GBR

Allen Burrell clinches second UK National title

All photos by Jean Border
After the recent cold and windy weather, 38 Finns were greeted by glorious sun and temperatures in the late 20s when they arrived in Torquay for the 2013 UK National and Open Championships, from July 5-7, hosted by the Royal Torbay Yacht Club. Torbay has hosted the Finn fleet before and once again provided excellent facilities and race management under PRO Robert Llewellyn in the challenging conditions.

Two races were completed on Friday in a steady 8-9 knots south-easterly breeze on a race course in the middle of the bay, just a short sail out from the harbour. Neil Robinson hit the right-hand side of the track and rounded the windward mark first, chased hard by Allen Burrell, Mike de Courcy and Howard Sellars.

The order of the first two was reversed for the second race, this time a windward - leeward course with Burrell switching on to the tidal advantage on the right as the east going flood tide circled around the bay, creating a foul tide on the left of the beat but a positive lift for those on the right. With the light breeze dying away in the late afternoon, the race officer made a welcome call to shorten the race after the second upwind leg, to give Burrell the win, Robinson second and Marc Allain Des Beauvais (FRA) third.

That evening the Royal Torbay club hosted an excellent hog roast dinner and Junior sailor Jack Arnell celebrated his 16th birthday with an impressive 10th place in the first race. The age range within the fleet of some 58 years proved not only the ageless appeal of the Finn, but also the level playing field it provides for sailors from 16 to 74 years. Richard Hart raced the Nationals, and has competed almost every year since he first won the trophy in 1965.

The wind on Sunday was even lighter, with crews forced to sit in the middle of the boat at times but the full schedule of three races was successful achieved. With a similar tidal situation to the previous day, most of the fleet had now picked up on the ‘right is good’ strategy despite the PRO tempting boats down to the pin end of the line with port-end bias. Time and time again sailors were drawn left by the prospect of more wind in-shore or a ‘ left must pay some time’, strategy but predominately the leaders all came from the right.

Up and coming Finn sailor George Cooper showed his light airs expertise and the benefits of European experience last year to claim his first win, followed by a fantastic result for Great Grand Master and long time Finn supporter Anthony Walker with third place going to Irish sailor Robert O’Leary.

Burrell was one of those tempted to the left and was rewarded with an 11th place, whilst Robinson was more conservative and pulled up to 6th.

Robinson made no errors in the third race, banging right and working hard to keep his speed up in the fitful and patchy breezy, with Burrell never far away on his heels to come in second, ahead of the lightweight Cooper who was clearly on a roll.

In race 5 Allen Burrell sailed back from the favoured pin end with seconds to go, determined to start at the unfavoured Committee Boat end to take the right-hand side. This time it was Robinson’s turn to be tempted left – never one to give up a port-end bias. Rounding the windward mark in the 20s, he smashed left again under the Torquay cliffs in a desperate search for more wind. His speed pulled him up to 12th but it was not enough to stop Burrell’s march to the top of the leaderboard. George Cooper capped off a great day with a second to catapult him to third overall with French Finn Class President Marc Allain Des Beauvais completing a consistent day of 8, 4, 4 to climb to fourth place.

Sunday dawned very hot and very light, with a north-easterly gradient breeze fighting a fickle south-easterly sea breeze. The fleet put to sea at 10.30 am with a promise of 6 knots at the windward mark but Torbay’s unique microclimate conspired to thwart the sea breeze developing. By 1 pm it was clear nothing was going to happen and Robert Llewellyn fired off the abandonment signal to a grateful and sweltering fleet, gently roasting in the sun.

The most grateful was Allen Burrell, an acknowledged master in the breeze; he was particularly pleased to overcome the tricky light airs to win the prestigious national title. He now adds his name to the illustrious Sundaay Times Gold Cup that dates back to 1956. Allen had in fact won the National Championship trophy two years previously at Christchurch, but was beaten by a couple of overseas entrants in the Open event and felt the title a little hollow. Burrell said, “I am especially pleased to win the event outright on the water this time, ahead of all the international sailors.”

At the prize giving he thanked the club for their great hospitality with the championship dinner and excellent organisation – principally orchestrated by Paul Hiles.

Results

Series Place
Sail No
Helm
Category
Series Points
1
2
Allen BURRELL
M
6
2
1
11
2
1
2
679
Neil ROBINSON
GM
10
1
2
6
1
12
3
GBR7
George COOPER
13
7
13
1
3
2
4
99
Allain Des BEAUVAIS
GM
19
17
3
8
4
4
5
708
Michael de COURCY
M
24
3
5
17
10
6
6
642
Adrian BRUNTON
GM
24
6
8
4
6
25
7
61
John HEYES
GM
29
5
6
20
8
10
8
77
Howard SELLARS
L
38
4
10
19
5
21
9
567
Martin HUGHES
GM
38
16
9
12
9
8
10
635
Simon PERCIVAL
M
40
12
7
16
23
5
11
100
Matthew WALKER
47
21
11
33
12
3
12
6
David WALKER
M
48
9
14
26
18
7
13
924
Fred van ARKEL
GM
49
15
12
5
17
28
14
581
Vince HAYTER
M
51
14
23
7
21
9
15
1
Sander KOOIJ
GM
54
11
18
23
11
14
16
656
Graeme MACDONALD
GGM
55
13
19
10
19
13
17
IRL7
Robert O'LEARY
56
8
22
3
33
23
18
48
Anthony WALKER
GGM
58
20
16
2
20
39
19
28
Jack ARNELL
J
65
10
24
25
14
17
20
695
Mark PETTY-MAYOR
M
71
32
29
14
13
15
21
20
Andy DENISON
GM
71
24
25
13
15
19
22
9
Valentin NEDYALKOV
75
31
27
30
7
11
23
611
Tony LOCK
L
75
35
17
22
16
20
24
65
David POTTER
M
77
22
15
18
22
39
25
12
Dan BELTON
M
78
19
26
9
24
27
26
631
Richard Hart
L
88
27
20
29
25
16
27
665
Martin SCOBIE
GGM
94
29
35
15
28
22
28
17
Paul BLOWERS
M
100
18
4
39
39
39
29
80
Ray NEW
GGM
101
26
21
24
30
31
30
22
Andrew WYLAM
GM
105
33
32
28
27
18
31
699
Julian SMITH
GM
106
23
31
39
26
26
32
4
Russell WARD
GM
108
28
28
21
31
39
33
26
Michael WEBSTER
GGM
115
30
30
31
32
24
34
526
Nick CLARENCE
122
37
38
27
29
29
35
30
Ian FRAYNE
GM
134
34
37
35
35
30
36
13
John De LEEUW
GM
136
25
33
39
39
39
37
75
John BARNES
GM
138
36
34
34
34
39
38
670
Garry PHARE
GM
145
38
36
32
39
39
 

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