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24/08/2016
Volvo Noble Marine UK National Championship

    See Sportography.tv photographs at http://sportography.photoshelter.com/gallery-collection/HISC-2016-RS400-700-800-Nationals/C0000ojHkTnaEsZ0

     

    Link to Video to follow.

     

    OVERALL REPORT

     

    The RS400 fleet has new National Champions, Paul and Mark Oakey (1441) from Portchester SC.  

     

    Throughout a taxing week, where the weather danced around the fleet and provided more snakes than ladders on the open sea courses off Hayling Island, the father and son team were never out of the top ten. Indeed, their discarded scores were an 8th and a 4th leaving four bullets, a 2nd and a 3rd to count.

    Such consistency was particularly impressive given the tricky conditions and more erratic scores of many in the rest of the fleet. From reading the light breeze, to understanding the influence of the across course tide and then coping with stronger winds and short steep seas, many enjoyed a range of views in the fleet including some of the big guns who were reminded what thirty odd transoms look like.

    But the Oakey’s, who are well known for being among the flyweights in the fleet and even refer to themselves as the Hobbits, excelled in all of the conditions. It was of little surprise that they went well in the light but when the breeze got up, as it did on the second to last day of the event, they were still smoking off into the distance and nailing podium results.

     

    But they’re not superhuman, as a few at the front witnessed on Day 4 when Paul and Mark tripped up on the last gybe of the last leg of race 6 when they were vying for the lead.

    This image of the fallible Oakeys swimming around their boat may well have been in the minds of those chasing them on the overall points on final day as teams awoke to a solid 20 knots plus and a forecast of more to come. If there were conditions that the Hobbits could be caught in, these were surely them.

    But as breakfast was digested and boat covers pulled back, the breeze continued to build. Many kept a keen eye on the committee boat and its armada of rescue RIBs as they headed out towards the notorious bar at the entrance to Chichester Harbour. But when they turned back just short of the breaking waves, many suspected that the game was over. One hour later it was and the final day’s racing was cancelled.

     

    Despite the disappointment of the last day, the event had been a superbly run and convivial affair with plenty of tales for the bar. The best of which must surely be Ben Robertson’s downwind capsize. In a gybe that saw, ‘lots of things go very wrong, very quickly’, helmsman Ben launched himself to the high side, (as mother Sarah took the leeward side dunking) and made his high jump style bid over the windward gunwale for the centreboard.

    Unfortunately, he missed the centreboard and banged his head on the hull. But instead of plunging into the sea his fall was arrested as the mainsheet that had wrapped around his foot left him hanging upside down on the outside of the hull with his head in the water.

    “To be honest it took a few hours to see the funny side,” he admitted afterwards. Fortunately, the bar inside the club house helped in that respect.

     

    Among the other top tales, that of legendary dinghy gurus and self-confessed pensioners Nick and Rob Martin, who claim that they ‘don’t tack much because they can’t’, taking a win on the breeziest of days in the trickiest of last minute gybes that saw younger fitter teams go swimming was as impressive as the grins on their faces afterwards. Finishing 6th overall they continue to be an example to the rest of the fleet.

     

    Throughout the week there were teams that looked like they could be a threat to the Oakeys. Both the Robertsons (1319) from Royal Forth YC and the Martins (1433) from Lymington Town SC were among those who added a win to their scoreline while also appearing to make the family point at the same time.

    But it was Jon Heissig and Nicky Griffin (1454) from Llangorse SC, who snatched two wins during the week that were pushing the Oakey’s the hardest finishing second overall by 8 points.

    But wherever you had finished, the mixed bag of weather, the wide range of entries from across the country and the broadest friendliest bunch of sailors said a great deal about why the 400 class continues to thrive.

     

    Matt Sheahan

     

    Daily Reports

     

    Day 1 of the RS400 nationals dawned with blazing sunshine. This lead to a 2 hour postponement ashore before the fleet were released to Hayling bay. Race 1 got away first time with only an individual recall for Kevin Podger and Heather Chipperfield who had mistaken the leeward mark for the pin end of the line. Good to see the class secretary making an early entry for the duckhams prize.

     

    Ben and Sarah Robertson led at the windward mark from Andy Hatch and Dan Hawkins having worked the left hand side of the beat. 3rd and 4th were James Sinclair and Ben Wilcox ahead of Paul and Mark Oakey who had worked the right hand side of the course. I am reliably informed that the middle didn't pay. The top 4 held these positions until the finish despite team Oakey's last ditch attempt to take 3rd by trying to get across with very tight final reach to the committee boat without dropping their spinnaker. We quickly decided to rectify the situation while pointing 30 degrees low to hold on to 4th and be lumbered with writing the report. 5th was Ben Williamson and Jon Willars ahead of Podger and Chipperfield who made an excellent recovery in 6th.

