Results :: Whitstable Y.C. National Championship (Day 6)
After a week of heavy rain, Whitstable turned on the glamour for the final day of the Selden Merlin Rocket Championships. Bright sunshine and a breeze which built to a good force 4 gave as close to champagne conditions as the Swale Estuary can provide.
The first race of the day started with a weather going tide which led to three recalls and a few miscreants under the black flag. The most prominent were Roger Gilbert and James Stewart, lying in third overnight.
The first beat was dominated by a left shift which gave those who had started at the pin the advantage. Stu Bithell and Tom Pygall rounded first closely pursued by Ben Saxton and George Yeoman. These two then enjoyed their own match race with Stu and Tom maintaining their lead to the line. Chris Gould and Sam Barker were reveling in the conditions to take third ahead of Ben and Roz McGrane, Sam and Megan Pascoe and the hard charging Nick Craig and Alan Roberts in sixth.
These results left Ben and George with one hand on the trophy. Only Ben and Roz could now beat them, requiring a bullet or second with Ben and George counting their discard of 13th – unlikely but the week has already seen bad luck befall the leaders,
The final race started after a delay to let the wind settle and the fleet surprised itself with a clean start first time. Initially a right shift favoured the committee boat starters but the breeze again went left at the top to mix up pack. Nick and Alan led round from Jon Gorringe and Nikki Bass and then Tim Fells and Oli Wells. Ben and Roz were in the top ten and Ben and George further back, but with Nick and Alan extending at the front, the title was heading to Ben and George.
After a great race in sparkling conditions, Nick and Alan took their first bullet of the week, Roger Gilbert and James Stewart had got the better of Tim and Oli for second and third. Dave Hayes and Jonny Ratcliffe took fourth with Ben and George climbing into fifth on the line just ahead of Ben and Roz.
In the final standings, Ben and George were clear winners counting six results in the top five and one race win. Theirs was a truly impressive performance against such a high quality entry. Ben and Roz sailed a very consistent series with six results in the top six. Rounding out the podium in third were Tim and Oli who pulled their series back together after a mid-series falter.
Many thanks to Whitstable YC for again putting on a great week both on and off the water. With a lot of people giving up their time to ensure we enjoyed ourselves, this was a thoroughly successful way to celebrate our 70th championships.