Disappointingly, the only two home boats entered the handicap fleet of the Regatta weekend, and so did not contribute to the turnout. It was therefore left to Team Beaver to make up the numbers, with no visitors from Grafham, Carsington or Rutland to support them - you weren't all watching the British Grand Prix were you ?
A reverse `P` course was used for all four races on the two days and for the first race, Barrie Hoggard and Paul Smith were well clear of the rest at the windward mark, having used the ebbing tide to their advantage. Steve Hanby, George Carter and Austin Flather all took the right hand side of the beat looking for more wind but failed to judge the tidal strength taking them up to the mark, and resulted in them over standing by a considerable amount, almost reaching in to the windward mark. By this time, Smith and Hoggard were almost at the wing mark, with Smith gaining the inside position and gybing first. From there on, he proceeded to pull out a substantial lead, which he held to the finish. Carter meanwhile fought his way back through the pack to earn second place, followed by Flather, Hanby and Hoggard.
After returning to shore for a late lunch, the fleet went out again for a 5 o'clock start, in a slightly improved breeze, making for a livelier race. Smith again showed good boat speed, and rounded the windward mark some hundred yards ahead of the rest, pulling away into an unassailable lead, you could say, which he held to the finish. Meanwhile Flather and Hanby were having a close battle all the way round, but eventually it was Hanby who came through to take second, with Flather and Hoggard bringing up the rear.
Sunday was overcast, with no immediate sign of any more wind. The third race was scheduled for a 10.30 am start, but was postponed half an hour to see if the wind would pick up a notch, but it remained generally around 5-8 knots. The five boats set off on starboard, but Smith and Flather tacked off out to sea, hoping to find stronger breezes, but all they found was lumpy water with a deep swell which hindered their progress. Consequently, Carter, Hanby and Hoggard, having taken the flatter, sheltered route up the left, arrived at the windward mark first, leaving the other two well behind. Both tried hard to bridge the gap, but ultimately only managed to overhaul Hoggard at the end, whilst Carter had streaked away to earn a commanding lead from Hanby who took second.
All now rested on the final race with Carter needing another win to retain the Northern Champion title. Smith therefore had to watch his every move to try and prevent this, and all boats went up the left side of the beat, arriving at the windward mark together. Flather then went high and led the pack for half a leg but the tide was also pushing him higher still, causing him to bear off more and more to get back to the wing mark, and lost out. Smith used the swell to his advantage, rounding the wing mark first, and proceeded to pull out a reasonable lead on the next reach from Carter. Then followed an agonizing run down to the leeward mark, still in little more than 6 knots of breeze with Carter trying everything to close the gap. Nevertheless, Smith rounded first followed by Carter and Hanby. Having sailed a very large course in so little wind, inevitably the shortened course buzzer was signalled, which meant Smith now needed to cover at all costs to keep Carter behind up the last beat. Carter put in several tacks to try and break cover, but although he made up some ground, Smith mirrored the tacks and kept Carter in his lee, finally taking line honours by less than ten seconds. Having thus won three out of the four races sailed with one discard, Smith therefore won the meeting and the Northern Championship title for the first time.
Paul Smith Beaver S.C.
|1st||Paul Smith||1900||Beaver S.C|
|2nd||George Carter||1818||Beaver S.C|
|3rd||Steve Hanby||1869||Beaver S.C|
|4th||Austin Flather||1808||Beaver S.C|
|5th||Barrie Hoggard||1815||Beaver S.C|