The 2019 National Championships at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy over the weekend of 15/16th June welcomed a record entry of 31 boats.
Recent activity by the UK Class Association has seen a real resurgence in interest in the class with a number of boats finding new owners after work by the class 'Cupid' Jon Tweedle, who has spent time encouraging people to sell on boats that are no longer wanted and matching those sales with people interested in either joining the class or upgrading an existing boat and freeing up an older one to move on to a new home. Class membership has also grown and the weekend provided a fantastic opportunity to come together and enjoy not only some first class racing but some first class training and socialising too!
A coaching day was held on Friday 14 June, with Laura Baldwin (2004 Europe GBR Olympian) sharing hints and tips from her time in the class. Aided by Spanish sail maker Alejandro Pareja Gonzalez the fleet gained much insight into the use of the sail controls and sail settings.
The first of 2 social events took place on Friday night, with a BBQ hosted by Jon and Hattie Tweedle. It set the scene nicely for friendly boat park banter on Saturday morning before the fleet set out for some pretty windy racing. Alejandro took line honours in race 1, closely followed by Graham Hutchins. Chris Gill showed super speed to take race 2 with Graham again in second. Alejandro ended the day with another win, with Chris hard on his heels and so, ended day one on the water, with lots of helms grinning at the great sailing they'd had but grimacing with aching leg muscles from some pretty extreme hiking!
On Saturday night over 50 sailors and their families enjoyed a meal and social at a local restaurant, and with the sun shining over the bay it was a lovely end to a great day of friendship and good racing.
Sunday morning dawned wet and windy and those aching muscles were really beginning to tell by now, but by 10.30 racing was under way and Laura Baldwin - back in the Europe after 15 years away - was a very delighted winner of race 4. With the placings still wide open Chris took race 5 guaranteeing him a good result overall, but the last race was to be Alejandro's and that gave him first overall and the title of Open Champion, with Chris in second becoming our new National Champion. Graham finished third overall and took the Roaring Forties title, Laura was first Lady in fourth place, Richard Eagleton is the new 'Swinging Sixties champion and was 9th overall and Ben Harris is the new Junior Champion having finished 17th, showing particular form in the very windiest races, proving the Europe's ability to tailor the boat to your individual needs in all wind strengths!
1st - ESP698 - Alejandro Pareja Gonzalez - Event Winner
2nd - GBR352 - Chris Gill - 2019 UK National Champion
3rd - BEL986 - Graham Hutchings