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National 12 Championships & Gul Series #5 - Burton week 2019

24th Ė 27th August  Pevensey Bay SC

Burton week stones

Example of thoses made by the younger members of the fleet and sold to raise money for the RNLI

The National 12 championships took place at Pevensey Bay SC (one of the 12 fleetís favourite clubs) over the August bank holiday weekend. Twenty eight boats entered the event including four championship first timers. Light winds were forecast for the four days but race officer Peter White still managed to get in six out of the seven races. The one casualty was the Burton Cup race, which is four laps of a triangular course with a mile between each mark. The winds were so light that the 5 hour time limit for the race wasnít enough.

In race one Steve Sallis sailing with daughter Joanne were hot off the blocks at the pin end. Graham Camm & Zoe Ballantyne just crossed the Sallises to take the lead at the windward mark but very quickly Steve overhauled Graham & Zoe on the run. The wind dropped as the afternoon sea breeze fought with the gradient wind. Just behind the leaders were Andrea Downham & Pippa Kilsby, Geoff Camm sailing with son Henry and Tom & Robbie Stewart. Places remained roughly the same until the final reach on the second lap when the wind shut off completely. The final reach took some 40 minutes with the wind occasionally filling from behind allowing the pack to attack the leaders but the Sallises held the lead to win the race.

The wind strengthened to a force 3 on the Sunday for race 2. This was the first attempt at the Burton Cup. After two general recalls it was Jeremy Hartley & Luke Lazell that were hot off the blocks this time with a tidy pin end start. They sailed hard left to stay close to the shore and out of the ebb tide. The starters at the committee boat end were left in a strong tide and as a result  the fleet quickly separated. Jeremy & Luke kept the lead to the windward mark but Graham & Zoe overhauled them on the first reach. The Stewarts were nipping at their heels on the next lap with Jon Ibbotson & Rachel Smith also working their way up to the front along with Geoff & Henry Camm. On the third lap and three hours into the race the wind started to shut off again. A 40 degree wind shift at the leeward mark was the final signal to the race officer to shorten and ensure the fleet got in a race. Graham & Zoe won with the Stewarts in second.

Start line

The Burton week dinner was on the Sunday night but as the Burton Cup race hadnít been sailed the Burton Cup couldnít be awarded. The Decanter Trophy, which is awarded to people who have made a significant contribution to the class, was presented to Gavin Willis for his latest innovative National 12 design which can change its hull shape whilst sailing.

The fleet was blessed with a more sustained wind on day three and the race officer decided to schedule three short races which kept the fleet busy.  In race 4 (race 3 wasnít sailed) Jeremy & Luke again took the pin end and sailed hard left to stay out of the tide. This tactic worked well for them. The wind filling from behind on the run allowed Graham & Zoe to take the lead from Jeremy around the leeward mark with Geoff & Henry and Jon Brown sailing with son Sam in hot pursuit.

In race 5 the wind dropped slightly. Having seen Jeremyís success on the left side of the beat the fleet was keen on winning the pin combined with the light winds and short line meant there was little room and starting was difficult. Geoff & Henry made a text book pin end start and quickly propelled themselves into a strong lead. Andrew & Pippa caught them up on the second reach taking advantage of the wind filling from behind. Following some tight racing Geoff & Henry kept the lead to win the race.

Fleet heading right

The wind strengthened and the tide slackened for the final Monday race. Both Jeremy and Geoff had strong starts at the pin end and again headed out hard left. Graham & Zoe picked some shifts in the middle and caught up. Some confusion with the need to round the spreader mark on the reaches led to some retirements in the Monday races including Graham & Zoe. Jeremy continued to sail a solid race to claim the bullet.

The younger members of the fleet spent the day decorating stones from the beach and selling them to passers-by to raise money for the RNLI, their stone art business raised £20.

The race officer attempted to run the Burton Cup for a second time on the final day of the event. The wind however was extremely light in the morning which didnít look promising. However just before lunch the wind filled and the fleet set off in a nice force 2. Geoff & Henry were first off the pin with the Stewarts first off the committee boat end. Half way up the first beat the wind started to veer right some 30 degrees favouring those on the right. The Stewarts made it to the windward mark first with Graham & Zoe and Geoff & Henry in close pursuit. The wind switched off on the first reach which had now turned into a run. Geoff gybed out for a breath of sea breeze but the direction wasnít great. Graham & Zoe tussled with the Stewarts on the rhumb line and just inched ahead at the gybe mark. The next reach turned into a beat with the sea breeze building. But by the former leeward mark (now to windward) the sea breeze faltered leaving the fleet to have a painfully slow one mile reach directly into the tide. Nigel & Chris White showed their pace on this reach and sailed into third. To the fleetís relief, the race officer shortened on the next reach (meaning this race was also no longer the Burton Cup). The Whites, Stewarts and Graham & Zoe jostled for a good finishing position on the downwind finish. It was Graham & Zoe who eventually took the bullet.

Overall results

1st     N3530 Graham Camm & Zoe Ballantyne
2nd     N3515 Geoff & Henry Camm
3rd     N3544 Tom & Robbie Stewart
4th     N3527 Andrea Downham & Pippa Kilsby
5th    N3540 Jon Ibbotson & Rachel Smith
6th     N3519 Jeremy Hartley & Luke Lazell

Full results

Subsidiary trophy results


Pictures courtesy Angus Beyts
Burton week stones Ė by artists Anya, Felix and Freddy Camm