Windy day for Flying Fifteen Open

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A great video, courtesy of Andy Whitehead – 

The 2014 Flying Fifteen Season Finale took place on Saturday 18th October and what a finale it was! Competitors for the Draycote Sprint Open sponsored by Mercure Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa, were greeted with excellent sailing conditions especially for October! 18 degrees, sunshine and force 4 to 6 south westerly winds, marvellous! Competitors included 5 of the Top 10 from UK NationalsOne of the home teams was Iain Christie & Simon Roberts in GBR797, its first outing in winds over ten knots since its fantastic restoration by Iain.

With an undetermined number of races to be sailed and with each race to last around 30 minutes, Richard Pye (Principle Race Officer) and his team commenced the racing on schedule at Midday and set an excellent windward/leeward course, with a leeward gate. This led to some close and exciting finishes with places being won and lost on the line.

The first race saw a clean start and with the fleet keeping close together, Greg Wells & Richard Rigg popped out in front to lead round the first mark only then to forget about the hitch mark. By the time they realised and went back, they were at the back of the fleet. This left three boats to battle it out over the next three laps, Richard Lovering & Matt Alvarado, Ian Cadwallader & Nick Stone and the home team of Jeremy Davy & Martin Huett. After a close finish Richard & Matt crossed the line first followed by Jeremy & Martin from Ian & Nick. The rest of the fleet closely followed with the exception of Iain & Simon who got into trouble after jibing and thus filled the boat with water. As we all know classic boats are not good at removing water quickly. After much bailing, they finally got ashore. Unfortunately they missed the next race but did manage to start the third race only for the main halyard to break.

Race two quickly followed with Richard & Matt repeating the result of the first race this time followed home by Greg & Richard making amends for their seventh place in the first race, with Jeremy & Martin in third. A twenty minute on the water break was then taken to allow the competitors to recover mentally as well as physically! It felt more like five!

Race three saw the emergence of the home boats, and after the first beat three had broken away from the main fleet, Jeremy & Martin in front followed by Simon Patterson & Simon Thompson with Kevin Holliday & Richard Glen in third. And this is how they finished with both Simon & Simon and Kevin & Richard recording their best result of the event. Race 4was a repeat of Race 1 with Richard & Matt, Ian & Nick and Jeremy & Martin battling it out at the front, however the final result was completely different with Jeremy & Martin in first, Ian & Nick in second and Richard & Matt in third.

Race 5 and another clean start but for once Jeremy & Martin had a poor first beat which they never managed to recover from and recorded their worst finish so far being fourth. Meanwhile, Greg & Richard joined Richard & Matt and Ian & Nick up front but only could manage third with Ian & Nick taking their first victory. By now, tiredness was starting to set in both mentally and physically but luckily the wind was starting to ease.Only eight teams stayed out to compete in what they hoped would be the final race but it was the usual suspects up front which Jeremy & Martin recording their third win, followed by Richard & Matt and Ian & Nick. Once all the fleet had finished, the PRO decided there was plenty of time to hold one more race. So, after six thirty minute races, Jeremy & Martin led Richard & Matt by just one point. Not that anyone had any idea what the scores were by that stage!

Race 7 and another clean start (making six out of seven and even then only one team was over the line) which again saw the top three teams overall battling it out all the way up the first beat this timed joined by Richard Hope & Mike Stenson. Unfortunately Richard & Mike could not match the pace of the front three and at 5.00pm finished in fourth, one place ahead of Simon and Simon who ended up finishing fourth overall. Finishing just in front of Richard & Mike in third was Ian and Nick to take third overall. This left Jeremy & Martin and Richard & Matt to fight it out at the front with the winner takes all. In the end, after five hours of racing, Jeremy & Martin prevailed thus defending their title winning the Gifford Trophy, leaving Richard & Matt in second overall.   Despite recording two retirements and five did not starts, Iain & Simon won the Full Frontal Trophy and the FFalcon Cup, much to their surprise! So congratulations to Jeremy and Martin.

Our thanks go to Mike Stenson and Mercure Hotels for sponsoring the event and providing some of the best prizes on the circuit. Thanks also go to Richard Pye and the Miracle fleet for running this fantastic event. We look forward to hosting the event next year and welcoming more visitors to take part in this unique event on the open meeting calendar.

Richard Hope

Event Organiser