Firstly, a huge thank you to those who sponsored the event: Gosport Borough Council; the…
Vane A National Championship
The 2018 Vane A National Championship, sponsored by Dean and Reddyhoff, is being held at Gosport Model Yacht and Boat Club, beginning on Sunday the 29th July. Yes, that is the day the heatwave ended! The 20 strong fleet were greeted by winds gusting to 40 knots, and driving rain, which lasted all day. Boats ranged from the ultra-light 17.5 lb Mike Dann designed Fusion 107 of Pete r Hopkins, to Peter Whiteside’s venerable 49 lb Simpson design ‘Bluenote’.
In the strong, damaging reachy winds of Sunday’s general fleet day the boats which came to the fore were Rob Bell’s lightweight Simpson Lightening, closely followed one point down by Graham Butler’s heavyweight Shield, by Graham Bantock. In third, and again only one point down was Derek Priestley’s VC2.
On Monday and the Tuesday the fleet splits into two halves, so meaningful results have to wait until the end of Tuesday. Both days were warm and mercifully dry, with winds changing through the day from light in the mornings to moderate in the afternoon when the sea-breeze kicks in, often giving good beats but with a tendency to back to the south at times. By the end of Tuesday, and after 15 heats, Martin Robert’s mid-weight Simpson lead the field with 63 points, followed three points behind by Graham Butler’s Shield. The lighter-weight Simpson of David Bell was 6 points behind. In the windward legs, Martin Roberts led Graham Butler by 3 points, while Mike Dann was ahead on the downwind legs, leading Graham Butler by 2 points.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, the knock-out competition for the Yachting Monthly Cup is held. This is a separate competition from the main championship, raced for the Scrutton Cup. The weather forecast to be warm and light.
On Thursday the fleet returns to championship racing. With so few points separating the top positions, there is all to play for!
“After all the recent good weather Sunday’s was appalling with heavy rain all day and blowing a gale from the south giving reaching conditions both up and down the lake.. Monday had the same wind direction, but much lighter with all in top suits. 6 young skippers/mates were thoroughly enjoying both the conditions. 5 even younger kids competed in the Choppa race at lunchtime, where these 12″ boats with no steering raced the same course with the winner nearly reaching the end before hitting the side.” Roger Stollery
Yachting Monthly Cup, 2018 Wednesday 1st August.
The weather was dry and very warm, with a full-sail breeze largely from the south west but with a tendency to back at times to the south. There was a fleet of 22 boats, ranging from heavy traditional designs to the most recent thinking in the class.
For the initial rounds four sub-fleets were scheduled, with the top two boats going through to the quarter finals. By the semi-finals the wind had firmed up with the sea-breeze, and it gave superb sailing in perfect summer weather. Andrea Roberts and Lisa Priestley’s mid-weight Simpson design lost narrowly to C.J. and Rob Vice’s Stollery ‘Clockwork Orange’, and Derek and Shaun Priestley’s ‘VC2’ lost to Peter Fothergill and Paul Edwards’s new Hollom design ‘Reference Point’.
By the final, sailed at about 4.30, the sea-breeze was beginning to falter. Peter and Paul from the home took both beats from C.J. and Rob, from the Guildford MYC, to win the Yachting Monthly Cup for 2018.
Tomorrow, Thursday the 2nd, normal fleet racing starts again, with Martin Roberts leading Graham Butler by three points.
2018 Vane A Championship Thursday 2nd August.
Race officer Jacque Cook was faced with some tough decisions today, as the forecast predicted light variable winds backing from south west, through 90 degrees to south east, during the racing day. Racing for the 20 strong fleet started on the east bank in some six to eight knots of wind, but even in the initial boards the fickle breeze threw up some surprising finishes. An early lunch was called as the wind had faded completely while the sea breeze decided whether to arrive, but in the end it opted out! Racing continued in light airs swinging between one end of the lake and the other, and it was not unusual to see spinnakers flown on the ‘windward’ legs!