     

    The wind decided not to play ball for race 2 and kept shifting right. This lead to multiple recalls as the breeze swung and swung and swung further right. Eventually the race officer had enough and sent the fleet home just in time before the wind switched off and the tide started to really race out of the harbour. This got the fleet home in time to refuel in the bar and restaurant before more racing tomorrow.

     

    Mark Oakey

     

    Days 2 & 3

     

    Among the many questions that have arisen over the last three days, the most pressing for those at the front of the fleet, is how to stop the Oakey’s winning streak. With three firsts, a second and a discarded fourth, Paul and Mark are nine points ahead of second placed James Sinclair and Ben Wilcox. One place further back, Ben and Sarah Robertson are 12 points off the lead.

     

    It’s well known that the Oakey’s weigh less than a bag of helium and are both canny and accomplished sailors, so challenging them on the race course is always going to be difficult, especially in the light. The fact that they are sailing close to home waters adds another hurdle for those looking to topple them. But the fact that they are heading home each evening and arriving back at the club bushy tailed an bright eyed every morning is possibly seen as an advantage too far by those who are embracing the full hospitality of Hayling Island Sailing Club and its multiple bars. Of course the answer is simple, but it’s virtually impossible to stay on that side of the line when it’s so easy to get to the bar.

     

    Aside from sorting the pecking order at the front, Friday delivered four back to back races, a welcome relief for all after two frustrating days where the breeze refused to play ball, Today’s light but workable 5-8 knot sea breeze appeared quite stable for several of the races and yet even those at the front of the fleet came ashore none the wiser as to the logic that had led to their impressive performances – even the Oakeys. But some had bigger issues to contend with. One helmsman, who shall remain nameless, came ashore wondering how three attempts at rounding the windward mark on starboard had gone so badly wrong each time. The only saving grace was that his crew hadn’t been in a position to witness the multiple error of judgements as he was too busy head down feeding the fish for the first half of the day. As if to add insult to injury, when the crew felt better and in a position to contribute to the team effort once again he admitted that the boat went slower.

     

    The forecast for the next two days points to a building breeze, low teens for Saturday before ramping up towards the twenties for the finale on Sunday. And for those chasing the flyweight Oakeys, that’s good news.

     

    Day 4

     

    Today the 400 fleet had wind.

     

    Sometimes when the breeze gets up and kicks against the tide it's easy to imagine that the big guns at the front are enjoying flawless manoeuvres and seamless mark roundings. It's also easy to convince yourself that fit young crews also have the upper hand. But as the breeze arrived for Day 4 of the Nationals this was anything but the case. Of the three races that were run, the first was in around 15 knots of breeze. Nothing special perhaps, but when you add in a knot or two of tide, a sea state that felt more like a set of dwarf walls than a race course and the remnants of yet another fun night ashore, there was plenty of scope to trip up.

     

    So while the top dogs, including the Oakeys and John Heissig and Nicky Griffin smoked off the front of the fleet, their 'moments' were to come at the end of Saturday's opening race. In fact the last gybe of the last leg. As John and Nicky carved into the final gybe they managed to spear their bowsprit into a wave causing a full on big boat style broach. Apparently, according to John, they only avoided a capsize because Nicky had already bagged her position on the centreboard. Meanwhile, the Oakeys were feeling punchy and threw in a last minute gybe to try to get inside John and Nicky. "I'm not sure we actually gybed," admitted Paul afterwards. What was clear though was that a couple of seconds later they were in the drink. From superstars to swimmers at a crucial stage of the race, such tales give the rest of us hope. But so too does the fact that Rob and Nick Martin who have a combined age sufficient to challenge the good Lord himself, tucked in what Rob described as a 'slow and untidy gybe' at the same point to see them overtake the car crash hot heads and win the race. "It was a race for old men," he said, grinning from ear to ear. There were other rock stars who came ashore a touch sheepish. Ben and Sarah Robertson went for a dunk after a gybe that went spectacularly wrong giving others further back in the fleet the opportunity to line up against them for a few minutes before they smoked off into the distance.

     

    The second race saw the breeze increase and another two course of bricks added to the wall like sea state while the downhill slides were superb. But there were still some trip ups at the front. Most costly was John and Nicky heading to the finish one lap early which allowed the Oakeys through to another win. No doubt incensed by their mistake, John and Nicky returned the favour winning the final race while the Oakeys came third.

