27th to 30th August 2022
A fleet of thirty-one National 12s assembled at Felixstowe Ferry S.C for the Burton Week regatta for four days over the August bank holiday weekend. The event was kindly sponsored by Allen Sailing, with further support from Heart of Suffolk Distillery, Dinghy Shack and BillieBox. The sailing area was blessed with outstanding conditions on each day, and the local club put on some exceptional racing. East coast locals Tom & Isobel Stewart dominated the competition winning 5 of the 7 races including the iconic Sir William Burton Cup.
Out on the water on the first day, Anthony & Jo Gifford (N3529) led the fleet round the first windward mark followed by Tom & Isobel Stewart (N3544) with John Meadowcroft and Rory Gifford (N3543) in close attendance. Meadowcroft & Gifford were uncharitably taken high by the Stewarts allowing Steve & Joanne Sallis (N3531) to dive through to leeward. By the bottom mark, the Sallis’ were leading and they went on to win the race ahead of the Stewarts and Graham and Anya Camm. (N3530). Newly weds Mary Henderson & Rupert White (N3431) put in a great performance but threw it away with a swim on the run. It was clear from this race, the fleet was as competitive as ever and wherever you were in the fleet, there was close racing.
Race two was swiftly started, with the tide ripping upwind, making the beats feel exceptionally short. The Stewarts (N3544) took an early lead from Meadowcroft & Gifford (N3543) and the Camms (N3530). The leaders remained untroubled and took the gun, with the Camms showing superior downwind speed to take second ahead of Meadowcroft & Gifford. Mary & Rupert (N3431) repeated their Race 1 swim, in the same place on the race course.
After sailing, the fleet headed to the clubhouse for a Chinese Buffet Night, where they ran through the highs and lows of the day, of course making sure to suggest some nominations for the Burton Brick!
The Sallis’ (N3531) dominated a windy first beat to lead from the Stewarts (N3544); these two extended off the peloton on the opening lap. The second upwind saw Meadowcroft and Gifford (N3543) lead a charge up the right hand side in to more pressure and a favourable shift, leaving them clear leaders by the second windward mark.
The Stewarts were set back by an unfortunate capsize whilst tacking, which was mitigated by a miraculously quick recovery due to Isobel’s heroics, as her dad got stuck under the boom. The tide remained strong, the pressure increasingly variable and shifty. On the third beat, leaders Meadowcroft & Gifford remained boldly (and ultimately unwisely) committed to their strategy on the right, whilst the Sallis’ and Stewarts took more advantage of the increasingly large shifts. By the top, all three were close and remained so after the following off-wind legs. The fourth beat belonged to the Stewarts, who gained a lead that they were able to extend to the finish after two hours of racing ahead of the Sallis’ in second. Further down the fleet there was close competition for many of the subsidiary prizes, with place changes occurring right up to the last seconds – in fact James Gifford & Charlotte Stewart (N3501) finished just 5 seconds ahead of George Finch & Toby Hunt (N3551), who had been battling, with others, the whole way round.
1st – Tom & Isobel Stewart, N3544
2nd – Steve & Jo Sallis, N3531
3rd – John Meadowcroft & Rory Gifford, N3543
4th – Ian & Alex Gore, N3525
1st U21 – Dan Meadowcroft & Zoe Ballantyne, N3471
1st 22-40 (Canter Trophy) – Mary Henderson & Rupert White, N3431
1st Grand Master – Ian & Alex Gore, N3525
1st Coronation Cup (Married Couple) – Ian & Alex Gore, N3525
1st Non T-Foil – Cameron Harris & Archie Penn, N3513
1st Admirals Cup – Bernard & Ellie Clark, N3406
The fleet came ashore to Pimms, prepared and served by Lucy Finch, before enjoying the Felixstowe afternoon sun and getting ready for the Burton Dinner, held in the clubhouse at FFSC. mRichard Elston provided fantastic entertainment in reading out the Burton Brick nominations. Freya Lilywhite was awarded the Burton Brick, for launching in a borrowed Baggy Trousers on Day 1, without the bow tank bung and therefore promptly filling up with water and ultimately having to be towed back in. George Finch was presented with the National 12 Owners’ Association Decanter, for his contributions, effort and encouragement across the class over the past few years and especially the last two, when he led the class as the NTOA Chair.
Day 3 was another two race day. The Stewarts (N3544) had their foot planted firmly on the gas, and sailed away to record their third win in four races. Jon Brown and Jude Armstrong (N3483), whose eighteen year old hull had been involved in a motorway crash in June, now tastefully repainted in peppermint green, were resplendent as they charged in to second past Meadowcroft & Gifford (N3543) and then the Sallis’ (N3531) on the first triangle. It was nip and tuck for the next two rounds, but Brown & Armstrong held on to take a much deserved second place.
The N12 Class AGM was held in the late afternoon, with Peter Miatt elected as the new Chair of the N.T.O.A. The fleet then enjoyed an Italian buffet in the clubhouse, before the Heart of Suffolk Distillery Gin Tasting, which was very well received.
Going into the final day, the Stewarts (N3544) were well placed, with the Sallis’ (N3531) and Meadowcroft & Gifford (N3543) the challengers for the minor places. Fresh from winning the 420 Nationals, Ollie Meadowcroft found a boat (N3514) and crew, (Freya Lillywhite) to add some heat to the front of the fleet.
The two family teams led round the first mark together, leaving Meadowcroft & Gifford dizzy after an incident with the mark. But by the time they had returned here for the next rounding, the group of three was starting to reform. On the final upwind, a hard left strategy from Meadowcroft & Gifford saw all the leading boats together and drag-racing in to the top mark on port. The Sallis’ still had the lead, but this was confiscated by the on-form Stewarts, who won the race getting inside at the final mark, giving them the championship with a race to spare. Competition remained very strong further back, with George Finch & Toby Hunt (N3551) finding their form, to round the 1st windward mark in 6th, holding their top 10 place until falling in upwind on the final lap. Pete & Olivia Miatt had speed in a straight line but seemed to fall over or fall out every time they had to turn. Close battles were taking place further down the fleet, leaving many of the subsidiary trophies to the last race.
1st new crew went to Emma Knott, sailing with Jeremey Hartley (N3449).
1st new helm went to James Gifford, sailing with Charlotte Stewart (N3501).
1st U21 went to James Gifford & Charlotte Stewart (N3501).
1st 22-40 (Canter Trophy) went to George Finch & Toby Hunt (N3551).
1st Non T Foiler went to Adam Fuller & Saffron Hill (N3467).
Photos courtsey Pavel Kirck