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Royal Harwich YC Mid Winters

A few decades ago, several of the Royal Harwich Yacht Club N12 fleet decided to meet up during the winter months for a formal dinner in the clubhouse. During the dinner they realised if the fleet were meeting up, why not bring their boats too. So, the next year, the RHYC N12 Mid-Winter Championships was born. The event was revived in February 2020 due to increasing numbers of N12s at the RHYC. 2021’s edition, due for February was inevitably cancelled however the 2022 edition was held at the RHYC this weekend.

A pleasant dinner for past, present, and future N12 sailors was held on Saturday evening at RHYC. With the wind forecast for Sunday gradually decreasing all week and an increasing promise of sun, the ‘End of Winter’ Championships lived up to its name, it certainly felt like spring!

Chris Brown, the PRO for the day, led the briefing on the club’s lawn, the key takeaway being that the RHYC were also hosting a Topper open, (who used the same starting flag as the 12s), an Oppie training day, an instructor course and normal club racing. Thankfully the Toppers had their own race committee, so there was no T flag confusion!

With a gentle easterly breeze, the fleet launched and headed just downriver of the RHYC. It quickly became apparent that the wind would be quite shifty and before the start it was possible to get your compass reading the same number on both tacks upwind!

Start line

Race 1 – Windward/Leeward

A flooding tide kept the fleet behind the start line. The best option was a quick tack onto port, which worked well for those at the committee boat end. Tom Stewart (crewed by Isobel Stewart) in N3544 led at the windward mark, followed by Graham Camm (crewed by Anya Camm) in N3530 and George Finch (crewed by Toby Hunt) in N3551. There was no room for error here and Chris Mayhew (crewed by Nicole Mayhew) in N3437 took full advantage of anyone whose mark rounding and bear-away was not smooth! With the tide running towards the leeward mark, the fleet quickly bunched up on the approach, again leaving no room for sloppy boat handling. Clean air was a must, as the beat to the line into the tide began. The wind became noticeably lighter during the 2nd lap, with the strong spring tide continuing to flood.

Tom & Isobel Stewart (N3544) took the win, followed by Chris & Nicole Mayhew (N3437) in 2nd and Graham & Anya Camm (N3530) in 3rd.

Race 2 – Triangle

A new windward mark was set and the fleet, again well behaved, set off for Race 2. Again, starting near the committee boat, or at least in clean air, paid off and Jon Brown (crewed by Maya Brown) in N3483 sailed fast to the windward mark, rounding 2nd. Ian Gore (crewed by Alex Gore) in N3525 were first. As with Race 1, George Finch (crewed by Toby Hunt) in N3551 rounded 3rd. The next leg was a reach across to RHYC’s ‘Berners’ racing mark (a narrow post). With the spring sun shining brightly, it was difficult to locate the mark. The wind became very light at times, although the front 3 boats managed to keep ahead for the gybe round ‘Berners’. Sailing tighter on the 3rd leg, with more tide running, paid off, although occasional gusts began to put pressure on those at the front.

As the beat into the 2nd lap began, so did the game of snakes and ladders. Ian & Alex Gore (N3525) who were leading went left and were becalmed. Jon & Maya Brown (N3483) kept right to cross Ian & Alex, as did George Finch & Toby Hunt (N3551). Chris & Nicole Mayhew (N3437), Adam Fuller & Saffron Hill (N3467) and David & Sarah Conlon (N3538) all looked set to gain on the 2nd beat, but it was Graham & Anya Camm (N3530) and the Mayhews (N3437) who found most of the ladders.

By now Jon & Maya Brown (N3483) and George Finch & Toby Hunt (N3551) had established a good led from the fleet, although ever fearful the wind could drop completely and fill in from behind during the two reaching legs of Lap 2.

Jon & Maya Brown (N3483) took a convincing win, with Graham & Anya Camm (N3530) sailing very fast and took 2nd place, by just a ¼ of a boat length from George Finch & Toby Hunt (N3551) who finished 3rd.

Chris & Nicole Mayhew

Race 3 – Triangle

The same course was set again for Race 3, with an ever decreasing and unpredictable wind. Going left paid off this time and the difficult wind saw some of the boats visiting the front, middle and back of the fleet, just on this beat!  Adam Fuller & Saffron Hill (N3467) were showing great speed in this race, with the conditions suiting their non T-Foil rudder.

The race was shortened to just one lap as the breeze wasn’t looking promising, and those who had set their recovery tactics on a good 2nd beat were out of luck!

Tom & Isobel Stewart (N3544) regained their form* and took the win. Ian & Alex Gore (N3525) were 2nd, with Graham & Anya Camm (N3530) 3rd.

Race 4 – Sausage / Triangle

A one lap race, consisting of a sausage then a triangle was set for the 4th and final race of the N12 ‘End of Winter’ Championships. Again, going left on the first beat was the best strategy, although some of the wind shifts were tremendous (or tremendously bad!) Robbie Stewart (crewed by Charlotte Stewart) in N3501 decided to tack onto starboard, hit the mark and nudge a few boats at this mark rounding. It was some light entertainment after a difficult first beat, with no harm done.