     

    All of which has not only re-shuffled the leaderboard, but has put a bit more pressure on the Oakeys who are now just eight points ahead of new second place holders John and Nicky. Dave Exley and Martin Lunn are currently in third. It's curry night tonight and tomorrow's forecast is for more wind once again. You can read that how you like.

     

    Matt Sheahan

     

    FINAL RESULTS BELOW

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    Sailwave results for 2016 RS400 National Championship at Wednesday 24 to Sunday 28 August 2016

    event burgee venue burgee

    2016 RS400 National Championship

    Wednesday 24 to Sunday 28 August

     

    Overall

    Sailed: 8, Discards: 2, To count: 6, Entries: 38, Scoring system: Appendix A
    Rank Tally No Fleet Sail No Helm Crew Club Category R1
    24 Aug
    R2
    26 Aug
    R3
    26 Aug
    R4
    26 Aug
    R5
    26 Aug
    R6
    27 Aug
    R7
    27 Aug
    R8
    27 Aug
    Total Nett
    1st 33 Gold 1441 Paul Oakey Mark Oakey Portchester SC GM (4.0) 1.0 2.0 1.0 1.0 (8.0) 1.0 3.0 21.0 9.0
    2nd 35 Gold 1454 Jon Heissig Nicky Griffin Llangorse SC LC/MH/MC/LC (11.0) 2.0 1.0 7.0 (10.0) 3.0 3.0 1.0 38.0 17.0
    3rd 15 Gold 1186 Dave Exley Mark Lunn Leigh & Lowton SC MH/MC (8.0) (6.0) 4.0 4.0 6.0 2.0 2.0 5.0 37.0 23.0
    4th 23 Gold 1362 James Sinclair Ben Wilcox East Lothian YC   3.0 3.0 3.0 5.0 5.0 (7.0) (13.0) 7.0 46.0 26.0
    5th 19 Gold 1202 Sam Knight Chris Bownes Bartley SC   7.0 (8.0) 8.0 (9.0) 3.0 5.0 5.0 2.0 47.0 30.0
    6th 30 Gold 1433 Rob Martin Nick Martin Lymington Town SC MH/MC/GM (13.0) 4.0 5.0 6.0 9.0 1.0 (15.0) 8.0 61.0 33.0
    7th 14 Gold 1319 Ben Robertson Sarah Robertson Royal Forth YC LC 1.0 5.0 7.0 11.0 4.0 6.0 (33.0) (13.0) 80.0 34.0
    8th 16 Gold 1189 Steve Restall Chris Stubbs Downs SC GM (12.0) 9.0 (15.0) 2.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 11.0 61.0 34.0
    9th 32 Gold 1439 Kevin Podger Heather Chipperfield Lymington Town SC GM/LC 6.0 (11.0) 9.0 3.0 8.0 (17.0) 4.0 6.0 64.0 36.0
    10th 13 Silver 1131 Ben Williamson Jon Willars Welton SC   5.0 (26.0) 12.0 15.0 7.0 (28.0) 8.0 10.0 111.0 57.0
    11th 27 Gold 1390 Andy Hatch Dan Hawkins QMSC GM 2.0 10.0 6.0 (19.0) (19.0) 13.0 14.0 14.0 97.0 59.0
    12th 28 Gold 1414 Caroline Whitehouse Jason McDonnell Bartley SC LH 9.0 12.0 13.0 10.0 17.0 12.0 (30.0) (24.0) 127.0 73.0
    13th 22 Gold 1356 Pete Vincent Darren McNamara/Emma Hivey Llandefedd SC MH/GM 15.0 7.0 14.0 (22.0) (22.0) 19.0 11.0 9.0 119.0 75.0
    14th 17 Gold 1190 Steve Jones Andy Harris Chew Valley Lake SC MH/MC 10.0 16.0 (18.0) 12.0 16.0 10.0 (17.0) 17.0 116.0 81.0
    15th 34 Gold 1452 Howard Eeles Wayne Hancox Bartley SC MH 18.0 (23.0) (22.0) 14.0 20.0 11.0 7.0 12.0 127.0 82.0
    16th 9 Gold 1017 Sean Cleary Annalise Nixon Oxford SC LC/LC 14.0 14.0 (19.0) 17.0 12.0 (39.0 DNC) 10.0 15.0 140.0 82.0
