by Jon Thornton
Thirteen National 12s, including six visitors, met in Salcombe for a very sunny weekend on the 11 and 12 October. The first race was held after lunch on Saturday. The flooding tide and attendant sea breeze gave the fleet a choice of which side to take up the first beat.
The beach side took the advantage with Paradigm Shift (Dave Peacock & Tricia Wood) rounding the windward mark in the lead, followed by Happy Hour (John Meadowcroft & Jenny Wilson). The long run back down the estuary and through the bag allowed Monkey Business (Jon Ibbotson & Andy Douglas), Zippy (Fran Gifford & Sophie Mackley) and Full Monty (John & Mandy Thornton) to catch the leaders.
Eventually it was the Full Monty who managed to round the leeward mark first. They managed to hold the lead for the next couple of marks of the estuary tour before being overtaken on the last leg of the shortened course by Monkey Business. Paradigm Shift held onto 3rd.
Sunday dawned shrouded in mist, but this lifted before the scheduled start to reveal a good offshore wind. The majority of the fleet chose to start by the beach to give a long starboard tack, but a large lift allowed Full Monty and Zippy who started in the middle of the line to take a good lead up to the windward mark, rounding in that order with Happy Hour (with Katy Meadowcroft crewing) in 3rd.
After that the race changed as the sea breeze tried to establish itself. A number of doldrums and random wind shifts carried the fleet slowly out of the estuary towards a missing buoy. After some confusion the fleet all rounded the same mark to finish the course with Zippy taking the honours (on Fran’s birthday), followed by Full Monty and then Paradigm Shift.
One race to go, and a very even results sheet meant that at least 3 boats had a chance of winning the event. A very light and tricky breeze didn’t prevent Happy Hour from getting away to a great start, rounding the windward mark ahead of Monkey Business and Full Monty. They extended their lead to the 2nd buoy, but on the way back down the estuary those 3 boats closed back up.
Up the beat back past the race hut Full Monty managed to get ahead of Monkey Business down the beach side of the estuary, but Happy Hour looked to be travelling well up the town bank. It looked like Happy Hour had made a great decision, but lost the wind getting to the buoy allowing Full Monty to round first.
There was further place swapping before the finish, but the Full Monty regained the lead on the fetch to the finish allowing them to take the race and the weekend. Monkey Business held off Zippy to get 3rdin the race, and 2nd overall.
National 12 - Leading Final results
N3443 John & Mandy Thornton The Full Monty Henley Sailing Club
N3494 Jon Ibbotson & Andy Douglas Monkey Business Oxford & Cambridge SS
N3431 Fran Gifford & Sophie Mackley Zippy Aldeburgh YC
N3515 John & Katy Meadowcroft Happy Hour Henley Sailing Club