11 July 2015: National Swallow Class / National Championships
Published 13:48 on 12 Jul 2015
In a dominant display over a weekend of highly varied weather conditions, Gwaihir helmed by Mike Wigmore won the Swallow national championships hosted by Itchenor Sailing Club.
Saturday's courses were set up in Brackesham Bay and the 20 boat fleet were sent away for race one in awkward conditions a confused sea and wind that was swinging 30 degrees with little warning. Ka Nyenga (Mike Robinson) plugged away on port tack to make the most of the ebbing tide from Chichester Harbour and was rewarded with a comfortable lead at the windward mark that was extended on the run as the new breeze became established. Gwaihir sneaked into 2nd place ahead of rival Skua (Harry Roome).
For race two the low cloud had peeled away and the breeze had steadied and at the third attempt the fleet was away. Darter (Tony Glover) held a very narrow lead at the windward mark but was rolled by boats on both left and right on the first reach of the Olympic triangle course - which had in fact become a run. The next three-sailed reach was tight and spirited in the building breeze and which seemed to cause Spectre (Clive Bush) some issues as Gwaihir nudged past to claim the win with Carolyn Brigg's Marengo third.
Race three was full on champagne sailing in a force 5/6 breeze with building seas and an flood tide which caught out several competitors when they misjudged their approach to the windward mark. This race was a battle of the titans as Skua sped away downwind on the windward/leeward course but was eventually reeled in by Gwaihir with Marengo again third. Considering Gwaihir's uncharacteristically flawed approach to the first windward mark this was a classic victory.
Sunday's weather was always forecasted to be different and indeed it was. The fleet nevertheless elected to race in Bracklesham Bay again but the race officer ventured out and sensibly decided that conditions were too rough and returned to Chichester Harbour to set a windward/leeward course. Gwaihir was over the start line and was trapped before returning against the strong ebb to re-start. Two other boats were judged OCS but neither returned and one Skua forfeited an exemplary display of heavy weather sailing to cross the finish line in silence. Race officer Mark Upton-Brown's use of a windward spreader mark kept the fleet from heading back through approaching boats and also opened up two downwind race tracks which Marengo exploited to the full gaining six places on the first downwind leg. Gwaihir was now charging and finished second to secure the championships. Marengo was second and Simon Slater sailing Echo was rewarded for a series of consistent results with third place....Show Less
1st Gwaihir (Mike Wigmore, Charles Hyatt and Harry Gilchrist)
2nd Marengo (Carolyn Brigg, David Sloper and Hugo Sloper)
3rd Echo (Simon Slater, Simon Miller and George Miller)
Last updated 16:24 on 5 August 2021