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02/01/2022 - 02/01/2022
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King George Gallop
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News

Pyefleet Week at Brightlingsea - Overall

Pyefleet Week prize giving (1 of 39)
Photos © Fiona Brown / www.fionabrown.com
 

Despite a slow start thanks to Hurricane Bertha, Brightlingsea Sailing Club's Pyefleet Week 2014 ultimately found fabulous form and the final day brought one last blustery race for all competitors with some thrillingly close finishes both on the water and in the overall standings. The day concluded with the Pyefleet Week Prize Giving, which honours the racing heroes, those who have met personal goals and the all the wonderful volunteers who make the week possible.

At the prize giving the first fleet to be honoured were the twenty-two strong Brightlingsea One Designs (BODs). This beautiful 18' clinker three-man day boat was designed in 1927 by local boat builder Robbie Stone and has been raced at Brightlingsea ever since. This year's turnout for Pyefleet Week was the largest number of BODs ever to race together and it was also, without doubt, the most talented and diverse BOD fleet ever. The sight of such a large fleet of beautifully maintained classic dinghies was a true spectacle and one that the entire Brightlingsea community is rightly very proud of.

The overall results came down the final race and it was to be an absolute cliffhanger. Past Tornado World Champion Jeremy Newman, sailing Avocet with 2008 Mirror European Champions Chris Rust and Ollie Newman, held a narrow lead over Plymouth University Team Racer Chris Matthews, sailing Rebel with top dinghy crews Ed Gibbons and Sarah Bines. Chris needed to win and have at least one boat between he and Jeremy to take the regatta overall and he did everything he could to achieve that. But on the day Malcolm Goodwin finally found the winning form he'd been looking for all week. Chris took second place with Jeremy third so in the overall standing Jeremy, Chris and Ollie were declared the BOD Champions, with Chris, Ed and Sarah second and Malcolm, crewed by Ian Newman and Graham Sanderson third.

In the Cat Handicap overall victory with an impressive three bullet scoreline went to Henry White, grandson of Tornado sailing legend Reg White, and Ed Redfearn sailing their F18. Second place went to Richard Arnison and Ethan Huges in a Tornado with Paul Mines and Stuart Smith, also in a Tornado third.

Father and son Pete and Tom Kyne also dominated the Fireball Fleet winning all four races to take victory by five points. The battle for second place was a tight one which Ben Richardson and Dave Pannell eventually won by just a single point from Richard Etherington and Joy Adams.

Melissa Heppell and daughter Amelia Hiscocks sailed a lovely series in the Mirrors to win the regatta by six points from father and daughter Tim and Katie Bees.

Chris and Gill Jordan in a Laser 2000 has the Slow Handicap fleet all sewn up with a day to spare and their nearest rivals Simon and Fiona Gillow, sailing a Scorpion, had secured second overall prior to the last race too. However the show down for third place between the Scorpion of Piers Lambert and Nikki Worth and the RS200 of father and daughter Andy and Rebecca Bines came down to a single point with Piers and Nikki just getting the upper hand in the last race.

The twenty strong Cadet Handicap Fleet produced not only some great racing, but some fantastic personal achievements. Whilst some of the cadets are already very experienced sailors, some were taking on their first big regatta and their first real windy racing. It was a joy to watch as each day they gained confidence and experience and certainly by the end of the week everyone was handling the windy conditions with aplomb. At the front of the fleet Brandon Hastings, Ben Eeles and Alex Lightly had been fighting for the podium places. Alex Lightly, sailing a Topper was actually the most consistent of the three with the lowest total score, but once the discard was introduced Brandon Hastings took overall victory in his Topper by a single point from Ben Eeles in a Laser Radial, who won the final race, with Alex Lightly in his Topper one further point adrift in third.

 

Chris Bannister's Contender was the out and out star of the Fast Handicap Fleet winning the regatta by a comfortable five-point margin including a lovely final race victory. But the rest of the podium places went down to the wire. Cadets Tom and James King had put together an impressive series including two race victories in their SL16, particularly bearing in mind that this was their first ever regatta in the boat. They were initially looking good for another top result in the last race, but a sneaky gust caught them unawares and they capsized loosing them valuable time. It was their first capsize in the boat too and it turtled, but they managed to recover without assistance and went on to finish fifth. Meanwhile Piers Lambert and Tim Bees were sailing another wonderfully consistent race to finish in second place which put them onto the second step of the podium by a narrow two point margin from Tom and James King in third.

