Great Britain, Craftinsure British National Championships 2007
Felpham Sailing Club, 24-26 August
In winning the Craftinsure OK Dinghy National Championships at Felpham Sailing Club, the recently crowned world champion Nick Craig took his seventh British National title and his fourth major title so far this year. With an awesome display of consistency and concentration in the light and shifty conditions, he won each and every race in the 43 boat fleet. Sometimes he won by a considerable distance and sometimes by as little as a few seconds, but it was never really in doubt where the title would be heading this year,
Only six of the eight scheduled races were sailed as the wind on Sunday failed to cooperate. The final race on Sunday morning was sailed in conditions where a sense of humour was an essential tool with massive place changes across the fleet, as the offshore breeze fought with a slowly building sea breeze. However Craig pulled back from an unusual third place to overhaul the race leader and second overall Neil Goodhead and take the title.
For some the weekend started on Thursday with a useful training day from RYA coach David Mellor, in what turned out to be the best conditions of the event. Racing for real started on Friday afternoon with two races sailed in a light and shifty offshore breeze. Craig let his intentions be known with an emphatic victory, some way ahead of the pack. Goodhead posted a second while Alex Scoles pinched third on the line at the offwind finish from defending champion Robert Deaves and Pete Turner; all three boats were overlapped when crossing the line.
Terry Curtis initially led race two in slightly more wind, but after crossing the finish line in third, discovered he was black flagged at the start. Robert Deaves finished second and a surprised Tony Thresher was bumped up to third. Craig, of course won.
The weather on Saturday didn't look too promising with a very weak onshore wind starting to build early on the day. Race three was one of the closest of the weekend with lightweight sailor Al Fry leading round the top mark in very light conditions. Dan Ager briefly took the lead at the gybe mark and on the run, six boats were neck and neck beside each other. Alex Scoles found a bit more pressure to lead up the final beat, but Craig piled on the pressure and took the lead on the final tack to the finish line. Scoles finished a few second behind with Deaves in third.
Curtis was at the front again in race four building a useful lead on Craig, but it wasn't to last. Craig finally found second gear and overhauled Curtis on the final beat. A rejuvenated class secretary, Andy Turner in his new Idol Composites boat finished third. The final race of the day was another victory for Craig, leading from start to finish with a long procession behind him. Turner again found excellent speed to place second while Ian Harris sailed well to place third.
So came the final day. The wind looked decidedly dicey before the start and just got worse. Goodhead started near the pin and crossed the fleet on the first major shift to take a considerable lead. However Craig had him in his sights and over the next hour overtook him and maintained a small lead. With the wind shifting in direction by 60 degrees and in pressure by 10 knots, the race was not for the faint hearted. The final beat was a near drift and Craig just managed to maintain his lead with Goodhead second while Thresher took four places on the final beat to place third.
Then the wind died completely and everyone thought it was time to go home. However the race officer persisted and was rewarded by a light sea breeze at about 14.00. By the time he had set a course and started the Laser 2 fleet, which were sharing the event, it was 14.30. Even though the time limit for the day was 15.00, the ever keen OK fleet kept pushing the start and after two general recalls and an abandoned start because the Laser 2 fleet were rounding the leeward mark in front of the start line, the time limit expired and the race officer sent the fleet home.
So Nick Craig adds the national title to the OK Dinghy world title he won in Poland a month ago. Neil Goodhead posted his best ever result as runner up while last year's champion Robert Deaves had to settle for third. The turnout of 43 included an increasing number of juniors who were all encouraged to sail this year and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Jake Cracknell from Ardleigh took the top junior prize from Ed Dutton and Alex Hobern. As usual Felphan Sailing Club excelled in the hospitality department, and with extensive prizes from Craftinsure, a great weekend was wrapped up with a Caribbean themed fancy dress evening and barbecue.
M = Master; V = Veteran; C = Cadet
|1||2116||Nick Craig||Frensham Pond||1||1||1||1||1||1||6.0||5.0|
|2||2125||Neil Goodhead||South Staffs||2||7||11||5||5||2||32.0||21.0|
|5||2123||Andy Turner||Overy Staithe||M||11||18||5||3||2||10||49.0||31.0|
|8||2117||Alex Scoles||0very Staithe||3||11||2||8||14||20||58.0||38.0|
|11||2107||Mike Edwards||South Staffs||6||9||10||BFD||9||12||90.0||46.0|
|12||2059||Peter Turner||0very Staithe||5||13||13||13||12||16||72.0||56.0|
|15||1985||Keith Byers||Morecombe and Heysham||M||20||6||15||21||15||21||98.0||77.0|
|21||2108||Keith Dutton||South Staffs||V||21||14||28||14||16||24||117.0||89.0|
|22||1966||Tim 0'Leary||Felixstow Ferry||M||16||12||30||20||24||19||121.0||91.0|
|23||2065||Simon Shaw||Deben YC||M||25||15||33||18||23||17||131.0||98.0|
|27||2055||Daz Prior||South Windermere||29||27||22||31||31||14||154.0||123.0|
|28||2031||Dave Cooper||0very Staithe||V||27||30||32||27||20||26||162.0||130.0|
|32||2083||Chris Biscomb||Fishers Green||M||28||25||27||33||30||DNF||187.0||143.0|
|33||1915||Jonathon Walder||Staunton Harold||23||28||37||30||27||DNF||189.0||145.0|
|34||056||Ed Dutton||South Staffs||C||34||31||29||34||35||DNF||207.0||163.0|
|38||2001||Bob Eastwood||South Windermere||V||32||33||36||38||37||DNF||220.0||176.0|
|42||1962||Sam Preston||UTSC||C||DNC||DNC||34||41||41||DNF||248.0||204 0|