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The French National Championships were held over the weekend 18-20th May from the Dinard Yacht Club. Twenty four boats competed in the nine race series which included five British teams (from Parkstone; Hayling; Burton and Grafham) and four from Belgium.
On Saturday, three windward/leeward races were completed in warm, sunny conditions just North of St Malo in 8-10 knots. There were three different race winners: Chris Waples; Bertrand Semaille; and David Tabb. After returning to shore the fleet was welcomed by Patrick Constant and the Yacht Club to a drinks party.
Sunday arrived with the promise of a force 4 all day from the North ensuring a good days racing ahead. Four races were completed on the second course to the West of Dinard with good testing triangle/’banana’ courses, with a short break for lunch. Again there were three different winners proving how close the racing was, with Graham Scroggie taking the fourth race of the series, Tabb the fifth, and Waples the sixth and seventh. That evening we were hosted to dinner at the yacht club, exemplifying the exquisite hospitality displayed by the French throughout the weekend.
Monday dawned with the prospect of two races, before we had to be craned out. There were only two points separating the top two positions, and with a solid 20 knots it was always going to be close. The Flying 15 was thriving in ideal conditions, with big waves and great sea sailing. Race 8 could not have been any closer at the finish between Tabb and Waples, with neither knowing the result. So this took it down to the deciding race of the series and a nail biting finish.
After the nine races, with two discards, Chris and Tom Waples took the Championship, with David Tabb and Pete Allam in second, and Fabien Constant and Arnaud Biet the top French boat in third. Another father and son duo Graham and Ben Scroggie also had a strong regatta to finish fourth, ahead of Nick Heath and Pip Noon. It was a great performance by the British teams, with strong competition from the French and Belgians and close racing throughout the fleet.
We must say thanks to the Dinard Yacht Club and Patrick Constant the French F/F President for organising this excellent Championships and last but not least the Principle Race Officer and his team for setting excellent courses across the series. It was this combination of good racing and great hospitality which really made it a successful weekend for all the competitors.
It was really easy to get across to Dinard on the ferry, and on arrival there was plenty of space on the harbour wall to rig the boats. Launching too was equally as simple, with the boats lowered down on the club’s electric crane. During the event the boats were left on moorings in the sheltered harbour with extremely efficient ribs to shuttle the competitors before and after racing.
And with no entry fee for foreign teams it is definitely an event to consider for next year!
PS We are anticipating to have between 5 and 7 French boats coming to the Nationals at Weymouth in July.