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29er Grand Prix at Grafham: the finale to the 2015 Series!

Francesca Grade
29/6/2015

The Harken 29er Grand Prix has been in full swing this year with many races at a range of exciting clubs throughout the UK. July saw the finale in the 2015 series with highs, lows and the lucky few to take away the overall Harken prizes! Thanks to Francesca Grade for this final report on all the action from Grafham.

Date: 11th - 12th July 2015

Report

On the 11thJuly, 51 boats, from all over the UK arrived at Grafham water for the final Harken Grand Prix of the 2015 Series. The first event since many competitors had finished exams and a great warm up for the summer events.

The first day brought blue skies and sunshine, with some typical shifty conditions and varying wind speeds. The race officer got in race after race as the wind shifted around us. The sun was shining all day making the racing even more intense as the heat increased. This meant there was plenty of close tactical sailing with everyone aiming to find that little edge over the fellow competitors maximising every possible gust, and trying to get on the right side of the shift.

Race 1 was won by Dan Venables and Paddy Keech; race 2 was won by our Irish friends, brothers Harry and Johnny Durcan; race 3 was a win for Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling, Race 4 was won by Dan and Paddy and with the wind picking up to 14-15 knots, James Grummett and Dan Budden seized the opportunity to win the last race of the day. The results sheet at the end of day 1 was showing a lot of highs and lows. However, with the most consistent boat being Dan and Paddy with top five results, meant they lead going into day 2. The race officer did a great job of getting the planned five completed.

The second day dawned with not a lot of wind. However the D flag was raised and boats headed out to the north shore to find the course laid and a nice steady 12-16 knts. The first two races were sailed in these conditions Crispin and Tom had a great win in race 1. Mimi El -Khazindar and Emma Loveridge had a great day with a set of outstanding results including winning race 2. This meant they were moving very quickly up the leaderboard. Race 3 saw the breeze pick up with some gusts touching 20+ knots and James and Dan won this race. 

So it was down to the final race of the day to find out who would win the event and who would win the overall series, with the top four boats within four points of each other.

Race 9 got underway with breeze continuing to hold along with the Grafham chop. However with James and Dan leading on the final up wind, the race was abandoned due to a huge right shift making the course a reach race between the windward and leeward marks.

Everyone was brought back to the start line after some time waiting around and getting very wet in the subsequent squally rainstorm and wind shifts. The wind settled back down and the sun reappeared. The new course was laid and the wind had dropped back down to 8-10 knots. The final race got underway and was closely fought up the first beat, with James Hammett and John Mather taking the early lead and held the lead to the finish. Over the next 2 laps the fleet started to spread out. Dan and Paddy did just enough to beat Emma and Mimi's consistent day, meaning they took the event win by one point.

It was great to see so many new boats and sailors to the class, a great weekend completing a total of nine races and getting lots of time on the water.

The final results were 1st Dan Venables and Paddy Keech, 2nd Overall & 1st Ladies Mimi El-Khazindar and Emma Loveridge, 3rd James Grummett and Dan Budden.

Congratlations to 2nd ladies Hannah Bristow and Emily Covell and 3rd Ladies Courtney Bilbrough and Harriet Ward. 1st juniors went to the Irish Brothers Harry and Johnny Durcan.

 

 

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