22 Sep Quiberon Europeans
By Mark Tait
Competitors came from France, UK and Germany to the International 14 European Championships held at the Association Sportive et Nautique de Quiberon, on the southern end of the Quiberon peninsular.
Pre-regatta boat park attention focused on the new designs; this was the first time a number had been seen up close. The 2 sister ships home built to Tom Partington and George Nurton’s ‘Ting Tong 1’ design featured a dreadnought style bow and solid wings and George’s sporting the first single spreader rig seen on a 14 for some years.Glen Truswell’s immaculately presented Holom 1 showing new thinking underwater and Alistair Richardson’s boat having significantly remodeled underwater by Richard Woof.
Having been proceeded by two days of torrential rain, day 1’s racing was held in fantastic conditions, sunny and 15 knots, Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane again stamping their authority on the fleet with 3 straight wins, great speed and impeccable boat handling – showing practice really pays. Behind them the rest of the fleet were having some fantastic battles, Sam Pascoe and Alex Knight showed you don’t need to spend a fortune to get to the front, with a clear 2 place in Race 1. Race 2 saw Andy and Tom Partington’s lead stolen by Roger and Ben in the final stages. While in Race 3 Douglas Pattison and Mark Tait pulled through to take second, a promising sign for only the third race completed in their new boat (one of the ‘ting tongs’). Alistair Richardson and Dan Johnson, posted a consistent day of three third places, leaving them clearly second overnight.
Day 2, same conditions as day one,two races, firstly a conventional windward leeward course, again won by Roger and Ben and again with a different pursuer. This time Glen Truswell and Chris Blackburn leaded the fight. The second race or more correctly ‘Le Raid’ as it was referred to, used some of the local maritime furniture to add some variety to proceedings. An extended leeward leg to a cardinal buoy 4 miles downwind followed the usual windward leg to an inflatable. Again Roger and Ben lead but this time followed by the German team of Oli Voss and Jens Holscher. From here, the race turned somewhat processional as the wind swung, making the remaining 3 legs into 6 miles of fetching and 2 sail reaches. Biggest gains of the day overall were Tom Heywood and Ed Clay who posted a pair of thirds.
Fortunately the wind for Day 3 the wind had dropped otherwise the effects of the fantastic wine tasting/cheese, sausage and ham eating event may have been noticed to a greater extent. 3 races were sailed. Race 1 saw the only upset of the day with Douglas and Mark passing Roger and Ben on the final lap having found a significant height advantage. Normal service resumed for the final two races of the day; bullets for Roger and Ben. Doug and Mark achieving consistency to score a pair of second places.
A fickle thermal finally materialized at 2:30 for the last day of racing allowing one race to be held, and crews to reacquaint themselves with their foredecks. Star of the day were Pom Green and George Nurton, who having spend the first 2 race days finishing significant components of their boat, and having sailed only one race before shot out of the blocks (well relatively speaking given the wind) to lead for the majority of the race, only to be taken on the last run as the wind filled in behind.
Prizegiving was followed by a fantastic dinner; a local seafood dish and more wine. The crews union took advantage of local heritage and punished any helm considered to have digressed during the event, with support from Getafix the druid who administered magic potion and from Obelix who ensured the rules were followed.
Overall Roger and Ben won with a perfect score line, Douglas and Mark came away very pleased with their project finishing it’s first regatta in second, Tom Heywood and Ed Clay in third, In fourth with mixed emotion Andy and Tom Partington, Tom pleased with his new design’s performance and wanting to build one but not happy to have been beaten by it. Glen and Chris in Fifth.