2009 Stone SC National Championships
🏆 Peter Toft - 2009 Unicorn National Champion
A fleet of 10 boats assembled for a highly mixed week of sailing with winds from F1 to F6 and complex courses around the club marks as well as Olympic courses from a committee boat.
Race 1 shifty F1 to 2 from the South West around the club marks
Peter Toft sailed a faultless race, taking the lead early and holding it to the end to open his account with a win. John Wade held 2nd until he sailed into a hole and Gary Piper who was following quickly tacked away and took the place which he held to the finish. Bob Dorks worked some of his magic and found wind where none seemed to exist and worked his way through the field into 3rdplace.
Race 2 steadier F2 from the South around the club marks
A group of Piper, Dorks, Richard Taylor got away well but Toft sailed high and took their wind as he slipped through to the lead. Toft again sailed faultlessly holding the lead to the end while Piper, Dorks and Wade battled with each other to finish in that order.
Race 3 and 4 F5 gusting F6 from the South West
Day two was a totally different affair, the race officer reporting the wind as being F5 to F6 with a maximum gust of 31kts. The two races were held on an Olympic course from a committee boat. Piper excelled in these conditions to take two wins with Toft taking a 2nd and a 4th place, the 2ndplace was a great result after having to sail back to go through the control gate on the first lap of the race. Dorks also missed the control gate in race 1 and retired but took a very creditable 2ndplace in race 2. Richard Taylor also did well in the strong winds to take 3rd in race 1 and was well positioned in the 2nd race when he suffered a nosedive and capsize while bearing away in a very strong gust.
Race 5 was also from the committee boat but it was a hot and relatively windless day, with the start delayed until 1300h with a F2 easterly. Wade got a perfect start but with Toft to windward he made a tactical error tacking for the mark having to give way to Toft on starboard. Toft again showed his skill of sailing in light airs by gaining and holding a slender lead from Piper, Wade and Iain Rogers. Wade made the blunder of the week, a rudder popped up and while he was re-setting it, he managed to sail straignt into the Thirslet navigation buoy and found himself pinned on the bouy by wind and tide. The race was won by Toft with Piper 2nd and Rogers 3rd.
Race 6 was in similar conditions and again Wade took a flying start. And was first to the windward mark followed by Piper and Toft. Piper took the lead at the wing mark but Wade was back in front at the leeward mark. Wade then stretched out a decent lead and Toft managed to pull ahead of Piper. On the final lap, Wade sailed into thick weed that he had trouble clearing, so allowing Toft through to take the win with Piper 3rd.
The scene was set for a close finish and the National Championship would be decided on the final day. Toft held the advantage with 4 wins a 2nd and a 4th while Piper had two wins, three 2nd’s and a 3rd. Piper really needed two wins to retain his National title.
The day brought light and fickle winds in the F1 to 2 range, perfect for Toft and a challenge for Piper. Everyone took a good start and there was a tight bunch at the first mark but Piper was ahead followed by Rogers, Toft, Wade, Taylor and Julius Mach. It proved a long and tedious run down to the leeward mark against a strong tide. Paul Conway stayed out in the tide but got better wind and was first to the mark followed by Piper and Rogers while Wade, Mach and Taylor kept swapping places. Piper got back into the lead on the upwind leg chased hard by Rogers and Wade finally broke away from Mach and Taylor to close on the leading pair. Wade made the best on the wind on the run to the finish line and just took the win from Piper and Rogers. Toft had his first poor result with a 6th place.
The final race was in slightly more consistent F2 winds and the pressure was on Toft to stay ahead of Piper to take the championship. Piper was in a good position on the beat to the first mark but Toft managed to sail above everyone and take their wind, slipping into the lead which he held to the finish. Piper held 2nd and chased him all the way to the finish while Wade took 3rd after a long fight with Rogers, Mach and Taylor.
Congratulations to Peter Toft on his first National Championship and our thanks to Stone Sailing Club for laying on a superb weeks sailing.
1st Peter Toft 1074 7 points Stone SC
2nd Gary Piper 1098 10 points Stone SC
3rd John Wade 1092 20 points Weston SC
4th Richard Taylor 1088 25 points Stone SC
5th Iain Rogers 1084 26 points Weston SC
6th Julius Mach 1091 28 points Weston SC
7th Paul Conway 1085 39 points Stone SC
8th Bob Dorks 1099 42 points Stone SC
9th David Taylor 1067 56 points Stone SC
10th Geoff Moss 1075 78 points Stone SC