Brightlingsea Sailing Club: Nationals
Saturday 18th - Monday 20th August 2012

Words by: Simon Farthing and Pictures by: Alan Howie-Wood

If UK Cat Sailing had a spiritual home it might possibly be Brightlingsea Sailing Club in Essex. Home to the late Olympic Gold Medallist Reg White MBE, the walls of the club house are adorned with the list of his achievement and of other notable champions. Brightlingsea will also be the origin of future Sprint 15 with White Formula taking over construction again. So it was to Brightlingsea that 83 Sprint 15s made pilgrimage for the 2012 National Championship.

Whilst the forecast promised copious amounts of sunshine and searing heat, wind looked less of a guarantee. Quite reliably though a stable F1 to F2 came in ready for the practice race which saw Simon Farthing leading Paul Grattage and Howard Hawkes around the windward mark before the race committee brought everyone back to the start line in what was becoming a dying breeze.

The weekend would be in part noted by an eager fleet straining at the leash to get off the start line. The black flag became a familiar friend as Race 1 finally got away. Paul Grattage demonstrated the same speed he showed in the practice race by taking an early advantage out to the left side of the course with Thomas Sandal in close attendance. By the downwind leg Marconiís David Ball was moving in to contention alongside the flying Christine Roman. At the finish it was Grattage who would take well deserved line honours from Sandal, Sverdloff and Hawkes. Further down the fleet rules were being tested at the gybe mark with 20 boats mid order all coming in looking for the best rounding with centimetres between them. Reigning Champion Kevin Dutch swiftly returned to the Committee Boat to apologise for trying to board it.

Race 2 and the wind was swinging and dying. The heat was increasing and a number of competitors took advantage of the shallow waters to stand next to their boats whilst the race officer prepared for race two. With tide taking competitors up to the line a number of general recalls eventually saw the fleet break free up the first beat. This time it was the masters in the fleet who showed everyone how it was done with former champion Stuart Snell and light airs specialist Robert England fighting for the top spot. Thomas Sandal again stamped his credentials on a title challenge with a great first beat to get in to the top five at mark one. Further down the fleet a good start for Steve Roberts saw him soar up the fleet chasing down son Paul whom it turned out along with 8 others had been too quick out of the blocks and was handed an OCS. There was a fantastic entry of 16 boats from Thorpe Bay and in the second race a third of the top twenty finishers originated from either Thorpe Bay, Brightlingsea or Marconi, showing that perhaps the only way is Essex! At the gun masterful England held Snell at bay from Neil Parkhurst, Sandal and once again Christine Roman from Shanklin.

A beautiful day of sunny sailing was finished with complimentary Pimms and nibbles from class manufacturer (and late night repairer of boats) Brian Phipps and a tasty club BBQ with time for Chairman Nick Dewhirst to regale the fleet with tales from 15 history.

Day 2 and a postponement to allow the wind to arrive. When it did it came in as a promising 3. The first start split opinion with a few boats tacking off early on the committee boat with the wind apparently clocking around, whilst others continued on starboard hoping to catch them on the way back. Once again it was Grattage who took the early running from the right with Kevin Dutch chasing him hard. Marconi sailors were having a ball with David Ball and Jenny Ball making places on the run and ultimately claiming 3rd and 4th behind the leading pair. Grattage now had two bullets and a potential grip on the championship whilst Snell added in a fifth keeping his low points tally ticking over. Race 4 and a cracking second result for Beaverís Neil Parkhurst saw him claim victory from Jenny and David Ball followed by Sandal with Grattage finding himself OCS after having lead the fleet around.

So the day ended with a trip around the factory to see the new boats, an AGM and a fine meal from the ladies of Brightlingsea.

With a number of protests hanging over in to day three no-one was entirely sure what they had to do to claim the title. Kevin Dutch knew his chances of retaining the crown would depend on him finding his best form and others failing to do so. Thomas Sandal and Stuart Snell both need to find the top spot whilst Grattage needed to keep his form going. The breeze was creeping up to a force 4 and with the tide holding the fleet back the Sprint 15's exploded out of the line. Dutch flew up the left hand side after a perfect start chased by Snell. Behind Frank Sandells was closely chasing the pair of them with Martyn Ellis and Kevin Kirby and Keith Ball in hot pursuit. Dutch took the bullet by a comfortable margin from Sandal and then Snell. It was anyoneís to play for as Grattage had recovered from the teens to come in 6th, just ahead of Kirby.

With slightly less breeze but enough to keep a hull flying the leaders again chose the pin and headed for the lay line. Snell and Dutch continued their fight whilst in close attendance was Paul Roberts who bravely pushed the line without fear of the black flag that had dented Balls title chances. Behind Thomas Sandal was holding off Grafhamís Jacob Aldridge. Simon Farthing and Samuel Rowell were centimetres behind fighting out for a top six spot.

