Vials and Turner Lead Nationals – Day One….!!

UKGlobal Flying Fifteen National Championship: day 1

All photos©David Harding/


With over 50 entries, a clutch of enthusiastic sponsors and all the top helms and crews signed up, this year’s Flying Fifteen national championship – a qualifier for next year’s worlds in Hyeres – was shaping up to be a good one long before the gun fired for the first start.

SailingScenes-20140705395Add the superb sailing waters of Poole Bay, the organisational experience of Parkstone Yacht Club and the support of an active home fleet, and that only left the question of the wind to provide the perfect mix.

SailingScenes-20140705412Thankfully the Weather Gods had been primed and, despite only providing only the odd glimmer of sun to brighten the first day’s racing, they dished up a brisk westerly that warmed up the hiking muscles and gave the fleet some lively planing on the reaching legs.

SailingScenes-20140705373Principal Race Officer Bryan Drake set a sausage-triangle-sausage course for both races. Straight out of the blocks at the committee boat end for the first start were reigning world champions Graham Vials and Chris Turner who, like most of the fast money, chose the right-hand side of the beat to avoid the worst of the west-going tide. Those who went offshore lived to regret it.

SailingScenes-20140705175Vials and Turner were never threatened, extending their lead to finish several hundred yards ahead of Greg Wells and Richard Rigg. Parkstone sailor and former Fireball world champion, Crispin Read-Wilson, crewed by Steve Brown, was a close third. As well as upsetting the established order at the sharp end of the fleet, Read-Wilson found his efforts doubly rewarded when, at the prize-giving for the day’s racing, he later became the proud owner of a solid wooden picnic table courtesy of the day’s sponsors, the Fencing Centre.

SailingScenes-20140705283Race 2 saw an over-eager fleet forcing a general recall. By now the tide had eased, as had the wind by a few knots, and more of the top boats could be found at the pin end. The right still paid, however, and pin-end-starters Vials and Turner were in a double-figure position at the windward mark. In a breeze that dropped away mid-race before picking back up again, they pulled through into the lead by the end of the next beat and stayed in front to take their second bullet of the day. Those whose muscles were beginning to ache were relieved to find the race finished at the third windward mark, saving the final run and a correspondingly longer slog back into the harbour.

SailingScenes-20140705285Improving on their fifth place from the first race were Richard Lovering and Matthew Alvarado, taking second just ahead of Alan Bax and Mark Darling. Chairman of the class association, Jeremy Davy, made it into fourth, with Ian Cadwallader fifth.

SailingScenes-20140705400Prizes presented after racing in the Fifteens’ own marquee had applications for keelboat racing as well as al fresco dining, thanks to contributions from Harken (official hardware sponsors), Hyde, P&B and Gul, while memories of any tactical errors were drowned with the help of a barrel of beer provided by Ringwood.

SailingScenes-20140705350With two races scheduled each day, the championship continues until Tuesday.
Top six positions after day 1
1 4004 Graham Vials/Chris Turner (1-1) 2pts
2 3955 Richard Lovering/Mathew Alvarado (5-2) 7pts
3 3988 Alan Bax/Mark Darling (8-3) 11pts
4 3780 Jeremy Davy/Martin Huett (9-4) 13pts
5 4014 Ian Cadwallader/Dave Sweet (4-9) 13pts
6 4030 Greg Wells/Richard Rigg (2-12) 14pts

All photos©David Harding/

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