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Apologies for absence were received from:
Representing the Double Bottom 12's:
Ben Brown and Theo Brown sailing 3481 Cooked to Perfection (Feeling Foolish)
Jack Knight and Mollie Lee Sailing 3476 Sprogitt (Feeling Foolish)
Soap Dish (the original and the most interesting self draining 12) Sailed by the cast of MK Sailing club which included (race 1) Dave and Bailey Coulson (race 2) Alistair Grant and Amy Goodyear
Representing 4 plank 12's
John Corron and Christine Preston sailing 2750 Cheshire Cat
Suzie Sallis and Elliot Johnson sailing 2624 Dynamena (Warlock)
Jonathan Garfitt and Kerry Whitford sailing 2905 Subversion
After a hot and sunny week leading up to the open meeting it was slightly disappointing that Sunday dawned grey and drizzly. Luckily the drizzle didn't stay and some wind filled in to greet four visiting crews from Nottingham, Essex, and Cambridgeshire to enjoy a pleasant days 12 racing.
Along with 14th June being the first time Milton Keynes Sailing Club played host to a National 12 open it was a day of first's amongst the crews. It was the first open meeting for father and son combo of Ben and Theo. There was also a whole host of Milton Keynes locals having their first go at 12 sailing. Elliot Johnson was crewing for Suzie in Dynamena, John Corron was helming on his first time in Cheshire Cat with Paul Turner's regular crew Christine Preston and two sets of crews gave 12 sailing a try in Soap Dish. These were Dave and Bailey Coulson in the first race and Alistair Grant and Amy Goodyear in the pursuit race.
While the club sailors started the 10:30 short race Bob Austin got on with the briefing and by ten to eleven we were all on the water ready to go for the first race and a fun day of sailing.
Started with everyone showing that while they were relaxed and happy to get on with things in their own time on the shore this wasn't going to be the case for the starts. Suzie showed that despite having a crew who had never been in a 12 and having to make a last minute change of Jibs (back to one that looked like it was from the 1970's) she could still win the start and she set the pace for half the beat. In the end though Ben and Theo in Cooked to Perfection led round the windward mark, followed by Jack and Mollie in Sproggit, followed by John and Christine in Cheshire Cat showing that while John was new to 12's and Cheshire Cat was giving almost 40 years to the Foolish's they weren't off the pace. John then showed he wasn't going to be slow off wind either by overhauling Jack over the next couple of legs. This order stayed the same for the rest of the race and by the second lap Ben had built enough of lead to consider changing the width of the gate half way up the beat, by snagging its starboard marker and towing it with him while he tried to free himself, much to the amusement of those behind him. These first exchanges between the two Feeling Foolish's and Cheshire Cat pretty much set the tone for next two races. The boat that could beat the other two out of this trio was going to win the day. Those on the shore were going to be in for a good day spectating , as this battle unfolded. This was made all the easier because from the sailing club you can see the whole lake with at least three of the marks positioned right in front of the sailing club.
After a marvellous lunch of BBQ hotdogs and with plenty of salad it was time to go racing again. For race two the plan was a little different. Instead of being five minutes in front of the club start the National 12s were going to join in the club pursuit race. To add a bit more interest Bob and Paul got together and decided since we had a 50/50 split between double bottom and 4 Plank 12's then why not set the 12's off at their adjusted handicap times. Out of the National 12's the 4 plankers would go off first followed about a minute later by the double bottom boats. Simples! Well you would have thought. Through a combination of people chilling and chatting, main sails getting stuck and Soapy getting re-rigged for her second crew (Alistair and Amy) I think maybe only two boats made the start on time and Team Subversion was so late I'm sure all the other boats had started. Never mind, as all the other National 12 had long gone we set our sights on chasing Soap Dish down.
Up front where racing was going on Suzie and Elliot in
Dynamena had settled into fourth, Sprogitt was leading with
Cooked to Perfection second and Cheshire Cat chasing hard.
