GP14 Open Meeting 2011 – report

The forecast F6 and heavy rain depleted the fleet for the 2011 Tollesbury GP14 Open, on Saturday 17 September. Visitors were just outnumbered eight to six by locals.

The challenging conditions – a blustery force 3 to 4 south westerly with occasional gusts at 5 – were evident when Parsons & Parsons managed to go over before the first race preparatory. They sorted themselves out and set off with the rest of the fleet for the first and most exciting race of two laps on a figure eight course. There was a good clean start and it quickly became clear that the visitors from Seahorse, BTYC and Papercourt were making the running. Mark Wolf and Alex Dotsch were the winners of the sprint to windward off the start line. Richard Lord and Norman Brown tucked in behind, having approached the mark on starboard and took right of way thorough the port tack throng. The leaders bore away on to the spinnaker reach to the second mark with a few lengths lead. Those who worked hardest gained most, and Richard and Norman did just that to win the overlap while taking their spinnaker down at the second mark. A bunch of boats followed, fighting to get their spinnakers set. Two boats lost that fight and capsized; Lesley Kaye and Riccardo Chacon were soon up and off, but a spinnaker that refused to come down forced Ceri Rogers and Ed Coates to accept assistance and then retire.

Wolf and Dotsch kept company with Lord and Brown, Ward and Whitehill just behind, though Lord pulled out a 100m lead going into the penultimate leg. On the final downwind leg a grin started on Wolf’s face as he watched Lord foul up the spinnaker hoist half way down. It spread to ear-splitting as the wind headed 30 degrees and spinnaker troubles persisted in front, allowing the chasing boats to catch up. Upon rounding the leeward mark, Lord fluffed his tack and allowed Wolf to go smoothly round and off in the freeing wind to win the race. Ward and Whitehill sailed consistently well to take third. This was despite teasing by Richard Lord over their ‘vintage’ boat, though he did acknowledge its immaculate preparation. Doyen of the fleet was in fact Chris Parsons’ No 1365 ‘Fancy Pants’, now superbly converted to Series 2 specification.

The breeze dropped dramatically for the second race, which started in similar fashion, though the three leading visitors had more company for most of the race. At the end of an exciting spinnaker reach, Mark Wolf had a gear problem which forced his retirement, so the results were Lord first, Ward second and local father and son Ron and Rob Laurie in third.

The final race saw early tussles in which Ward and Whitehill briefly led before Wolf and Dotsch took the lead. The third and final lap began just as the heavens opened and was sailed planing through rain so heavy it bounced off the sea, creating a white foam. Lesley Kaye excused her performance by saying that her contact lenses filled with water so she couldn’t see where she was going. Benjamin Kaplan reckoned crew Chris Lomax and he had to endure hail mixed in with the rain. Mark Wolf and Alex Dotsch held on to their lead throughout to win the race and the overall meeting.

James Ward thanked Tollesbury for proving the usual combination of generous hospitality and efficient race management, whilst Lesley Kaye noted that it is unusual to have a ladies’ prize, nevertheless it was very well received. Tollesbury’s Nick & Val Lynn were awarded a prize for fastest Series 1 and Ron and Rob Laurie were the highest Tollesbury boat overall.

Mark Wolf’s win confirmed him as the 2011 winner of the London and South East Travellers Trophy, with Lord and Ward close behind and set to fight it out for second at Frensham on 9th October.

Overall Results

Pos Boat Name Sail No Helm Crew Club R1 R2 R3 Pts
1st 14014 Mark Wolf Alex Dotsch BTYC Sailsport 1 (DNF) 1 2
2nd 14030 Richard Lord Norman Brown Seahorse SC -2 1 2 3
3rd Scooby Do 13316 James Ward Richard Whitehill Papercourt SC -3 2 3 5
4th 13402 Robert Laurie Ron Laurie Tollesbury SC -5 3 5 8
5th 13855 Ben Kaplan Chris Lomax Seahorse SC 4 -5 4 8
6th Little Tern 13958 George Rogers Jilly Wilkinson Tollesbury SC -7 4 6 10
7th Tir n’an Og 13553 Stephen Browne Richard Knight Leigh-on-Sea SC 6 -7 7 13
8th 13662 Lesley Kaye Riccardo Chacon BTYC Sailsport -11 6 8 14
9th Igglepiggle 13971 Phil Rayner Charlotte Todd Tollesbury SC 8 8 -10 16
10th 12126 Nick Lynn Val Lynn Tollesbury SC -9 9 9 18
11th Fancy Pants 1365 Chris Parsons Maureen Parsons Tollesbury SC 10 10 (DSQ) 20
12th Mr Happy 11947 Scott Edwards Jonathan Brooks Tollesbury SC 12 (DNF) DNS 27
13th 14058 Ceri Rogers Ed Coates Tollesbury SC (DNF) DNS DNS 30
13th 13703 Alan Hawtin Will Porter Tollesbury SC (DNF) DNS DNS 30

GP Open pictures

Click on the thumbnails below to view the pictures from the GP14 Open Meeting.