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Great Britain, OK National and Open Championships 2003

Stokes Bay Sailing Club

by Robert Deaves

Nick Craig from Frensham Pond Sailing Club successfully defended his National title in fine form over 29th to 31st August at Stokes Bay Sailing Club. Seven of the scheduled eight races were sailed in very shifty conditions as the thermal breezes played havoc with the courses and provided many an interesting windshift. However, despite the extremely changeable conditions the usual names were still up the front, but there were also a few surprise faces showing the leaders the way round on occasions.

Saturday's two races were both won by Craig with 90 degree shifts and large holes making the competitors very nervous. The tide also played its part with a large tidal gate round the downwind mark. Dave Carroll scored a second in the first race with Robert Deaves third after these three split away from the fleet. In the second race, Jim Hunt scored a second with Andrew Rushworth in third, after the front five boats became separated from the fleet by the whole windward leg after the wind died at the downwind tidal gate. The last race was cancelled as the wind was still decidedly fractious.

Sunday saw Jim Hunt back to the fore winning the first two races after long beats in a fickle wind against a strong flood tide. Terry Curtis had led the first race by a large margin but was gradually ground down by Hunt who went for the kill at the last leeward mark. Craig was third. In the second race of the day, these two swapped positions. The third race became somewhat of a procession after a large windshift and a one tack beat. Craig returned to the front followed by Tony Thresher and Robert Deaves. The last race of the day saw a win from David Carroll followed by Craig and Hunt, to leave Craig leading going into the last day.

Monday dawned promising with a good breeze from a different direction. However by the time of the start it had started to deteriorate and again large shifts appeared. Robert Deaves made the best of the start and the shifts to lead by a considerable margin around the first mark from Craig and Hunt. Craig took the lead on a really fluky windshift at the top of the second beat and went on to win the race and the championship. Hunt passed Deaves on the next beat and the boats finished in that order. With the wind really not playing ball, the race officer abandoned racing for the day.

While the racing was not exactly the stuff of legends, the most interesting part of the regatta was perhaps the change over to the new carbon masts with just under half the fleet using mainly UK produced round masts. The light winds didn't produce much of a speed difference with only two metal masts inside the top ten (Deaves and Rushworth).

1Nick CraigGBR 2110Frensham Pond SC6
2Jim HuntGBR 2109South Staffs SC9
3David CarrollGBR 2106Felixstowe Ferry SC17
4Robert DeavesGBR 2081Dabchicks SC23
5Terry CurtisGBR 2101Upper Thanes SC27
6Will TurnerGBR 2045Ardleigh SC38
7Tony ThresherGBR 1774West Oxfordshire40
8John BallGBR 2082Deben YC41
9Andrew RushworthGBR 2093Christchurh SC44
10Neil GoodheadGBR 2108South Staffs SC46
Master: Bob Bourne
Veteran: Thresher
Newcomer: Julian Burnham
Lady: Mary Reddyhoff
Team Prize: South Staffs SC
Mark Williams Memorial: Dave Cooper