The last board was completed at 4.30, and the overall positions had developed from Tuesdays results. Leading with 81 points were still Martin Roberts and Bernie McNulty, sailing their mid-weight Simpson ‘M’Aidez’ design. Now in second place, 5 points behind, are David Bell and Alan Bell, sailing a lightweight Simpson ‘Lightening’, and in third only 1 point behind them are Graham Butler and Keith Wiseman sailing their Bantock designed ‘Shield’.
Racing continues tomorrow, Friday, for the final day of this championship. The forecast is once again for light, variable winds and another scorching hot day. There are enough points available for the current finishing order to change again. Two of the boats in the first three are acknowledged light-wind performers, and one more normally seen as a heavy wind boat. We’ll know by tomorrow afternoon at 3.00!
Vane A Championship Results end of Thursday
The Final Day and Round Up of the Event
The final Friday at the Vane A National Championship, held at Gosport and sponsored by Dean and Reddyhoff, saw a light but solid whole sail breeze from the south east. Skippers and mates were tired from the week’s punishing schedule, but keen to sail in probably the best conditions of the week. With a short lunch break five more heats were completed making a total of 25.
The 2018 Vane A National Champions and winners of the Scrutton Cup were Martin Roberts and Bernie McNulty: a popular and well-deserved win, having sailed their Simpson M’Aidez design superbly through the widely varying weather conditions of the week. In the last day they increased their lead to 9 points from second place David and Allan Bell, sailing a Simpson Lightening. In 3rd place and seven further points down were Graham Butler and Keith Wiseman sailing their Bantock design Shield.
Winner of the Jonnies Cup for best windward performance were Martin Roberts and Bernie McNulty, and the Wing and Wing trophy for the best downwind legs was won by David and Alan Bell. The Denis Lippett junior trophy was awarded to ten-year-old Thomas Wyeth, who braved everything from the wild conditions of the first Sunday to the extreme heat of the final days. Well done, Thomas! The Veterans award was won by Peter Whiteside who was ably mated by Eddie Greenwood.
The main raisin d’être of the longer than usual event is to enable every boat in a large fleet to race everyone else. It also ensures that boats are able to perform in the widest range of weather conditions, so designs targeted specifically at a narrow wind range are generally avoided. That the nearly 100-year-old measurement rule is still as effective after all this time, is demonstrated by the displacement range of the top three boats, with one weighing best part of one third less than the heaviest!
The Yachting Monthly Cup, sailed during the single day knock-out competition on the Wednesday, was won by Peter Fothergill and Paul Edwards with their Hollom design Reference Point.
A special mention must go to CJ and Rob Vice, sailing one of the most iconic designs in the class, Roger Stollery’s Clockwork Orange. Although sailing a 47-year-old boat, they won some significant points including three from the overall winner and sailed into the runners up place in the Yachting Monthly Cup.
This year’s event included a significant number of young skippers and mates, many competing for the first time in the event. Skippers Josh Dicks, CJ Vice, Zak Roberts and Lewis Wyeth and mates Jay Britton, Amber Geldard, Brillie Vice, Russell Wyeth, and Thomas Wyeth not only competed well but considerably lowered the average age of the fleet! They are Free Sailing’s future and frequently gave the more experienced competitors a run for their money.
A major event of this type takes a lot of organising, and race officers Roger Stollery for the first two days and Jacque Cook for the following four kept a close watch on the fleet to ensure fair and enjoyable racing for all. They were helped by a large team of volunteers from the home club, and at times from the visiting clubs. Special mention must go the Martin Roberts for his excellent assistance with the Yachting Monthly Cup and the behind the scenes Organising Committee for all they did prior to and during the championship. A big thank you for everyone who was involved!
It has been most successful and enjoyable event and skippers and mates will already be thinking of strategies for winning next year, at Fleetwood!