Mar 06 2008

2008 Sandhopper Nationals

Published by at 14:58 under Sandhopper Nationals

26 Sandhoppers made the trip to Burnham on Crouch for the Lonton & Gray Sandhopper National Championships held over the weekend of 31 May and 1 June, the majority coming through the creeks from Thorpe Bay. The event was hosted by the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club and sponsored by Lonton & Gray Sailmakers.

Saturday dawned with no wind and a long wait ensued before the Race Officer managed to get a race underway in very light airs. The course was set across the Crouch at the mouth of the Roach testing the ability of the crews to keep their boats moving and their knowledge of this challenging river. Sand Star, helmed by Peter Thompson and crewed by Steve Hopper took the honours, followed by Sandstorm (Chris Clarke and Nic Barnes) and Zeus (Mark Dell and Richard Barnes) all three boats from Thorpe Bay Yacht Club. A second race was started, but after a long period kedging the tide while we waited for wind, the race and the day’s sailing were abandoned to the relief of the fleet. A couple of boats from Thorpe Bay realised that the Crouch is deeper than the Thames estuary at Southend and resolved to carry longer anchor warps in future.

Sunday brought similar conditions and a number of hangovers after an excellent Championship Dinner at the host Club on Saturday night, when with the help of Lonton & Gray and the local yard, Rice & Cole, the Class raised over £1,300 for the Farleigh Hospice. The first race gave Phil Crawford and Margaret Kennedy in Satisfaction (TBYC) the chance to show their skill in these conditions and they sailed away to take line honours, followed by Sand Star and Apollo (Martyn Eyre and Paul Spratt), also from Thorpe Bay. A further 10 boats managed to creep over the finishing line before the wind failed completely and the rest of the fleet kedged again for over an hour (one hanging off the Branklet buoy) before sufficient wind returned to allow them to finish. The third and final race provided a little more wind and the fleet completed the set course before the Race Officer gave up the struggle and sent everyone home. Again, Satisfaction took first place, with Sand Star second and True Blue (Michael and Bill Wright) from Maylandsea Bay Sailing Club, third.

With the minimum number of races sailed and no discard, Peter Thompson and Steve Hopper in Sand Star became National Champions in their new boat, with Phil Crawford and Margaret Kennedy second and the defending champions, Chris Clarke and Nic Barnes in Sandstorm third.

Despite the conditions, the competition had been intense and the organisation and hospitality excellent. Our thanks go to the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.

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