A range of tactics were tried out during the incredibly slow downwind leg, now against the tide. Heading ‘down the middle’ was the best option, although was not without danger as Tom & Isobel Stewart (N3544) and Robbie & Charlotte Stewart (N3501) ‘enjoyed’ some inter-family rules discussion on the approach to the leeward mark.

A mix of tactics followed for the 2nd beat, those favouring to stay right and in the now ebbing tide initially did well, but it was still a very slow and difficult beat. After the gybe at the now infamous ‘Berners’ post, Ian & Alex Gore (N3525) and Graham & Anya Camm (N3530) established a clean lead an sailed an untroubled remainder of Race 4.

However, the fun really began for the rest of the fleet! Adam Fuller & Saffron Hill (N3467) and Cameron Harris & Danny Blackburn (N3513), in 3rd & 4th place, became becalmed as a gust carried the majority of the fleet in their direction. There was a ‘bundle’ of at least 7 National 12s now waiting for some breeze. A few puffs arrived, from different directions and a number of sailors likened the conditions to Salcombe, but without the ice cream or blue water. A very busy mark rounding saw Tom & Isobel Stewart (N3544) and Chris & Nicole Mayhew (N3437) take the lead on this pack of boats. This race probably had the most place changes ever known!

Ian and Alex Gore (N3525) won, with Graham & Anya Camm (N3530) in 2nd and Tom & Isobel Stewart finishing 3rd.

The fleet then headed home, after a day of very close racing. As the results below show, just 4 points separated 5th to 11th place. Thanks to all at RHYC who made this event and the dinner the evening before happen, during an extremely busy weekend for the club!

Photos are available here courtesy of Pavel Krica.: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pavelkricka/albums/72177720297490441


 

Overall results

Notes

Rank

Sail No

Boat Name

N12 Design

Club

Helm

Crew

R1

R2

R3

R4

Total

Nett

U21c

1st

3544

Whitebait

Dead Cat Bounce

Royal Harwich Yacht Club

Tom Stewart

Isobel Stewart

1.0

(11.0)

1.0

3.0

16.0

5.0


2nd

3525

Mog

Dead Cat Bounce

Up River Yacht Club

Ian Gore

Alex Gore

(4.0)

4.0

2.0

1.0

11.0

7.0

u21c

3rd

3530

Very Hungry Caterpillar

Dead Cat Bounce

Burghfield Sailing Club

Graham Camm

Anya Camm

(3.0)

2.0

3.0

2.0

10.0

7.0


4th

3437

Worth It's Weight...

Final Chapter

Royal Harwich Yacht Club

Chris Mayhew

Nicole Mayhew

2.0

(5.0)

4.0

4.0

15.0

10.0

u21c

5th

3551

Over The Rainbow

Dead Cat Bounce

Royal Harwich Yacht Club

George Finch

Toby Hunt

8.0

3.0

(11.0)

8.0

30.0

19.0

NT-F

6th

3467

Hagar The Horrible

Feeling Foolish

Royal Harwich Yacht Club

Adam Fuller

Saffron Hill

7.0

(12.0)

7.0

5.0

31.0

19.0

U21h

7th

3471

Lars Porsena Of Clusium

Final Chapter

Upper Thames Sailing Club

Dan Meadowcroft

Zoe Ballantyne

9.0

6.0

(10.0)

6.0

31.0

21.0

U21c

8th

3483

Tonto

Paradox

Burghfield Sailing Club

Jon Brown

Maya Brown

5.0

1.0

(16.0 DNC)

16.0 DNC

38.0

22.0


9th

3538

A Glass and a Half Full

Feeling Foolish

Brightlingsea Sailing Club

David Conlon

Sarah Conlon

6.0

8.0

8.0

(16.0 RET)

38.0

22.0

u12c

10th

3431

Zippy

Feeling Foolish

Upper Thames Sailing Club

John Meadowcroft

Elouise Mayhew

(10.0)

9.0

5.0

9.0

33.0

23.0

U21c, NT-F

11th

3513

Silver Lining

Feeling Foolish

Waldringfield Sailing Club

Cameron Harris

Danny Blackburn

(11.0)

10.0

6.0

7.0

34.0

23.0

U21h

12th

3501

Silverfin

Feeling Foolish

Royal Harwich Yacht Club

Robbie Stewart

Charlotte Stewart

(12.0)

7.0

9.0

10.0

38.0

26.0

NT-F

13th

3432

Crazy Jayne

Feeling Foolish

Royal Harwich Yacht Club

Steve Le Grys

Penny Gillett

(13.0)

13.0

12.0

11.0

49.0

36.0

U21c, NT-F, AC

14th

3198

Inca

Baggy Trousers

Royal Harwich Yacht Club

Josh Richardson

Jacob Richardson

(16.0 DNC)

16.0 DNC

16.0 DNC

16.0 DNC

64.0

48.0

u21c

14th

3528

Blue Kangaroo

Dead Cat Bounce

Carsington Sailing Club Ltd

Pete Miatt

Olivia Miatt

(16.0 DNC)

16.0 DNC

16.0 DNC

16.0 DNC

64.0

48.0



U21c = Under 21 Crew
U21h = Under 21 Helm
NT-F = No T-Foil Rudder
AC = Admirals Cup

*Race 2 saw Tom & Isobel finish 11, to “maximise their discard”. Can anyone remember the last time Tom had a double-digit race result in a N12 race?

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