Shearwater Catamaran 2009 Results
Shearwater National Championships at Stone Sailing Club
by Derek Williams 17-21 August 2009
This year the Shearwater Nationals were held on the Blackwater Estuary deep in the heart of Essex at Stone Sailing Club. This club is a favourite venue for the Shearwater fleet. The combination of a friendly atmosphere coupled with excellent showers and catering facilities topped of by a very proficient race committee make this an ideal venue.
As usual the Shearwater Nationals was to be held over 5 days with 8 races sailed and 6 to count. Also included in the schedule is a practice race, for those last minute adjustments and a hotly contested crew’s race.
The program for the week was to race in the mornings, come in for lunch and race again in the afternoons. This format lends itself to a relaxed atmosphere in and around the club providing the perfect backdrop for all the family and friends that like to join us for our Nationals week. Entertainment is provided in the evenings making it fun for competitors as well as the non sailing members of our fleet who are such an important part of the Shearwater family.
The racing started at 11 am on a warm, sunny Monday morning with the practice race being held in a force 1 – 2. Tradition has it that if you win the practice race you will lose the Nationals and unfortunately this, once again proved correct.
The weather stayed consistent for the next 2 days, warm, sunny force 1 - 2 from the South West which led to very frustrating shifty conditions making the strong current of the Blackwater an important element to consider.
As with most fleets there are those that prefer the light winds with others preferring the stronger stuff. Fortunately over the 5 days we had a bit of everything, this is another one of the reasons we prefer a week long Nationals.
Wednesday brought us a nice force 3 southerly which blew the creases out of our spinnakers and the cobwebs from our harnesses. The two races were exciting to sail in and close fought with only 6 minutes from first to last boat.
Thursday the wind came from WSW force 5 – 6 with gusts up to 7 and more creating a lot of work for the support boats and problems throughout the fleet compounded by a cruiser race from another club whose course ran right through ours! This and the fact that the wind seemed to be building forced the race officer to postpone the afternoons session.
That meant that we had to get two in on Friday back to back to give us time to prepare for the all important prize giving dinner. The wind was a strong force 4 – 5 gusting 6 providing a challenging finale to a very enjoyable week.
The racing was close throughout the week with 6 different winners for the 8 individual races. This was helped by the extremes of weather but in turn provided a very exciting competition which was decided on the final race.
1st - 1990 - BEN FARNBOROUG & HALEX FLAY
2nd - 2006 - ALAN HOWLAND & JENNY ALLEN
3rd - 2005 - DION ALLEN & SARAH CONNELLY
4th - 2007 - NIGEL STUART & SARAH STUART
5th - 2004 - DEREK WILLIAMS & GRACE WILLIAMS
6th - 2003 - JAMES FARNBOROUGH & JENNY HART
7th - 1999 - CLAIRE ROBINSON & SHAUN ALLEN
8th -1996 - ROGER CROOKS & GEORGIA STONE
9th - 1976 - DANIEL STONE & WILL AYRE
10th - 2008 - CATHERINE HOWLAND & DARREN TULLEY
11th - 1988 - ALEX WILCOX & GREG WILCOX
12th - 2001 - JOHN HILL & CLIFFORD HILL
13th - 2000 - BARRY DUCK & TAYLA PLAYFORD
14th - 1985 - JUDY ROSS & GARY HILL
15th - 1989 - CHRIS JONES & VANESSA JONES