale Knowles (Bolton SC) coming up in second. Having their best Nationals to date the Bolton boys thought they would drop the kite and then gybe for the tight reach into the finish rather than risk their second place 10 boat lengths from the finish. Unfortunately it sent them in anyway but as they had such a big gap on third it looked like they would still get over in time after the first time they got the boat back up. But alas it was too full of water and they went over two more times, eventually taking 11th. Overnight leaders Mike and Liz Senior ended up doing turns on the last run and eventually took fourth.

So for the final race of the day it was Shane and Andy’s to lose but as they rounded the windward mark in second, behind the Budworth SC pair of Nick Devereux and Geoff Edwards they looked pretty set. Nick and Geoff had quite a commanding lead at one point but didn’t manage to hold off Shane and Andy who are having quite a year in the GP14. It was all up for grabs for the rest of the top ten with Gary and Dale having another great race and a third, lamenting the loss of the second the race previously which would have seen them finish sixth overall but instead they had to settle for a final position of eighth.

Elsewhere the eventual silver fleet winners had a port starboard incident with Shane and Andy and an emergency tack with a cleated gib saw Frank Nickless and Ben Pickering (Chase SC/Dovey SC) over and out and final standing of 11th overall.

Towards the back end of the fleet it was suggested that we would be fine with the kite up on the reach but as we sailed past gold fleet sailors Justin Smith and Sarah O’Neill (Derwent SC/Poole YC) capsized I suggested we should wait. As it happened it was a dropped mainsheet that sent them in and not the kite. After an unplanned gybe at the end of the race I was glad to have gone with caution rather than chasing places.

The overall top five shows once again the strength and diversity of the fleet with Liz Senior the top female crew with Mike in second, new to the class and top youngest combined age Fergus Barnham and Ellie Devereux (Northampton SC/Budworth SC) third, great grandmaster Ian Willis and Keith Dutton (South Staffs SC) in fourth and Sam Watson and Andy Hunter (Nantwich SC) in fifth. A very well deserved win for Shane and Andy, two of the nicest blokes in the fleet.

Thanks to Super 6 sponsors Craftinsure and Plas Heli for hosting the event.

The Rum Punch Report – Friday

There was no time to do the Naff Awards on Friday due to the main prize giving, although if we had it would have been myself (Michelle) and Chris who would have won.

In the interest of appearing fair this was the incident enjoyed by so many on the beach….

Having had our borrowed lifting rudder KO’d thanks to a start line incident with Sam Watson and Andy Hunter we were sailing with the fixed rudder. Chris was clearly more worried about the rudder than his crew when he instructed me to jump out as we neared the shore. Grossly overestimating my 5 foot 5 I was nowhere near the floor hanging on to the front of the boat desperately trying to keep us from sailing away. I politely informed him of our predicament with a vivid description of how I most certainly was not touching the floor. The precious fixed rudder having been safely stowed in the boat Chris thought better of taking down the sails and decided to see if I was joking about not being able to touch the bottom by also jumping in the water.

At this point I asked Chris if he was touching the floor. He was struggling to reply through the giggling, and as I attempted to swim stronger and keep the boat, with Chris now hanging onto the side somewhere near the shore. This was of course a no goer but provided much entertainment for Sarah Jarman and Helen Allen in particular. As I considered if it would be poor form to just let the boat go and swim to shore for a beer Magic swam over, got in and took the sails down and helped me swim the boat home. I have now learned the lesson that until I hear scraping of rudder on sand I am not leaving the boat!

The prize giving was nice and it was good to chat to friends old and new in the bar before a group of us headed to The Venue for some dancing. Lewis and Jacob lead the way with some sailing inspired dance moves as we wowed the locals with our ability to hoist, pump and then gybe the spinnaker. Before the night got too messy Jacob and Richard from Toddbrook volunteered themselves for an interview. The full length version was very funny but there had to be some editing, it’s on the event page if you want to check it out along with a video of the socials. Thanks to everyone who made the event so much fun, see you all in Looe!