As the high winds swept through Great Britain over the weekend, twelve teams competed for the prestigious title of RYA National Match Racing Champion which in the end was declared a tie with the Campbell-James Brothers, Paul and Mark, sharing the title.
The event took place from the 8-10 October in the RYA's fleet of J80's from the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy. With a windy forecast on the horizon the race committee attempted to get as much racing in as possible in Friday's 16-20 knot breeze.
The day was not without drama, and Simon WHEELER and his crew, who won their place in the final after finishing second at the third qualifier, encountered problems during the second flight when the forestay on their boat broke. This meant that the boat had to be withdrawn from the day's action for repairs and left the race committee with an odd number of boats, which would eventually lead to scoring problems at the end of the event. After the race committee and umpires had rescheduled the format, the equivalent of ten, six boat flights were completed by the end of day one.
Sadly Friday was the only day that racing could take place as both Saturday and Sunday recorded large gusts that prevented the championship from entering its final rounds.
This left the race committee the task of trying to determine a winner from the first day of racing; a tricky call as after day one, most of the teams had sailed five races but two teams had only sailed four, and Simon WHEELER and crew just three.
The protest jury, chaired by John DOERR, considered a request from the race committee to give redress to the competitors due to on omission from the sailing instructions. The omission was paragraph with regards to a method of calculating an overall winner from the first round robin if the skippers had completed a different numbers of races. The outcome of the redress decision was that the results would be calculated on a 'percentage wins of races sailed' basis.
The jury decision lead to the defending champion Paul CAMPBELL-JAMES, with crew of Graham SUNDERLAND, Ben FIELD, Hamish WALKER and Nick HUTTON, tying for first place with his elder brother Mark and crew of David MASON, Andrew YATES and Bevis FIELD.
Both brothers agreed on their comments, declaring that they were "confident that they could have beaten their sibling, if only they had had the chance to race them"
We will have to wait for next year to find out that outcome!
Third equal was the current Volvo RYA Youth Match Racing Champion Nick CHERRY and crew of James ROCHER, Nic ASHER, Matt PINNER and Alex HASLET who tied with the current BUSA Match Racing Champion Andy CORNAH and his crew of Dave CHESHIRE, Andy BRYSON, and Carl GIBBON.
Dates for the 2005 RYA National Match Racing Series will be available on the RYA website at the beginning of December.
=1 (5 wins), Mark Campbell-James, Dave Mason, Andrew Yates, Bevis Field
=1 (4 wins), Paul Campbell-James, Graham Sunderland, Ben Field, Hamish Walker, Nick Hutton
=3 (4 wins), Nick Cherry, James Rocher, Nic Asher, Matt Pinner and Alex Haslet
=3 (4 wins), Andy Cornah, Andy Bryson, Carl Gibbon, Dave Cheshire