Tidal Nationals - Poole

To many this championship was somewhat special in that the ever popular Megan Pascoe, was guaranteed not to win due to her being in transit from Holland to Poole on the first day of racing. This would leave the field wide open as only one discard was allowed during the eight race series meaning she would have to count a DNC.

Potential candidates could have been any of the remaining 11 entries but was to be reduced down to five potential candidates all of very equal speed. Namely, Steve Bullmore (past Nat Champion), Martin Wittingham-Jones, Iain Stowe (past championship winner), Bruce Hill or Simon Hill. All three days had very early starts due to the low tides at mid day and the winds were generally powerful leading to some spectacular sailing with choppy seas and everyone requiring good and effective pumps.

Race one was very breezy led by Bruce round the first mark but immediately followed by both Simon and Iain. With all three not being able to spot where the next mark was confusion quickly followed and Simon, being the most leeward gained the advantage of inside berth at the leeward mark (whilst both Iain and Bruce appeared happy for him to guide). Another choppy and quick lap followed and we appeared to finish very much earlier than anyone expected surprising all concerned and leaving Simon with his first bullet after just three laps. By the next race we all kept our eye on the race officer who lengthened the race length as we were going faster than anticipated in the breeze. This race again was led by Bruce (now knowing where to go) and his lead extended throughout the race followed by Martin Wittingham-Jones and Steve in third. Both Iain and Simon weren’t so well placed at around 5th and 6th but Iain decided to divert at the leeward mark (coming off the beat) towards the finish line thinking we may have already done our four laps. Meanwhile Bruce was enjoying the conditions so much that both he and the next five boats decided to sail on. Iain was right and was awarded first position and Simon quickly noticed to finish up second leaving the boats ahead both shocked and surprised at the again seemingly short race!

The race officer was then concerned about the depth for all classes postponing race three to the following day.

Another early start on day two saw similar sized waves but slightly less breeze leading to ideal conditions for our anticipated four back to back races. Also, the return of Megan after driving throughout the night from Holland. The racing again was extremely close but as expected Megan’s skills proved the better of the fleet in all four races followed mostly by Simon, who had the bit between his teeth, realising the title could be his, tussling with both Bruce, Steve and Iain in all the races.

The final day had Simon leading on points but the title was still just within Bruce’s grasp with both still ahead of Megan on points. The weather had a complete turnaround to a light and shifty easterly. This didn’t suit Bruce at all and despite sailing a good first beat and rounding second to Megan in race seven, a bad choice of tactics and poor light weather speed resulted in two very poor results and an overall fourth place. Megan deservedly won both races finishing overall second but Simon’s consistency and good performance with two fourths, just behind Iain and Steve was enough for the overall title proving his speed in both light and heavy airs on all three days and greeting us with a new (and surprised) National Champion for our fleet in 2014. Much respect and congratulations to Simon for a superbly sailed championship and yet another award for Frensham’s fleet . He is certainly no more a mid fleet sailor and we’ll no doubt never be able to forget it. Well done Simon!