Results :: Looe S.C. National Championships (Day 6)
|So to the final day of what has been an exceedingly tough week both on and off the water. All the talk in the dinghy park was about the impending match race between Stu Bithell with Tom Pygall and Nick Craig and Alan Roberts. These two teams have been a class apart in what is a high quality fleet, exchanging race wins all week. Going into the final race they were tied on seven point and so long as they were in the top three it was a case of winner takes all.|
Even before the race started there was drama. On Thursday evening, a keen eyed fellow competitor spotted that Stu's spreader bracket was coming adrift and there followed a scene of mild panic as they ran around the streets of Looe trying to find the fabled Dirty Hands to do some epoxy wizardry. All was sorted by the following morning but then it looked like the race my not take place as a strange sea breeze effect sucked out any wind across the bay. Finally, after a two hour wait the NW gradient reappeared and the flags went up to bring the combatants to the ring.
Inevitably there was a game of hide and chase around the committee boat, with Nick making sure Stu could not get a hook, then timing a race down the line to the favoured pin end to make a clean start. With the breeze now a force 3, Nick and Alan muscled their way in on the port layline to round first. Your intrepid reported found himself the meat in the sandwich as we approached the gybe mark in second with Stu and Tom pushing hard. This was the point where Stu made his killer move. While Nick and Alan gybed at the mark, Stu held pressure on starboard for 100 metres past the mark before gybing and then coming in to the leeward mark on a hotter angle to narrowly take the lead.
From this point on Stu and Tom covered Nick's every move and slowly extended to hold a comfortable lead up the last beat. While Nick and Alan threw in a flurry of tacks, hoping to force a mistake, this was never going to happen and Stu and Tom came home a few lengths ahead to take the race and the title of 2014 P&B Merlin Rocket National Champions.