707 National Championships 6 Sep 2015
The 2015 707 National Championships, were hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Burnham on Crouch over four days from 2nd to 5th September
The fleet was made up of six local Burnham boats, two from Suffolk, two from Edinburgh and one from Aberdeen, the boat travelling the furthest and one boat that travelled from Hartlepool, with one crew member, Terry who flew in from Trinidad where he lives & works, just for the event instead of being on his honeymoon – understanding wife!
The week kicked off on Tuesday with welcome drinks and nibbles, hosted by ProBoat. After the race briefing, crews could then have a relaxed evening so they would be prepared for the relatively early sail down the Crouch to the racing area, beyond the waters being used for the Burnham Week Regatta.
Wednesday morning saw a light north-westerly breeze & a fast moving tide, not ideal, but with well positioned marks, a reasonable windward – leeward course was set.
Race 1 got underway after a general recall, which with the tide against the start line, showed the fleet to be very competitive. Close racing was had by all, with the exception of Rammie, who tried to ‘barge in’ at the committee boat end, ensnaring itself on the committee boat with the anchor line wrapped around its keel! Luckily this coming together didn’t affect the rest of the race, resulting in a win for Baby Beluga and a 2nd place for Racehorse both local boats. After some mark moving, the course was set for Race 2, to allow for the changing tide, again as in all of the racing it was close, across the fleet. Unfortunately the wind started to disappear with the last boat not making the finish against the tide, within the time limit by a matter of seconds, but resulting in a win for Racehorse and a 2nd for Beaver Hunter, so was local knowledge a factor?
After a long delay and a lot of course setting due to the variants of a now very light to non-existent wind, the Race Officer, decided to abandon the racing for the day, with Race 3 postponed until later in the championship.
Day 2, Thursday. There were four races scheduled for the day and with the wind coming from the west, it was easier to set the course up & down the tide, as opposed to across it. Again the racing was extremely close and the starts even closer. After just two races the fleet had had seven starts – one from a wind change & four general recalls! Race 4 resulted in a win for Seaword, with Sharky in 2nd. Race 5 was another win for Baby Beluga with Seaword 2nd. The afternoon's racing only had one false start with Racehorse gaining 1st position in Race 6 with Little Red Rooster 2nd. Race 7 saw Turbulence take a flyer on the second circuit and gained a well deserved win, with Feeling Touchy gaining 2nd, both boats' best results.
Day 3, Friday. Wind direction north-westerly again so course setting across the tide once more. The Race Officer, Matthew Anthony, was now perfecting this and apart from a little hold up in-between two races for the wind to settle, the four races (including the postponed 3rd race) were near to perfect with very close racing giving SeaWord three first places with the other one going to Baby Beluga giving the ‘Miserable Landlord’ three well deserved wins.
Day 4, Saturday. Going into the last two races, bar a disaster, Seaword would win the championship, four wins in the bag, but Racehorse in 2nd with two wins could technically beat them but this wasn’t to be as SeaWord finished off the championships with another two wins, so becoming the 2015 707 National Champion.
The Irony of this win gave Dara O’Malley the championship as the owner of SeaWord but helmed by Andrew Marshall who should have been sailing his own boat Code Z which couldn’t make it down to Burnham for technical reasons!
Beaver Hunter from RCYC, helmed by Paul Gray, was notably consistent with no wins but no result worse than 7th, and this really paid off by the end of the event giving him 2nd place. It was hard to achieve this consistency with many boats being close to the front and then tail-enders from one race to the next.
Seaword got into their stride by the second half of the event achieving a remarkable five wins in the last six races. The rest of the fleet still swapped places with mark roundings having as many as three places gained or lost, and final dashes for the best end of the line also causing a bit of stress for the race officer as boats were only one or two seconds apart at many of the finishes.
Special mention must be made of Aaron Woolf and his young team from Waldringfield Sailing Club who were sailing only four up, and yet showed flashes of real talent, and it will be good to see what they can do at future events.
Chris Spark of Turbulence sailed with a different two trainees on each of the days. The experience of such close fleet racing was described as 'awesome' and will hopefully spur them, and others, into this remarkable small keelboat.
Special thanks go to Race Officer Matthew Anthony, with his team on the water of Mick King, Barbara Wright & Jane O’Brien and the Mark Layers Robin, Martin & Joe for making this a very well run & enjoyable event.
Also thanks to the staff of the RCYC & the nationals committee for making my life relatively easy.
Roll on next season and the Nationals In Scarborough!
An initiative has been started to encourage more boats to travel by forming 'hubs' around the country to host key events and provide a boat rental infrastructure.
Additional words supplied by David Smith – Rammie – our new Press & Promotions Guru.