Burnham Squibs at the Nationals 13 Jul 2012
Seven Burnham Squibs headed south for the 2012 National Championships at Dartmouth, some choosing to take a leisurely drive stopping en route over night and others travelling through the night in the wind and rain to arrive for launching Saturday morning. Fortunately the torrential rain had passed through for those being scrutineered and rigging in the shelter of the Dart river.
The first day on the water in Start Bay started with the Practice Race, and after three attempts to get the race away it was started under a black flag. Phil and Howie took the left side of the race course in the 8 knots of wind and sunshine, leading at the windward mark. They held their lead and impressively won the practice race; some say it’s unlucky, but Phil says “a win is a win!”
Race One got away under a black flag on the second attempt. The line was reset, the committee boat end being a bit crowded on the first start due to the bias. The sun was out and the wind had picked up to about 14 knots. The windward mark was laid under the hills to the west of Dartmouth, this making for a very shifty beat to the mark. Triangles and sausages followed and in the end Helmut Shöing finished first from the Burnham fleet in 4th place.The fleet returned to the mouth of the Dart for the interesting sail back to their berths, some managing to cheat the ebbing tide, swirling gusty winds and other opting for a tow, this turning out to be form for the rest of the week.
Monday came around a little too quickly for some following their race winning celebrations, but it didn’t seem to affect their performance. The sail out to the start line seemed to take forever in the light winds and flooding tide, but the race got away on the second attempt, Guy Fawkes getting a good start rounding the windward mark in 2nd place and held it to the finish, in the light SW conditions.
Race Three on Monday afternoon started with slightly more breeze on the third attempt. Twelve boats were black flagged, fortunately none of the Burnham fleet. Simon and Wobbly found their form and lead at the windward mark, but lost their lead in the unstable winds to others taking the other side of the course, but only dropped to 6th at the finish being beaten by Lady P moving through the fleet into 4th place. Gina took the day’s Lady’s Helm prize in 32nd.
After two days and three races the Burnham fleet was holding their own in the Squib world, all being placed in the top twenty, Malc and Andy were up front in 2nd place, Helmut Shöing 4th, Spoof 7th, Guy Fawkes 10th, Humphrey 13th, Surprise 18th, Brutus 19th and the Porteous young ladies in Osprey were 46th.
Tuesday was a single race day, much to the relief of some of the fleet. Tthe race got away under black flag again on the second attempt in sunshine and varying F2-3 shifty wind. The first beat towards the shore was very shifty, Spoof lead the Burnham fleet around the windward mark followed by Lady P, the rest of the travellers spread through out the 72 boat fleet, Surprise and Brutus struggling at the back.
Second time at the top mark positions had changed and Lady P rounded 5th followed by Spoof in 9th, the wind starting to increase slightly helping the rest work their way up the fleet. The race was shortened by one round and the end results placed Lady P a close 2nd. Unfortunately Guy Fawkes got confused on the shortened course finish line and having been in the high teens ended up DNF, and received the colourful jacket and hat back. Malc & Andy were now lying 2nd overall, Nigel & Jack 9th, and Micky & Chris 10th.
Wednesday was another two race day and the wind had increased to 20 knots. The fleet got away on the second attempt under another black flag but the sea state was choppy, making it tricky to navigate through. As the race progressed, the wind continued to drop to nearly nothing, leaving the bumpy sea even more tricky in the light conditions, but Helmut Shöing got through to finish 8th.
Race Six, the second of the Wednesday races, was different again; the rain came through causing what could only be described as a mist as the sea bubbled with the deluge, the wind increased to over 20 knots but, amazingly, the fleet got away first time without a black flag. Helmut Shöing took the bias towards the pin end and lead on the left side of the course, Surprise also got a good start up from the pin also took the left side, so at the windward mark Nigel and Jack lead with Surprise rounding 4th. The Grogans kept their lead and won the race, Duncan and Chris also managed to stay ahead of the chasing pack finishing in a great 4th place and winning the day’s Silver Fleet prize.
After six races Malcolm and Andy were now lying third overall followed closely by Nigel and Jack in fifth.
Day Five started with the wind being further in the south and unfortunately more rain, everyone shivering in the 14 degrees before the start. One general recall and the fleet then got away under a black flag. The wind was light, the sea choppy and all the tell tales were stuck firmly to the sails making the racing very tricky. Helmet Shöing were first to the mark, Spoof 7th followed by Lady P and Guy Fawkes not far behind. The race carried on in the rain with a few place changes, but in the end Spoof and Guy Fawkes took the right hand mark on the last down wind leg and headed out to sea before tacking for the shortened finish line, ending up 4th & 5th.
Going into the last day Malc & Andy were lying in sixth place with a chance of getting up to 2nd, Nigel and Jack were in second place with a chance of winning and our very own Mel Titmus won the race on Pani Munta crewing for Mike Probert.
The last day of the Nationals started with a feisty and bumpy F4-5 south westerly breeze. The fleet got away on the first start for a change, and eventually Nigel & Jack finished 3rd, Malc & Andy 13th, whilst Surprise finished 15th and 2nd in the Silver fleet race. The Porteous ladies team hung on and finished the race having to repair the traveller half way through the race. A great last day’s racing on the water at the Dartmouth National Championships,followed by the lift out and packing up, which went very smoothly considering the number of boats.
The full results would have been available except that they let the link die.
Nigel & Jack won the Melody Trophy, first boat with family crew.
Duncan & Chris were 2nd in the Silver fleet and Duncan won the Parker Boats trophy, awarded to the leading helm who is new to the event.
Gina & Alex were 2nd in the Bronze fleet and Gina was 2nd in the Holyhead trophy, for lady helms.
Mel was third placed lady crew in the championships.
The Squib National Championships are over for another year. Out of the seven boats that left the shelter of the Crouch to race in the big open, bumpy and wet waters of Dartmouth, six were in the top 20, one in the 30’s and the ladies’ team finished in the 40’s – pretty good results I think you’ll agree!