This order looked like it wasn't going to change till the
last lap when Sprogitt approached the windward mark from the
wrong side, which in turn lead to port/starboard between
them and Cheshire Cat which had Sprogitt doing circles,
handing Cheshire Cat the lead. By the time Sprogitt had
finished circling Cooked to Perfection had grabbed second
leaving Jack in third and this is how it finished with Suzie
and Elliot coming in fourth. Team Subversion never caught
up, got distracted and disqualified - in that order - for
sailing the wrong course (still we had some of the most
enjoyable sailing of the day during that race!).
Let's get ready to rumble! Let's get ready to rumble! Ready! Steady! Everybody...Well you know the rest...
There was a lot riding on race 3. Ben and Theo needed to win to stand any chance of winning overall. John and Christine needed to win to guarantee the overall win with the added bonus of a local sailor winning MK sailing club's inaugural National 12 open meeting. Jack and Mollie also had their eye on winning this race as they had led every race at some stage and had to prove they could hold the lead until they crossed the line.
It was no surprise to see those not sailing grabbing fresh cuppas and arranging the furniture to be sure of the best view of the action. And they weren't disappointed! They all got a great view of the close start because it was set just in front of the club, off the club line. The start was once again won by Suzie and Elliot closely followed by Ben 'n' Theo and Jack 'n' Mollie but where was Cheshire Cat? Well shockingly John and Christine were last off the line. This didn't matter as John likes a challenge and set about working his way to front of the fleet. By the time team John and Christine had reached the windward mark they were up to third. Over the next 3 legs they were up second and stalking Jack and Mollie. Meaning as Sprogitt and Cheshire Cat rounded the last mark of the lap and started to head up wind again they were match racing for first. Which gave the wily Ben Brown the opportunity to take advantage and he stole first from them both. This added to spectacle for those watching as all this took place in front of the sailing club. There you go Mr Ellison and Coutts you don't need foiling mega cats. National 12's battling it out on lakes works as well if you want to make sailing watchable.
Anyway, I digress. The race was not over yet. Seconds
out, ding, ding round 2: team Cheshire Cat versus team
Cooked to Perfection versus team Sprogitt . Less a
gentlemanly round of Queensbury Rules more a three way Royal
In short Cooked to Perfection was keen to keep the Cheshire Cat behind them and Sprogitt was looking to steal the lead at any moment. These three boats didn't disappoint with neither one of them willing to give any quarter, producing kind of racing you couldn't take your eyes off. Watching this battle for the lead was proving very distracting for those of us on the water but must have made great viewing from the grandstand view from the sailing club.
When the finishing horn sounded, it was first John and Christine in Cheshire Cat (which got a huge roar of approval from the partisan crowd!), then second for Ben and Theo in Cooked to Perfection followed third for Jack and Mollie in Sprogitt. Not a bad result for John Corron who had not sailed a 12 before and Cheshire Cat which is very nearly forty years older than the two Feeling Foolish's.
All that remains to say is massive thank yous:
To Bob Austin RO and his team for setting some great courses, running races quickly and efficiently and combining the National 12 open with the club racing without a hitch.
To Milton Keynes Sailing Club for supporting the event and allowing a start in front of the club racing and welcoming the National 12's with open arms. All the people in gallery who produced a lovely lunch, kept us tea-ed, and caked at the end of the day. It's also worth mentioning at this stage there was a lot of interest in the 12's from MK Sailing Club with a lot of positive feedback for the possibility of holding another 12 event.
Finally a personal thanks to all the 12 sailors who came
along and made it such a great days racing.
I hope to see a similar turnout on the 11th July for Ely
Sailing Club's 12 open. You want to because sailing 12's on
lakes is cool!
Smilie & Kez (Team Subversion)
1st 2750, Cheshire Cat, John Corron and Christine Preston. 1st Four Plant 12
2nd 3481, Cooked to Perfection (Feel Foolish), Ben and Theo Brown. 1st Double Bottom 12
3rd 3476, Sproggitt (Feel Foolish), Jack Knight and Mollie Lee. 2nd Double Bottom 12
4th 2905, Subversion, Jonathan Garfitt and Kerry Whitford. 2nd Four Plant 12
5th 2624 Dynamena (Warlock) Suzie Sailis and Elliot Johnson 3rd Four Plant 12
6th 3322 Soap Dish. Dave & Baiey Coulson and Alistair Grant and Amy Goodyear.m