29 Sport 15 catamarans from 10 different clubs around the country crowded the sandy beach at Instow last weekend providing a great spectacle for onlookers from both sides of the estuary as they competed in 6 races for the 2012 National title.
Race 1 on Saturday, in a force 2 Northerly breeze saw local boat Pete Ewing benefit from a useful wind shift and squeeze into first place in a very close finish. The second race, over a similar course, was again very close racing but this time none of the 13 local boats could stop Liam Thom from Shanklin Sailing Club from getting to the line first. Race Officer Gordon Smith did well to fit in a third race on Saturday with the wind backing to North Westerly and freshening to allow faster racing but also the first capsize. Kevin Dutch from Seasalter Sailing Club won the last race of the day.
Sunday morning found the estuary bathed in sunshine again but no breeze at first. The fourth race saw the fleet split at the start with those choosing the North Shore gaining advantage in the light airs. The winner was Steve Sawford of Rutland Sailing Club who overhauled the early leader, Paul Grattidge of Shanklin. By race five, the wind had freshened to a perfect force 4 giving exciting reaching and allowing the course to be extended to five laps. There was close racing with only seconds separating the leading group of 6 or 7 boats at the finish. Charles Watson (Halifax Sailing Club) Robert England (Carsington), Kevin Dutch and Mark Aldridge (Grafham Sailing Club) and North Devonís Keith Heason swapping places. Watson sailed out the eventual winner.
The weather for the last race on Monday morning improved after a damp start with a steady Westerly force 3-4 giving fair conditions on the course set seaward for the 6 rounds. A win by Kevin Dutch (Seasalter Sailing Club) secured his overall title of Sport 15 National Champion 2012.
At the prize giving ceremony ashore, The Jimmy Johnson Memorial Trophy, a new trophy for the best veteran was unveiled and presented by Mrs Alex Johnson to Robert England. Steve Sawford and Charles Watson were confirmed as 2nd and 3rd overall with Pete Ewing the best North Devon Yacht Club sailor and Dave Warren (North Devon Yacht Club) securing the prize for the most determined sailor!