Northampton open meeting

5th & 6th November

Twenty one National 12s descended on Northampton SC for the final Gul series event and the Inland Championships. Conditions were decidedly wintery with glorious sunshine but a cold breeze gusting force 3 to 5. Three races were run on the Saturday as the Gul series finale with an additional two races on the Sunday to qualify for the Inland Championships. On both days the wind was blowing over the side of Pitsford lake making for some large shifts, big holes and testing conditions for the fleet with the occasional swim to test the water temperature. The starts were busy as were the mark roundings with close racing and plenty of place changes throughout the fleet.

The race officer set a figure of eight course with two short beats and two long reaches providing some nice high speed planning conditions. Kevin and Lindsay Iles lead the way in the first race taking an early lead. They were chased by a pack behind led by John & Oliver Meadowcroft and Tom & Robbie Stewart. As the race continued Graham Camm & Zoe Ballantyne made their way through the pack and challenged the Iles on the final lap to take the lead. In the second race it was the turn of the Meadowcrofts to show the way up the first beat, they managed to avoid the big holes that randomly becalmed many parts of the fleet. As with the previous race Camm & Ballantyne slowly worked their way through the fleet to take line honours. For the final Gul series race John Ibbotson & Rachel Smith showed the fleet the best way up the first beat along with the Meadowcrofts. Ibbotson & Smith stretched their lead on the second lap but again it was Camm & Ballantyne who were to take line honours as they worked their way through the fleet into the lead to take the final Gul series event and clinch the overall 2016 Gul series with just one point between them and Tom & Robbie Stewart who took second in the series.

Following the Gul series prize giving on the Saturday night, Northampton SC organised an excellent bonfire, fireworks display, supper and disco. A few brave souls camped at the club and woke on Sunday to a thick frost but again glorious sunshine and a perfect breeze. The outlook was good on the Sunday for the two final races of the Inlands Championships. In race four, George Finch & Lucy Home showed fine form to lead the fleet around the first windward mark having avoided the big holes that engulfed many. They led down the first reach but were eventually overtaken by Ibbotson & Smith closely followed by the Iles. Ibbotson & Smith stretched out their lead making no mistakes over the next few laps to take the bullet. Camm & Ballantyne having found a parking lot near the first windward mark worked their way through to second place by the finish. In the final race it was the turn of the Iles once again to lead the fleet. Camm & Ballantyne overhauled them on the second lap with Jeremy & Luke Hartley closing in behind. The Hartley's showed phenomenal speed on the reaches and caught up with Camm & Ballantyne. Both fought on with a number of luffing matches. On the final reach the Hartley's use a gust that filled from behind to overhaul Camm & Ballantyne and shoot into the lead to take the bullet in the final race.

Overall results

Pos Boat Helm Crew
1 3530 Graham Camm Zoe Ballantyne
2 3540 Jon Ibbotson Rachel Smith
3 3543 John Meadowcroft Olive Meadowcroft
4 3519 Jeremy Hartley Luke Hartley
5 3527 Kevin Iles Lindsay Iles