Different class, change of venue but the same result… Brad Gibson led the fleet home again.
This two day event is different to many with the 1st day being dedicated to Match Racing followed by a day of Fleet Racing for the 16 skippers.
Its called the Race of Champions and this year it certainly lived up to its name; current IOM and RM World Champions, IOM European Champion and UK National IOM champions were all present, not to mention the multiple World, European and National Champions that made up the fleet.
All raced each other on Saturday 18th on the Gautby Road lake of Birkenhead MY&PBC, and although the breeze was not perfect coming from the SE it mixed well with the confined dimensions of the lake to produce some close and exciting “one on one” racing, something that had the added spice of all 8 pairs being on the water at the same time, many of the races were settled on the final tack and no more than the battle between Terry “The Fonz” King and Brad Gibson, where “The Fonz” had it all the way to the final few yards before the “Winning Machine” Gibson ground out the result, even those racing had one eye on this one!
Just before the finishing time Match Race PRO Rob Mac was able to start the fleet racing with two close races completed before the skippers debriefed and had a pleasant and restrained social evening in New Brighton.
On Sunday 19th the wind had switched by 90 deg and was the forecast NE, bringing fresh challenges as the breeze came across the lake (and through/over the trees). Sunday PRO Bill Culshaw did his best to keep things rolling and by the close of play 17 races had been completed. In line with the quality fleet the racing was tough but fair and many times the lead changed in the light conditions, some resorted to swearing at their boat (sorry guys) but concentration and sailing skills were the order of the day.
At the end of the weekend, those who had sailed the best filled the top places with those further down cursing their luck or promising to try harder next time, but even those who had struggled agreed that the weekend had been a great success, thanks to all the competitors who traveled from far and wide for this event.
Thanks to Bill, Rob Mac, Victoria Gibson, Dave Williams, Bernie McNulty and Jack for giving their time for others, and finally and most importantly to Joyce Roberts for keeping the skippers fed and watered on both days.
The full results can be downloaded below but the final positions were:
Note: Steve Taylor was sailing a beautifully home built wooden Corbie, not Britpop as recorded above.
Match Racing HERE
Fleet Racing HERE
Winner collecting their prizes, images by Terry King