Nationals Report!- 49er and FX Nationals 2021

Nationals Report!- 49er and FX Nationals 2021
 
Bonfire weekend saw a select group of 49er and fx teams descend on their spiritual home of Portland harbour for the 2021 National titles. Hosted by the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Center as part of the RYA National Ranking series. Top of the bill was Olympic Gold medalist Dylan Fletcher debuting in his new pairing with Rhos Hawes. However a number of other new pairings were also on the entry list with points to prove.
The forecast has been marginal all week with the possibility of no racing on the Saturday. However some confident and prompt race management went for it early and quickly got the championship under way.
Straight off the blocks was not the pre race favorites, but another new team in the form of Nick Robbins and Dan Budden taking the first two races, correctly reading the oscillations as a large left shift wound back to the right. First blood to the young guns. Fletcher is not one to go down without a fight following up a brace of 2nds to take the final windy race.
On the FX course a battle started between a number of stand in male helms, 49er squad member James Grummet with Anna Carpenter took race one from class old hand Simon Hiscocks and 2021 Olympian Sas Tidey. Fortune was not with the Grummet and Carpenter pairing who made a magnificent port tack flyer with 25 plus knots over the deck just as the jib halyard parted company from the top of the jib. This left Sas and Simon with a win, closely followed by Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton diplaying some very solid handling in the conditions.
Sunday morning dawned characteristically misty with much lighter pressure from the high ground to the North of the harbour. A classic Portland race course it wasn't to be. But a tough day for the crews with 5 races on the schedule.
After a match race like battle up the first beat of the 2nd race, the two top teams were right in the mix and fighting to make places back when at the gybe point Dylan & Rhos had yet another breakage and were forced to retire. Nick & Dan jumped on the opportunity to take back the lead and did so to rack up another first. This was the real turning point of the regatta as with only one discard it meant that Nick & Dan now had a comfortable lead as long as nothing went wrong in the next few races. However, with 3 more races scheduled, anything could happen.
Multiple crew changes on the FX fleet bought some more boats to the start line, Grummet had jumped ship and position to do the front end with ex 470 sailor Aaron Holman over on the 49er course whilst Freya Black took over the reins on Sas Tideys boat leaving Hiscocks to take Grummets place on the Carpenter boat.
It was the Brickwood and Orton team who backed up their solid boat handling with speed and smart racing to take the first two races. Hiscocks and Carpenter then got the bit between there teeth to take the remaining wins, Black and Tidey as well as Bella Fellows and ex Nacra 17 legend Niki Boniface kept the pressure on the front runners. Some confusion then followed with crew swaps and race scores with some delay to the results being finalised. In the end Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton took the womans title with ‘ team Carpenter’ on equal points but with more race wins to take the overall. Team Tidey took third.
Back on the 49er course saw a close battle in race four between the two top boats but with a penalty turn awarded to Nick & Dan up the final beat after contact of tillers extensions during a close duck, the race finished Dylan & Rhos 1st and Nick & Dan, a close second.
By race 5 (the last race of the weekend), the regatta was already over and Nick & Dan had taken victory due to the discard but the race was still on to see who could finish the day off with a bullet. The wind was now up and a real battle between the two boats was playing out. The last windward mark saw both boats round nose to stern in big breeze with Nick & Dan in 2nd gybe setting and Dylan & Rhos holding straight in 1st. Unfortunately, we never got to see how this played out as it was now time for Nick & Dan to have boat issues and a knotted kite halyard meant the battle was over with them having to sail half the run with no kite. Dylan took the race win securing 2nd overall and Nick & Dan came in 3rd and discarded this result to take the overall weekend victory.
A fantastic championship, very much a last minute affair, and the class will hope to run a standalone event next season. To follow the class activity on the UK follow their facebook page or website
 
Video report by the enigmatic Jon Emmett
Results
 
Class Facebook Page ;
 
Photo coutesy of Jonny Mcgovern
     
     
Posted: 20:59:25 - 15/11/2021

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