 

Not content with race victory together in the BOD Class, Chris Rust and Ollie Newman also spent the week racing against each other in the Laser Class. Ollie gave it everything he had, but Chris just had the upper hand and he took overall victory by two points from Ollie who also had a major battle on his hands to keep Stephen Williams in third place. Stephen won the final race but Ollie took second which kept him ahead of Williams in the overall standings by just one point.

The Laser Radial Class gave us another incredibly close finish. Going into the final day Eddie Bridal had a single point lead over Gary Pilgrim with Ollie King and Pete Williams also still firmly in contention for the podium. The final race was to be a fast and furious battle royal in which Gary Pilgrim triumphed to take the overall victory laurels from Eddie Bridal with Ollie Kind third and Pete Williams fourth.

The final race for the Tera fleet was to be their closest of the week. Matt Smith took his third race victory which allowed him to discard a second place and claim overall class honours. Second place overall went to Max King and in third was Blake Tudor whose scoreline of straight third places belies the huge improvement he made in his performances as the week went on. Blake is considerably smaller than his closest rivals and less experienced in the strong winds and at the start of the week he trailed the leaders by some distance, but he persevered and as the week went on his confidence and technique blossomed so that by the final day he was right on their tails and giving them cause for concern.

Pyefleet Week was delighted to welcome the Wivehoe One Designs (WODs) back after several years of absence. Like their big sisters the BODs, the WODs are a traditional clinker day boat, this time at 14 feet long and sailed two up. The six-strong fleet enjoyed some wonderful racing and made a fabulous sight careening about the Colne. Final race victory went to Nic Blower and Dan Twyman with George Brown and Ben Sharp second and Rob Maloney, a Wivenhoe based boat builder who has helped to restore many of the WODs and BODs, sailing with Oliver Goodwin, took third. In the overall standings George Brown and Ben Sharp won the WOD class with Nic Blower and Dan Twyman second and Nigel and Peter Cook third.

 

As well as the main racing prizes a number of special prizes were also awarded. The award for the most improved helmsman went to Mark White of BOD White Spirit. Mark is the son of Reg White and as a youngster had chosen windsurfing rather than dinghy sailing as his way of competing on the water. It was only after Reg's death in 2010 that Mark took over the helm of the BOD and he would be the first to admit that he struggled initially. But you can't keep a member of the White family at the back of the fleet for long and this year his progress during Pyefleet Week was what caught the judges eye. His determination to improve and his ninth place overall in what was undoubtedly the fleet with the greatest depth of talent, is something that his father would have been very proud of.

The special award for the most capsizes was a tricky one for the committee to decide as there were so many in this week's strong winds. But their final decision was to award it to the BOD fleet as a whole who normally try not to capsize at all. However, with three capsizes to the fleet's name this week the award was well deserved and Malcolm Goodwin came to the stage to receive the trophy on behalf of the class to huge cheers and applause.

The youngest competitor in the regatta was four-year-old Louis Hiscocks who raced aboard BOD Aina with father Simon Hiscocks, grandfather Steve Heppell and Rebecca Ashworth every day no matter how windy. Louis clearly loved every minute of his week and was very proud to come to the stage during the prize giving to receive his special gold medal.

The oldest competitor in the regatta was also a member of the BOD fleet in the shape of eighty years young Barry Newman who was at the helm of Jean, on loan from Malcolm Goodwin and the first BOD ever built. Barry has been sailing BODs most of his life and bought his first boat, Blue Peter, in 1974. This week he was crewed by old friends Gary Constable and Richard Bishop to thirteenth place overall.

Once all the prizes had been presented Commodore Alice Davis took the opportunity to thank the many volunteers who work so hard to make Pyefleet Week possible. The members run Brightlingsea Sailing Club on an entirely voluntary basis, and the spirit of community and inclusiveness this engenders is to be much admired. The ladies who manned the galley from breakfast to supper time, the bar staff who keep everyone's fluid levels up, all the rescue boat volunteers, the Race Officers Craig Bond and David Chivers and their teams, and all the Club Officers and Committee members who give up their valuable time were all thanked by Alice and given a rousing cheer by all the participants.

Finally Vice Commodore Sailing David Charlton took the microphone and thanked Alice, whose commitment to the club is truly extraordinary and who has been on site at the club virtually 24/7 for the entire event. Young Louis Hiscocks was tasked with presenting Alice with a fabulous bouquet which was almost as big as he was, the prize giving was declared over and the dancing began for one final night of revelry.

Last but most certainly not least we would like to say a very big thank you to the Pyefleet Week sponsors Chemical Release Company Ltd, Wood and Mott Ltd and Specialised Fixings.

Pyefleet Week 2015 will take place from 1 to 8 August and further information about the 2015 event will be published in due course at www.pyefleetweek.com.



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