Typhoon 29er UK National Championship 2021 at Largs Sailing Club
54 29er pairings made the trip up to Largs for the biggest event of the UK 29er calendar, the National Championships. Scotland greeted everyone with stunning, sunny weather for measurement and for the competitors' final opportunity to make sure their boats were race ready.
Day 1 was plagued by a lack of wind. A long postponement was displayed and the fleet didn't launch until mid afternoon. The first race was sailed in a south easterly. However, it was abandoned due to a large wind shift when the wind filled in from the west. The wind then built and steadied from the west at around 12-15 knots. First bullets for the Championships went to Elodie Edwards and Ewan Wilson (2905) in yellow flight and Aled Llewellyn-Jones and Ben Bradley (3066) in blue flight in race 1. However, the rest of the fleet had figured out during race one that the race course was dominated by the left hand side of the track. Race 2 was won by Leo Wilkinson and Sam Jones (2966) in yellow flight and young guns Rob Mawdsley and Ollie Mears (2478). The race committee then took the wise decision to can racing for the day as the evening drawing in and the fleet was becoming increasingly tired and hungry. However, it was enough for the flights to be reshuffled for the next day.
Sailors launched on time for day 2. Unfortunately, the fleet was held on the water for 5 hours with no racing due to no wind. AP over H was displayed after a long wait and sailors had the chance to refuel before the wind finally kicked in. Leo and Sam once again navigated the shifts to perfection to take the win in race 3 of yellow flight. In the blue flight Sophie Dennis and Emma Wells (3081) kept the fleet at bay to take the win. Enough time was left in the day for race 4. Emily Mueller and Flo Brellisford (2743) took advantage of this and sped their way to a win. Over in blue flight, Sophie and Emma just couldn't miss a shift and mastered their way to another win! Day 2 was ruled by Sophie and Emma who shot up to 2nd overall. However, with the discard coming into play Leo and Sam still commanded the lead.
On day 3, the fleet were greeted with gentle breeze of up to around 10 knots. With the race course being set under Cumbrae, everyone had to be on their toes to link up all the gusts around the course. Marten Mikk and Ewan Plowden-Wardlow (3085) did just that and got their first win of the regatta. In the blue flight, Tom Storey and Ben Willett (2982) had an absolute "ding dang doo" of a start, port tacking the fleet and holding them at bay for the rest of the race to take the win.
Shortly after, the wind died and the fleet were sent ashore with AP over H. The fleet did return to the water. However, after another abandoned race due to the wind dying again, the fleet were sent ashore and the qualifying series was rounded up.
After 3 days of racing Emily and Flo led the fleet, in second were Marten and Ewan and in third were Sophie and Emma.
Day 4 saw the fleets split into gold and silver. The day began with a late start as AP over one was displayed due to very little wind causing the start time to be pushed back an hour to 12:25. The wind filled with a constant breeze from the north allowing us to get a great 5 races in, at the northern race area. The wind was consistent with a light to medium breeze allowing for some great racing.
Race 1 saw the fleet split as people chose whether to take the left or right of the course. At the 1st windward mark it was evident that the right was the better side to have chosen. In the end the race was very close with Tom and Ben taking the win.
Race 2 was similar to race 1. The flat water and more breeze on the right side profited those who took that side upwind and the waves on the left made it very easy for sailors to gain on down wind. In the end Emily and Flo (2743) showed their speed taking the win for that race.
By the time race 3 came around. Many sailors realised the clouds were the feature on the course to watch out for. The race was closely contested but the Jamies (2433) (Jamie Wilkinson/Jamie Gatehouse) sailed an amazing 2nd downwind choosing to split with the fleet heading out to the right side in hunt of pressure, allowing them to take the win.
By race 4 the wind had built enough to allow many of the crews to stretch their legs. Many sailors headed to the left on the first upwind to chase the large grey cloud in the hunt for more breeze. Leo and Sam sailed a great race in the breeze keeping the boat driving through the chop to take the win.
Race 5 saw the breeze die down as the day was drawing to a close. It was clear to see everyone was ready to get the race away as the start line was hotly contested. In the end the race was fairly consistent across the board and those who got the boat flowing were going to score well. Sophie and Emma (3081) took the win for the final race of the day.
Day 5 saw AP over one as there was very little wind. The lack of wind did not dampen the mood of the day as the fleet arrived in the traditional fancy dress.
The race committee did an amazing job getting the course set up in the very light and difficult conditions just off the beach - home to the only bit of wind.
Race 6 of the final series brought very light winds which left sailors hunting for the wind. In the end, the race was very close with those doing well being the ones who had a clean lane out to the left of the course. Ollie Evans and Ben Hutton-Penman (2811) claimed the win.
The final race of the series came about after a long wait as the wind took its time to pick back up. During the gap, the sailors were told the very close scores on the doors which left the top 10 boats eager to do their best and climb further up the leader board.
The final race was closely contested with those on the left of the track once again coming out best. However, the final race was won by Flo and Emily who really sailed both an incredible race and regatta.
Overall the tricky conditions of the nationals led to tough racing and a high scoring regatta. In the end Emily and Flo ran away with the event with a fantastic final score of 28 points. They are the first ever female UK 29er national champions which is an incredible achievement for them and for the class. Our female sailors also did extremely well in the silver fleet with junior sailors Gwen Sargent and Gabs Burlton top of the leaderboard.
Aled and Ben followed in second in gold fleet with a score of 51 points and then Ollie and Ben (2811) on 55 points. Both teams found their way in the final series and climbed into the top 3 on the last day. Second in silver fleet were juniors Roo Purves and Ollie Bull 401 with Eilish Graham and Theo Stewart 2828 in third.
Second female team were 3081 Sophie and Emma with Sian Talbot and Maddie Bristow 2753 in third. First Mixed were Tasmyn and Tyler Green 1490 with Oliver Smoult and Imogen Asquith 2118 in second. Third mixed were Eilish Graham and Theo Stewart 2828. First Juniors were 2213 Finian Morris and Oscar Morgan-Harris and second juniors were Rob Mawdsley and Ollie Mears 2478. Third juniors were 2493 Ella Lightbody and Felicity Brellisford. First non squad boat was 2903 Freddie Westwell and Jesse Kibble.
Just to finish, a huge thank you to Ian Bullock our Race Officer, and all of the volunteers for setting up great racing along with Largs for supplying an amazing venue at which to sail. Many thanks to our sponsors Typhoon for the fantastic prizes and the amazing media provided by Digital Sailing.
by Ollie Evans & Ben Hutton-Penman
Photo credits: © Digital Sailing