On the last lap the middle of the course started to favour and the front eight boats closed on each other but built the gap to the pack behind. Snell was covering Dutch well to protect his first. Sandal sneeked past Roberts. Aldridge held on for fifth, from Rowell, from Farthing, further back Peter Richardson came home fast from nowhere as the airs became lighter claiming an excellent 8th.

Ashore and some quick calculations suggested it could be Sandal, Grattage or Snell that had claimed the prize, but who? Ultimately it proved to be Snell by two points from Sandal getting his name on the Brightlingsea wall of fame. Grattage claimed bronze after a great championship ahead of Simon Farthing and then Paul Roberts, Mark Aldridge taking 6th.

Team Glory went to Grafham, the Ladies Championship to Jenny Ball. The youth prize to Jacob Aldridge, the Heavyweight Championship to Farthing from Chairman Dewhirst, the Masters categories to Snell and Kirby, two up to Simon and Henry Giles and most improved to Christine Roman.

All in all stunning weather, patient management from the Brighlingsea team, great venue and top racing.



Stuart Snell Winner 2012 Nationals
Stuart Snell Winner 2012 Nationals

Results:

Click for: Full Results with all Sub-Competitions

OVERALL RESULTS
Competitors Races - 6 of 7 Sailed (No. of Discards: 1) Event Placings
Name Sail ClubRace 1Race 2Race 3Race 4Race 5Race 6Race 7Points Place
Stuart Snell1982Brightlingsea Sailing Club6 2 5 6 3 1 -171
Thomas Sandal1957Grafham Water Sailing Club5 4 11 5 2 3 -192
Paul Grattage1728Shanklin Sailing Club1 8 1 84 6 11 -273
Simon Farthing1898Brightlingsea Sailing Club33 11 9 15 9 7 -514
Paul Roberts1054Dee Sailing Club12 84 17 10 10 4 -535 ¹
Mark Aldridge19Grafham Water Sailing Club14 13 10 8 8 31 -536 ¹
Samuel Rowell1984Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club8 17 84 9 15 6 -557
Kevin Dutch1938Seasalter Sailing Club29 22 2 54 1 2 -568 ¹
Keith Newnham1150Shanklin Sailing Club9 19 6 11 16 14 -569 ¹
Jenny Ball1917Marconi Sailing Club26 39 4 2 5 20 -5710
Kevin Kirby1966Marconi Sailing Club13 12 19 16 7 10 -5811
Keith Ball1937Grafham Water Sailing Club11 21 8 35 11 9 -6012
Christine Roman1925Shanklin Sailing Club7 5 18 13 24 53 -6713
Howard Hawkes1643Thorpe Bay Yacht Club4 6 84 12 37 15 -7414
Peter Richardson1983Marconi Sailing Club28 15 32 4 27 8 -8215
Nick Dewhirst2006Whitstable Yacht Club18 9 22 19 29 21 -8916
Jacob Aldridge1976Grafham Water Sailing Club54 31 14 26 21 5 -9717
Robert England1351RYA48 1 29 20 23 28 -10118
Simon Giles & Henry Giles1944Shanklin Sailing Club17 51 12 18 18 37 -10219
George Stephen1594Queen Mary Sailing Club40 52 7 7 36 13 -10320
Martyn Ellis1981Thorpe Bay Yacht Club46 84 28 14 4 17 -10921 ¹
Erling Holmberg2007Shanklin Sailing Club16 10 20 84 39 24 -10922 ¹
Frank Sandells1986Grafham Water Sailing Club34 23 30 25 17 16 -11123
David Ball1923Marconi Sailing Club2 84 3 3 84 22 -11424
Gary Sverdloff1963Thorpe Bay Yacht Club3 50 38 27 30 18 -11625
Neil Parkhurst1761Beaver Sailing Club65 3 84 1 14 39 -12226
Steve Sawford1733Rutland Water Sailing Club25 34 15 23 84 34 -13127
Liam Thom554Shanklin Sailing Club64 30 21 38 12 33 -13428
Gerald Sverdloff1933Thorpe Bay Yacht Club10 20 36 31 40 44 -13729
John Shenton1956Shanklin Sailing Club23 26 42 36 22 61 -14930
Steve Petts1934Grafham Water Sailing Club45 32 45 32 33 12 -15431
