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19 September 2003, 11:01 am
Challenging Day One
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J/24 British Championship

With flukey winds, a confused sea and probably a few confused crews, the first race of the J/24 nationals started remarkably, without anyone over the line.
The fleet split into two halves on the first beat with the right paying and 'Crew Clothing', 'Jooler', and 'Headcase' coming out on top.

Rounding the windward mark 'Jooler' lead, closely followed by 'Headcase', but the Castle Cove team had the edge downwind and took over pole position. By the second beat the left hand side appeared to have more pressure, however there were more shifts too, and the few that took the chance did not come out on the money. 'Crew Clothing', 'Jooler' and Headcase came out of the beat well again with Nick Hornby on his Westerly 'Hi Jack'. By the time the fleet had completed its third and final beat there was a clearly defined line between the top ten and the rest of the competitors. The final gun saw 'Headcase' receiving the first bullet of the week followed by 'Crew Clothing' and 'Joolers'.

In race two, everyone must have woken and a few boats were over the line… no names mentioned! The first beat was sailed in reasonably light winds and with the choppy sea making boat handling very important. Stuart Jardine on 'Stouche' lead from the start closely followed by 'Crew Clothing' and 'Headcase'. The groundswell steadily increased all day, but there was not enough wind for some beach boys downwind J/24 surfing with of course one pump per wave!?

The last downwind leg saw some close action between three local boats, 'Hitchhiker', 'Chaotic Mondi Board' and 'Y Jewellers'. However by the last beat 'Chaotic Mondi Board' had fought there way ahead of the other locals. Racing finished just in time for the bar to open after a close match at the finish for second and third between 'Headcase' and 'Crew Clothing' after 'Headcase' had, as Mark Jardine said, "a ballistic last leg". 'Stouche' achieved their first first.
Tom Montgomery
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