K6 2013 Nationals, Parkstone YC, Poole Harbour

General consensus was that the 2013 K6 Nationals hosted by Parkstone Yacht Club was one of the best - great host club, inch perfect race management, all the conditions you could ask for, and some of the tightest racing yet with the winning margin only one point.

Thursday saw bright sunshine, a light northwesterly breeze and crews refreshing their navigation skills as they threaded their way out through the narrow channels into the bay. Several discovered that the sand is as hard as Race Officer Chris Bower had promised!

Race one saw team Kirkby/Gifford/Barker first round the windward mark and lead down the run, but then blow it by choosing the wrong leeward gate buoy. Current National Champions Hitchcock/Nicholson capitalised on the mistake and took the first race with dad and son team Crispin right on their heels. Were Hitchcock/Nicholson going to have it all their own way?

Current European Champions Smithwhite/Wedge/Aydeniz provided the answer by winning the second race by a couple of boat lengths from Kirkby/Gifford/Barker who again had lead to the windward mark managing to hold the lead until the final run, with Hitchcock/Nicholson just behind.

Entertainment on the first night was care of the RNLI training centre who put on a tour and dinner for the fleet - good to make a few friends here if so many boats were going to continue to try and find the sand banks! The highlight was having a go on the driving simulator rescuing casualties from a tanker fire in a force 9 off Dover...it felt unbelievably real, with your eyes telling the brain that everything was moving and forcing you to hold on ...despite the simulator itself being totally static. Try it to believe it!

Friday arrived with similar breeze but heavy rain as the crews rigged. With a trip to the cinema looking preferable, fortunately the clouds parked themselves over Bournemouth leaving the bay clear and dry. Race one saw Elms/Smith in classic form up at the front, match racing 2 boats past the lay line for the leeward mark forcing them to beat back, and then managing to lasso the mark with their kite sheet and park-up. Always the crowd pleasers! Hitchcock/Nicholson took that race with team Crispin close behind again. Chris Bower had commented how sharp the starting was, and the general recall in the second race suggested the fleet was starting to get a little too sharp. After the start, a reasonable sized shift in the second race gave those on the left hand side of the beat the advantage and team Crispin with their black kite lead pretty much from start to finish with Hitchcock/Nicholson behind. Team Davison x2/Yonge we now in their stride and took third, with the 4-6 placed boats overlapped on the finish line - racing as it should be. Race 3 was less shifty and more a question of trying to spot where the best extra pressure was with Hitchcock/Nicholson being the best detectives closely followed by Smithwhite/Wedge/Aydeniz. Leading the fleet on the fetch home, Fulcher/Polston/Crisp very magnanimously showed the rest of the fleet just where the sandbank was by parking-up nice and firmly on it. That's the decent character of the fleet...

A decision was made to bring one of Sunday's races forward to the Saturday given a rather threatening force 7 forecast for Sunday afternoon. Given the quality of the conditions on Saturday, no-one complained about having 4 races. This was team Crispin's day with them coming ashore with two bullets and two thirds. Both Hitchcock/Nicholson and Smithwhite/Wedge/Aydeniz had a good day with a win a piece, but also tasted life mid-fleet in race 3 after loosing out on a big shift.

The fleet went afloat early on Sunday to get the last and final race in before the breeze got up too much. All eyes were on team Crispin who needed to beat Hitchcock/Nicholson to claim the championship. The race started in 20knots with gusts of just under 30 so there were plenty of grins with the boats singing at 15+ knots downwind. Neil Davidson missed the toe straps and went for a swim towed by the main sheet at the leeward mark, and Gary Phare and Neil Harris wiped out spectacularly 10 metres short of the finish line as they heated the boat up for the photographer! Back to the championship battle, Hitchcock/Nicholson had to match raced team Crispin to ensure victory. The two swapped positions several times but Hitchcock/Nicholson just managed to keep their noses ahead and retain the Nationals title ...but it wasn't easy ...as David said as they collected the trophy "this has been some of the toughest but best racing we've had in a few years".

