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16 June 2002, 12:40 pm
First Day
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photo:Peter Danby

British 18 Foot Skiff National Championship
Portland

Apart from the absence of any signs of sunshine, the weather yesterday was much more to the liking of the Skiff sailors.
The breeze for the Race 3 in Portland Harbour was up in the crossover zone between the No 1 and the No 2 rig, and the fleet was equally divided when the time came to make the choice.

The defending champions, the 'RMW Marine' team, were again without the services of regular middleman Dan Johnson, but they were able to draft in Australian Chris Cleary who has, shall we say, done quite a bit of 18 footer sailing, including winning the world title a couple of years ago. However, it was 'Base 1' sailed by Rob Dulson, Paul Constable and Drum Sydenham that rounded the windward mark in first place, using their No 2 rig, followed by Victor Brellisford, James Fawcett and Dave Smith on 'White Stuff', using their No 1.

A good battle between these two boats was already going the way of 'White Stuff', but was finally resolved in their favour when 'Base 1' had when a spinnaker halyard problem. 'RMW Marine' caught up to second place, but could not make much impression on the 'White Stuff' team, who sailed very well. Jarrod Simpson, Simon Nearn and Grant Rollason on 'Ernst & Young' found the fresher breeze much more to their liking than yesterday's slow going, and finished third.

Race 4 was a long distance race of 14 miles, starting with a windward leg in the harbour against the south westerly breeze, which had moderated somewhat with the result that everyone chose their No 1 rigs. As if stung by being beaten in the previous race, 'RMW Marine' went straight into the lead, and was at the head of affairs as the fleet left the harbour to sail an interesting course out in Weymouth Bay.

'RMW Marine' opened up a huge lead, but there were some very close battles behind them, and race officer Richard Stevens was surprised to find that he had to concentrate hard to call the positions between boats that were still overlapping after more than an hour and a half of racing. The first such case was for second and third places, when Andy Richards, Andy Fairley and Dave Richards on 'Radii' just got the verdict from Jon Bennett, Andy Jeffries and Keith Jerkins on 'Comptacenter'.

With three more races to be sailed tomorrow, 'RMW Marine' leads from 'Radii' and 'Comptacenter'.

Race 3 results:

1. 'White Stuff' Victor Brellisford, James Fawcett and Dave Smith
2. 'RMW Marine' Rob Greenhalgh, Chris Cleary and Jonny Meers
3. 'Ernst & Young' Jarrod Simpson, Simon Nearn and Grant Rollason
4. 'Base 1' Rob Dulson, Paul Constable and Drum Sydenham
5. 'Ovington Boats' Martin Goodlad, John Aikman and Roy Goodlad
6. 'Radii' Andy Richards, Andy Fairley and Dave Richards

Race 4 results:

1. 'RMW Marine' Rob Greenhalgh, Chris Cleary and Jonny Meers
2. 'Radii' Andy Richards, Andy Fairley and Dave Richards
3. 'Computacenter' Jon Bennett, Andy Fairley and Nick Jerkins
4. 'Ovington Boats' Martin Goodlad, John Aikman and Roy Goodlad
5. 'Total Recall' Ollie Holden, Ben Clothier and Will Clothier
6. 'White Stuff' Victor Brellisford, James Fawcett and Dave Smith
British 18 Foot Skiff Press/News Editor
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