National 12 Gill Series at Leigh and Lowton SC

National 12 Gill Series Meeting at Leigh and Lowton SC 2011
© Brian Herring
The twenty-two strong fleet of National 12s were greeted by light winds upon their arrival at Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club for the Gill Series Finale and the Inland Championships that took place on the 5th November.

In the Gill series it was a head to head battle between two dead cat bounces: Graham Camm crewed by Zoe Ballantyne and Tom Stewart with his crew Rachel Williamson. If Stewart /Williamson won the event they would take the series. Unluckily for them, Camm/Ballantyne got off to a flying start on the first beat of the first race, putting in a couple of gybes to defend well down the subsequent run.

A pack of boats following closely behind, with Steve and Joanne Sallis emerging in front of the rest by the end of the first lap. Stewart and Williamson were chasing from behind and took several boats on the first reach but the Sallis' were at the heels of Camm/Ballantyne’s dead cat bounce.

They were held off by Camm and Ballantyne over the three laps to come in second, followed by Tom Stewart and Rachel Williamson in third place. Meanwhile the Admirals Cuppers also had a close race with Ed and Tom Storey's Crusader 88 finishing just ahead of Angus Beyts and Matt Smith.

National 12 Gill Series Meeting at Leigh and Lowton SC 2011
© Brian Herring
As the second race got underway Jon Ibbotson and Charlotte Stewart showed great speed off the start line leading the foiling boats across the starboard tack of the beat and rounded the windward mark with a a comfortable lead. Ibbotson and Stewart left nothing to chance in the light winds and successfully kept the lead throughout the race. Camm and Ballantyne came in second with Stewart and Williamson managing to hold on to third. In the Admirals Cup fleet newcomers to the 2011 Gill Series Ian Smith and Jenny Chen recorded a win in their Crusader.

The third race saw the wind shift round and drop off over the first beat. Camm and Ballantyne played the shifts to arrive ahead of the fleet at the windward mark, followed by Christian Day and Sophie Richards in their Feeling Foolish. As the wind picked up slightly Day/Richards were chased down by the dead cat bounces of Stewart/Williamson, Ibbotson/Stewart and Steve and Joanne Sallis. At this point Camm/ Ballantyne had consolidated their lead to take the third race and the Gill series overall. In the Admiral's Cup Ed and Tom Storey took advantage of the light winds coming in 10th and 1st admirals cupper.

Saturday night saw the fleet enjoy a hearty meal and entertaining quiz. Yet Sunday morning saw a poor show from the wind and with Pennington Flash looking like a mirror, racing was abandoned. This meant that with their solid performance on the Saturday Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne won the Inland Championships.

With no sailing on the Sunday Ed and Tom Storey also won the Admiral cup fleet overall.

Overall Results:
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1Very Hungry Caterpillar3530BurghfieldGraham CammZoe Ballantyne
2Blue Kangaroo3528OCSSJon IbbotsonCharlotte Stewart
3Alice The Camel3526NorthamptonTom StewartNicola Bass/Rachel Williamson
4Lightning Storm3523Upper ThamesJohn MeadowcroftKaty Meadowcroft
5Silver Lining3513Leigh & LowtonChristian DaySophie Richards

National 12 Gill Series Meeting at Leigh and Lowton SC 2011
© Brian Herring

National 12 Gill Series Prize Winners
© Michael Brookman

National 12 website