Brixham – July 9/10 2011
The association accepted the offer of a new venue for this year’s Southerns in Torbay courtesy of the growing fleet of Sonatas sailing out of Brixham Yacht Club. The club’s race management team led by NRO Robin Meads and his team of 4 boats, ran a very slick 8 race series over the 2 days of the event in excellent sailing conditions with winds varying from a gusty F4/5 on the Saturday down to very light airs on Sunday morning, which fortunately built into a nice F3 for the last couple of races. Most boats went out 4 up, and those choosing the 3 crew option struggled a little on Saturday, but had the advantage on Sunday morning.
Eight of the nine local boats entered together with 3 visitors who trailed down from Abersoch, West Mersea and Poole. Brixham harbourmaster laid on his staff to crane boats directly off their trailers right into the centre of the old harbour and just around the corner from the club visitor pontoons where they were based for the weekend with free moorings.
Right from the first race the visitors “A Sharp Exit” with Association Secretary Catherine and her husband Martin Hartley together with “Frankie the Rhino” from Poole skippered by Owain Peters, started to dominate. Association chairman Chris Bentley in “BFG” was not far behind either. Local young skipper Dan Pedrick in his newly refurbished boat “Dog Tired” was keeping these fast visitors honest and steadily improved to win his first at race 4. Five boats managed a first place which demonstrated how close the racing was. Starts were close and virtually all on starboard due to little or no bias set on the very accurate start lines. Most of the courses were windward/leeward with one Olympic thrown in on the Saturday. The courses laid gave very fair racing, with the fleet almost equally split left and right on most races. Tidal effect in the centre of Torbay where the courses were laid , was slight, and with a predominately South Westerly breeze, shifts caused by local geography were not significant, so local knowledge did not give much advantage.
The final results revealed “A Sharp Exit” just one point ahead of local boat “Dog Tired” to win the championships with the former Sonata Nationals champion “Frankie the Rhino” in 3rd place. Sailing finished early on Sunday to allow sufficient rise of tide to get the visitors craned out, followed by a BBQ and prize giving in BYC, at which every entrant won a prize courtesy of local sponsorship from Atlantic Spars, who also put a crew together and competed with a borrowed boat, rather a change from their normal Ker 31!
The Association were very complimentary about the way Brixham Yacht Club and its staff responded to running this event both on and off the water, and stated that they would look very favourably on a proposal to run the National Championships here in 2014. To access the pictures of last weekends event, use the following link http://www.sonataworldseries.org/
Dave Woolcock (G-String)