Gordon Goldstone2004Queen Mary Sailing Club43 24 50 30 26 35 -15832
Graham Dare1857Thorpe Bay Yacht Club76 18 52 29 31 30 -16033
Jon Finch1890Stewartby Water Sports Club37 56 26 47 34 19 -16334
David Groom1714Highcliffe Sailing Club38 43 72 21 28 38 -16835
Robert Finch1838Stewartby Water Sports Club61 84 16 28 19 46 -17036 ¹
James Hurst565Grafham Water Sailing Club39 16 49 33 35 47 -17037 ¹
Stewart Pegum1918Oxford Sailing Club22 42 63 37 38 32 -17138
Kevin Parvin1615Dee Sailing Club32 47 48 42 32 23 -17639
Roger Ackroyd1715Witham Sailing Club19 28 33 84 13 84 -17740
John Holmes1978Seasalter Sailing Club27 57 27 49 42 36 -18141
Gordon Deuce1461Brightlingsea Sailing Club30 41 62 44 41 29 -18542
Stuart Pierce1813Shanklin Sailing Club21 37 31 48 50 84 -18743
John Manning1955Beaver Sailing Club42 35 39 34 43 40 -19044
Andrew Hannah1818Thorpe Bay Yacht Club47 49 34 17 84 48 -19545
Gary Burrows1871Thorpe Bay Yacht Club51 7 37 22 84 84 -20146
Marcus Finch1231Stewartby Water Sports Club49 38 65 41 51 26 -20547
Keith Persin1551Thorpe Bay Yacht Club35 84 35 45 53 43 -21148
Steve Healy1391Thorpe Bay Yacht Club20 84 84 50 20 41 -21549
George Wood1908Stewartby Water Sports Club55 40 53 84 44 25 -21750
Rob Beevers1928Beaver Sailing Club70 46 41 52 25 59 -22351
Simon Rowell1843Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club36 29 56 55 62 52 -22852
Peter Slater1627Draycote Water Sailing Club24 14 23 84 84 84 -22953
Theresa Ryall1333Thorpe Bay Yacht Club50 33 40 61 59 51 -23354
Simon Hare1970Oxford Sailing Club31 48 44 64 63 58 -24455
Paul Harrison1298Marconi Sailing Club68 53 46 58 52 42 -25156
Daren Fitchew1642Thorpe Bay Yacht Club53 61 43 43 56 57 -25257
Ian Hope1939Draycote Water Sailing Club78 27 57 53 54 64 -25558
Phillip Howden2003Brightlingsea Sailing Club41 84 24 24 84 84 -25759
Ian Mills1634Seasalter Sailing Club15 65 55 46 84 84 -26560
Kevin Morris1560Grafham Water Sailing Club62 25 13 84 84 84 -26861
Kevin Dowley1965Marconi Sailing Club67 62 25 39 84 84 -27762
Andrew Berisford1947Brightlingsea Sailing Club59 68 54 57 58 50 -27863
Steve Roberts1910Dee Sailing Club79 84 70 62 49 27 -28764 ¹
Rob Bailey1755Thorpe Bay Yacht Club63 84 84 40 46 54 -28765 ¹
Fenella Miller1579Marconi Sailing Club71 69 47 60 45 66 -28766 ¹
Bob Marks1960Shanklin Sailing Club56 55 58 65 55 63 -28767 ¹
Nick Cotgrove1520Thorpe Bay Yacht Club72 84 66 59 48 45 -29068
John Long1133Seasalter Sailing Club44 45 68 51 84 84 -29269 ¹
Keith Chidwick1840Queen Mary Sailing Club66 54 69 56 61 55 -29270 ¹
Martin Searle1331Seasalter Sailing Club52 63 59 84 57 65 -29671
Clive Latham1841Oxford Sailing Club81 84 51 63 47 56 -29872
Andy Bunyan1289Stewartby Water Sports Club73 36 60 66 66 84 -30173
Stefan Smith1525Thorpe Bay Yacht Club80 64 67 67 64 49 -31174
Jon Salter1872Brightlingsea Sailing Club75 60 61 68 65 60 -31475
Jon Pearse1339Marconi Sailing Club77 59 64 84 60 62 -32276
Robin Wilkinson424Seasalter Sailing Club57 44 84 84 67 84 -33677
Alan Leonard1707Thorpe Bay Yacht Club60 58 84 84 84 84 -37078
Penny Williamson1475Grafham Water Sailing Club74 70 71 84 84 84 -38379
Keith Bartlett1962Open Dinghy Club69 66 84 84 84 84 -38780
Conrad Stevenson525Thorpe Bay Yacht Club58 84 84 84 84 84 -39481
Clive Dilliway469Thorpe Bay Yacht Club82 67 84 84 84 84 -40182
Philip Warner1756Draycote Water Sailing Club84 84 84 84 84 84 -42083