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Great Britain, British National Championships 2012

Brightlingsea SC, Essex

24th - 27th August

Report by Jonathan Fish

A very competitive fleet of 31 OK Dinghies travelled to Brightlingsea for a great event over the bank holiday weekend. Sailed in a good breeze and hosted by a very hospitable club, the event will be remembered for some time – not least because it was won after a nip-tuck struggle between a few boats with the eventual outcome only being known after the fleet was ashore on the final day.

Proceedings started in a solid force 3-4, with Lee Child in his shinny new Synergy boat taking an early lead. Jon Fish came through to second by the leeward mark and with the pair clear of the fleet, a 1hr 20min match race commenced. Fish came through down the run, but Child managed to claw back up the last beat, and looked like he was going to take the race, but Fish just nicked it on the finish line.

Fish led race 2 from start to finish, albeit pushed by defending champion Terry Curtis, who performed downhill recovery acts in both races to end the day with a 3, 2. Child put in another counter with a third almost catching Curtis after a 40 degree shift shuffled the pack up the last beat. Alex Scoles showed better form to take fourth, while Tony Woods had a solid day to sit in fourth overall as the fleet headed in after two great races.

Saturday morning started breezier, with 18-20 knots initially recorded on the race track. Richard Burton showed some of his windy weather pace to hold an early lead in race 3. Fish, sailing his piece of Synergy furniture, reeled him in on the first set of reaches to take the lead, and despite trying to finish a lap early, had pace on the fleet to take his third straight win. Behind him, Burton just kept Curtis at bay to hold second, and Robert Deaves claimed fourth after Lee had a swimming incident on the second reach.

The breeze dropped slightly for the start of race 4, and Curtis started to show his usual mid-range pace, getting round the first mark just in front and comfortably holding to take his first race win. Child got into second and was never headed, and Deaves went one better with a third.

The big event of the race was back in the pack at the first windward mark, where Alex Scoles misjudged his windward mark approach on port and ended up crash-tacking and capsizing directly in front of Fish, causing a bit of a tangle. Once they had extracted themselves, the pair were a leg behind the leaders. With the breeze dropping to a force 2, Scoles opted to retire, while Fish couldn’t haul his way back into contention, and with no damage couldn’t claim redress - posting a rather grumpy 17th.

The race officer did a really good job on day 3 keeping the course true in the face of regular 30 degree shifts. The three protagonists for the title managed to get clear of the fleet and have good tussle, with Curtis keeping his nose in front with Child and Fish snapping at his heals. On the last beat Fish managed to inspect his centreboard again, allowing both Child through to second and a fast finishing Julian Burnham through to third.

Race 6 was one of snakes and ladders, as the breeze turned patchy and shifty. Keith Byers put in a strong showing only to overhauled later on. Woods took a large left shift up the second beat to steam roll into the lead, only to lose it in the final stages to Child who sailed really smartly to pick his way to the front. Deaves again sailed a clever race to finish third, whilst Curtis and Fish along with several others hit one too many snakes to put in results they’d rather forget.

So, going in to the last day, Child and Curtis were tied on points with almost identical results; whilst Deaves was hard on the heels of Fish in third and fourth some 10 points back. Child charged off the line to lead the first race from start to finish. Fish pulled through the fleet to get within a boat length of Child in the building breeze but couldn’t quite squeeze past for the race win. Curtis could only recover to fourth just behind Deaves after having a bad first beat. This meant he still had it all to do in the final race.

He didn’t really disappoint, leading Child over to the unfavoured right hand side, putting both of them deep down the fleet. At the same time, Fish and Deaves tussled at the front for the race lead with Alex Scoles briefly taking the lead offwind in the fresh conditions. Fish won the pie contest up the second beat to get in front of Deaves and took his fourth race win of the series and third overall.

Meanwhile, Curtis used his famed downwind pace to come through the fleet to catch up to Deaves. In a photo finish, Deaves took second with Curtis third, but with Child finishing in seventh place, the fleet sailed in thinking that Terry Curtis had come back from the brink to win his fourth OK Dinghy British National title.

But then the race officer revealed that 2118, 2145 and 2027 were all OCS. Curtis was out, and the title belonged to the deserving Lee Child.

PosSailno.ClubNameR1R2R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8TotalNettNotes
1212Dabchicks SCLee Child237221152316
22118Weymouth SC / Upper Thames SCTerry Curtis3231174OCS5321
32151Waldringfield SCJonathan Fish11117413214023
42138Waldringfield SCRobert Deaves564383323426
52145Glossop SCTony Woods451395210OCS8048V
62084Morecambe and Heysham YCKeith Byers7155111041847456V
72147Overy Staithe SCAlex Scoles1549DNF1110538957
8522BCYCIan Harris119649514DNC9058
92116South StaffsEd Bradbun15.0 TLY1410579687459
102101RYAJohn Burnham9101483119107460
112042WOSCRichard Burton13.0 TLY112101816768365
122107Upriver YCDave Bourne6815661712128265
132120Waldringfield SCDan AgerOCS781316811710270
142123Overy Staithe SCAndy Turner13121712221215911290V
15144Waldringfield SCSimon Cox141319DNF196131413098
162121West Oxfordshire SCAnthony Rich16161171720211111998
172100Dabchicks SCToby Ramsay19201215131981311999
182027Weymouth SCNick Frampton1718DNF16142317OCS169137
192137Deben YCSimon Shaw2019DNCDNC202116DNC192160
202135South Staffs SCWilliam Bradburn2121DNFDNC211519DNC193161V M
212149Blithfield SCMartin BowerDNCDNC16141522DNCDNC195163
222104Covenham SCPaul Pike2624DNCDNC26242015199167M
232125South Staffs SCNeil Goodhead18171818DNCDNCDNCDNC199167
242148Etherow CPSCChris Perry12DNFDNCDNC1218DNCDNC202170V
252129Burghfield SCAlan Atkin2223DNCDNC2314DNCDNC210178M
262032DSC/WMYCTim Hurst23DNFDNCDNC272722DNF227195
27217South StaffsAdrian Walker2525DNCDNC2525DNFDNC228196J
282108South StaffsSam Thomson27DNFDNCDNC2426DNCDNC237205C
292144Bristol Crinthian YCRhys Lankester2422DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC238206V
302067South StaffsMatthew Bates2926DNCDNC2828DNFDNC239207C
312092South StaffsSam Blocksidge28DNFDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC252220J

OCS, DNC, DNF, DSQ etc: 32 Points