    17th 24 Silver 1363 Ross Ryan Oliver Ryan-Moore Notts County SC MH/MC/GM 17.0 13.0 10.0 13.0 13.0 (23.0) (21.0) 19.0 129.0 85.0
    18th 3 Gold 770 Thomas Broatch Karen Thomas Leigh & Lowton SC LC/LH (39.0 DNC) 19.0 11.0 21.0 11.0 26.0 (27.0) 16.0 170.0 104.0
    19th 18 Gold 1192 Jack Munnelly Mark Nichols Arun YC   16.0 17.0 (23.0) 20.0 23.0 15.0 19.0 (27.0) 160.0 110.0
    20th 4 Gold 836 Adam Humphrey Jo Humphrey Thorney Island SC   21.0 15.0 16.0 18.0 (25.0) (25.0) 22.0 22.0 164.0 114.0
    21st 7 Silver 934 David Swift Robert Burgess Warsash SC MH 22.0 (27.0) 17.0 16.0 18.0 20.0 (23.0) 21.0 164.0 114.0
    22nd 8 Silver 971 Tom Haslam Karen Baldwin Notts County SC LC/LC (26.0) (30.0) 25.0 25.0 15.0 22.0 12.0 20.0 175.0 119.0
    23rd 31 Gold 1435 Matt Sheahan Ellie Sheahan Netley SC MH/MC (27.0) (28.0) 21.0 26.0 21.0 18.0 18.0 18.0 177.0 122.0
    24th 36 Silver 1342 Max Tosetti Jenny Douglas Queen Mary SC GM 23.0 21.0 (24.0) 24.0 24.0 14.0 20.0 (28.0) 178.0 126.0
    25th 21 Silver 1450 Nick Eaves Greg Pace Bartley SC GM 25.0 20.0 27.0 8.0 (39.0 OCS) 24.0 24.0 (29.0) 196.0 128.0
    26th 5 Gold 904 Grant Blake Jessica Barker Oxford SC LC/LC 20.0 22.0 (29.0) 27.0 28.0 16.0 16.0 (30.0) 188.0 129.0
    27th 38   1418 Howard Fairbrother Louise Fairbrother QMSC   (39.0 DNC) (39.0 DNC) 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 9.0 9.0 4.0 217.0 139.0
    28th 25 Silver 1380 Richard Wharram Hannah Wharram Welton SC LC 19.0 25.0 26.0 23.0 14.0 32.0 (39.0 DNC) (39.0 DNC) 217.0 139.0
    29th 20 Silver 1210 Mike Partridge Claire Davis HISC LC/HM/GM 24.0 24.0 20.0 (29.0) (26.0) 21.0 26.0 25.0 195.0 140.0
    30th 12 Silver 1060 Pete Pickford John Pickford Dell Quay SC   28.0 18.0 28.0 (32.0) 27.0 27.0 (39.0 DNC) 23.0 222.0 151.0
    31st 26 Silver 1383 Phil Robinson Dave Pears Carsington SC MH/MC 30.0 (31.0) 30.0 (33.0) 31.0 29.0 25.0 26.0 235.0 171.0
    32nd 37 Silver 670 Tim Harrison Tor Harrison Notts County SC LC/MH/LC (32.0) 29.0 (31.0) 28.0 29.0 31.0 28.0 31.0 239.0 176.0
    33rd 6 Gold 915 Sean Curtis Andy Lyne Emsworth Slipper SC MC 31.0 33.0 (39.0 DNC) (39.0 DNC) 30.0 30.0 32.0 32.0 266.0 188.0
    34th 2 Silver 689 Matt Wright Gavin King HISC MH/MC 29.0 32.0 (34.0) 30.0 32.0 33.0 (39.0 DNC) 33.0 262.0 189.0
    35th 1 Silver 527 Andy Powell Jon Costin Warsash SC MH/MC 33.0 (35.0) 33.0 31.0 34.0 35.0 29.0 (39.0 DNF) 269.0 195.0
    36th 10 Silver 1019 Rob Corfield Tom Dobbs Dell Quay SC GM (39.0 DNC) 34.0 32.0 34.0 33.0 34.0 31.0 (39.0 DNC) 276.0 198.0
    37th 11 Silver 1031 John Excell Simon Goldfarb Emsworth Slipper SC MH/MC (39.0 DNC) (39.0 DNC) 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 312.0 234.0
    37th 29 Silver 1428 James Gardner Anne Gardner HISC LC (39.0 DNC) (39.0 DNC) 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNF 39.0 DNC 39.0 DNC 312.0 234.0

     

     

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