1st - David Hitchcock / Ian Nicholson - HISC
2nd - Lawrence Crispin / Luka Crispin - Stone SC
3rd - David Smithwhite / Martin Wedge / Riki Aydeniz - HISC
4th - Peter Kirkby / Fran Gifford / Richard Barker - Queen Mary SC
5th - Neil Fulcher / James Polston / Michaela Crisp - Stone SC
6th - Ian Robson / Sandy Johnson / John Burton - Aldeburgh YC

Sailed: 10, Discards: 2, To count: 8, Entries: 17, Scoring system: K6 National Championship

Rank Tally Sail No Helm Crew Club Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Race 8 Race 9 Race 10 Total Nett
1st 6 155 David Hitchcock Ian Nicholson Hayling Island SC 1.0 (3.0) 1.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 (7.0) 1.0 3.0 24.0 14.0
2nd 11 159 Lawrence Crispin Luka Crispin Stone SC 2.0 (4.0) 2.0 1.0 (3.0) 3.0 1.0 1.0 3.0 2.0 22.0 15.0
3rd 3 208 Dave Smithwhite Martin Wedge/Riki Aydeniz Hayling Island SC 3.0 1.0 (5.0) 5.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 (8.0) 2.0 1.0 30.0 17.0
4th 2 216 Peter Kirby Richard Barker/Fran Gifford Queen Mary SC (7.0) 2.0 (11.0) 6.0 5.0 4.0 5.0 3.0 5.0 4.0 52.0 34.0
5th 10 222 Neil Fulcher James Polston/Michaela Crisp Stone SC 6.0 5.0 4.0 (8.0) 4.0 6.0 4.0 4.0 (7.0) 7.0 55.0 40.0
6th 15 162 Ian Robson Sandy Johnson/John Burton Aldeburgh YC 8.0 (9.0) 3.0 4.0 (18.0 DNF) 5.0 7.0 2.0 8.0 5.0 69.0 42.0
7th 5 214 Neil Davison Andrew Yonge/James Wood Davison Itchenor SC (9.0) 6.0 7.0 3.0 6.0 8.0 6.0 5.0 6.0 (9.0) 65.0 47.0
8th 4 156 Jonathan Calascione Pyers Tucker/David Mossman Itchenor SC (12.0) (15.0) 6.0 10.0 7.0 7.0 11.0 6.0 4.0 6.0 84.0 57.0
9th 12 200 Gary Phare Neil Harris Royal Torbay SC 5.0 8.0 10.0 9.0 8.0 (13.0) 9.0 11.0 9.0 (12.0) 94.0 69.0
10th 13 166 Fraser Elms Georgina Smith Hayling Island SC 4.0 7.0 9.0 7.0 12.0 9.0 12.0 (14.0) 10.0 (13.0) 97.0 70.0
11th 8 209 Chris Hyde Martin Fidgeon Carsington SC 10.0 10.0 8.0 (13.0) 10.0 12.0 8.0 (15.0) 11.0 10.0 107.0 79.0
12th 17 174 Paul Young James Nicholson   (17.0) 11.0 14.0 12.0 9.0 10.0 14.0 10.0 13.0 (18.0 DNC) 128.0 93.0
13th 1 213 Nick Jones Mike Butler/Dave Peel Aldeburgh YC 15.0 12.0 (16.0) 14.0 11.0 15.0 (16.0) 9.0 15.0 8.0 131.0 99.0
14th 14 115 Michael Stone Daniel Stone Stone SC 11.0 13.0 13.0 11.0 13.0 (14.0) (15.0) 13.0 14.0 11.0 128.0 99.0
15th 9 137 David Wood Fran Wood/Debs Wolton Stone SC 13.0 (16.0) 12.0 16.0 15.0 11.0 10.0 12.0 12.0 (18.0 DNF) 135.0 101.0
16th 16 119 Terry Wilkinson Ron Elliot Queen Mary SC 14.0 17.0 15.0 15.0 16.0 17.0 13.0 (18.0 DNF) (18.0 DNS) 18.0 DNF 161.0 125.0
17th 7 122 John Tabor Chris Burrows Oxford SC 16.0 14.0 (17.0) 17.0 14.0 16.0 17.0 16.0 16.0 (18.0 DNC) 161.0 126.0


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