7th to 13th August 2010
43 Miracles descended on the Royal Anglesey Yacht Club in Beaumaris for this year's National Championships.
Day 1 dawned to 7 knots of breeze and sunshine. In the Practice race Richard & Harrison Pye (3330) led to the windward mark with Eamon & Lauren Cuthbert (1352) and Phil & Helen Bailey (3825) close behind. The Baileys fought through to the lead only to lead the first 10 boats away from the finish line. John Tippett & Kathy Boulton (4020) were the first to realise the mistake and sailed through the line to win the race.
In Race 1 Martyn & Daniel Lewis (3834) got the best of a left hand shift up the first beat to lead at the windward mark followed by the Cuthberts, the Pyes and the Baileys. By the end of lap 1, Sam Mettam & Geoff Phillips (3812) had sailed through to 2nd, but couldn't quite find their way through Team Lewis. Unfortunately the Cuthberts missed the new windward mark that had been laid for the wind shift and let the Baileys through to take 3rd.
Day 2 brought rain and 15-25 knots. In Race 2, sailed around a windward/leeward course, Mettam & Phillips led to the windward mark followed by Dave & Michelle Raines (3740). The Baileys sailed a very fast run, overtaking 5 boats to come into 2nd. The race stayed this way up to the end with Martin & Grace Huett (3796) finishing 3rd.
In Race 3 the course was back to triangles and sausages. Once again Mettam & Phillips rounded the windward mark first and held the position through to the end. Behind them a close battle ensued between Paul & Caitlin Huett (3283), Team Lewis and the Baileys. Unfortunately a ripped spinnaker on the penultimate reach for the Lewis’s allowed the Baileys through into 3rd for them to take 2nd overall before discards kicked in (a few of the top contenders had scored an OCS).
Day 3 of the Miracle National Championships brought sunshine and
18-22 knots of breeze.
In Race 4, Louis Moulden & Jack Hopkins (3835) made the most of a right hand shift to lead to the windward mark followed by Paul & Caitlan Huett and Phil & Helen Bailey. By the end of the run the Huetts had taken the lead followed by the Baileys. Up the second beat, Sam Mettam & Geoff Phillips pulled through to take the lead which they then held to the end. Unfortunately the Huetts capsized down the last run to allow the Baileys a second place with Martin & Daniel Lewis (3834) pulling through to 3rd.
In Race 5 Mettam & Phillips led from start to finish but were pressurised by Dave & Michelle Raines upwind and the Huetts downwind. In the end the Huetts finished 2nd, with the Raines 3rd and Neal Gibson & Keith Macey (4016) 4th. Championship contenders Team Lewis capsized at the windward mark but managed to pull back to 13th, but still needing 9 or 10 races for the second discard to kick in.
A day of tactical racing
Day 4 of the Miracle Nationals brought
7-10 knots of wind with some shifts and tides to give the competitors plenty to think about. After 2 days of strong breeze, the close tactical racing was a welcome change to many teams.
In Race 6, Sam Mettam & Geoff Phillips led to the windward mark followed by David & Michelle Raines and Martyn & Rebecca Lewis (3834). Mettam & Phillips started to sail the wrong course, so by the leeward mark Team Lewis led from the Raines and Richard & Harrison Pye. By the end of the Race Mettam & Phillips had come through to second behind Team Lewis with Paul & Caitlin Huett in 3rd.
In Race 7, Dave & Ross Southwell (4010) led from start to finish only to find out later that they were OCS (along with several other boats). A large right hand shift up the first beat brought the Huetts to the front along with some new faces including Paul & Hannah Beckford (2462) and 1978 National Champion Stan Lubner, with Brian Henline (4027). Team Lewis and the Pyes were stuck on the left hand side of the course, but gradually pulled through to the front by the end of the race as the race finished with Team Lewis winning, the Huetts coming second and the Pyes third.
After the main races the Singlehanded (with spinnaker) and
non-spinnaker (but double handed) races were held. Jack Hopkins (3835) won the former and Martyn & Jack Lewis (3834) the latter.
The evening was ‘pub-quiz’ night and great fun was had by all.
Championship won with a race to spare
Day 5 of the Miracle Nationals started with 15-20 knots and light rain. The northerly breeze was shifting through 20 degrees and the shallow water and tide gave a very short chop making upwind hard going.
In Race 8, Sam Mettam & Geoff Phillips led to the windward mark followed by Wayne Atherton & Liz Kemp (3383) and Dave & Michelle Raines. At the gybe mark, Mettam & Phillips made a major mistake by not taking their kite down when they were struggling to make the mark. This left them languishing by the mark as the fleet sailed by. By the leeward mark Martyn & Daniel Lewis had used their incredible offwind pace to come through to take the lead and keep their championship hopes alive. Up the second beat, Atherton & Kemp and Neil Gibson & Keith Macey overtook Team Lewis only to be overtaken back again down the run. By the final windward mark, Team Lewis had maintained their position and then stretched this to the finish. On the final reach, Mettam & Phillips overhauled Atherton & Kemp and Gibson & Macey to take 2nd, leaving them needing one more top 2 to retain the title.
In Race 9 Mettam & Phillips again led to the windward mark followed by Phil & Helen Bailey and Gibson & Macey. By the leeward mark Team Lewis had come through to 2nd. These positions stayed the same through to the end meaning Mettam & Phillips retained their title with a race to spare. Team Lewis couldn’t be caught in second, but there was a close battle on for 3rd place. Paul & Caitlin Huett and the Baileys were tied on points with the Huetts ahead on countback. Neither could be caught by 5th, so whoever beat the other on Friday would take 3rd.
15 knots and chop
The final day of racing brought 15 knots of breeze with a short chop.
Race 10 saw Richard & Harrison Pye made the most of a good start to lead to the windward mark followed by Paul & Caitlin Huett and Sam Mettam & Geoff Phillips. By the end of the first lap, Mettam & Phillips had sailed through to first only to then be overtaken by Martyn & Rebecca Lewis up the next beat. They then held this to the end with Mettam & Phillips 2nd and the Pyes third. In the important battle for 3rd overall the Huetts beat Phil & Helen Bailey by a matter of yards and therefore, overall.
Overall the week gave some great racing throughout the fleet. The top 10 had weights from 16 to 25 stone, new boats, boats over 35 years old, husband & wife teams, parent and child teams, masters, and crews as young as 6.
A view from the Bronze Fleet
Some sailors think the only racing is at the front of the fleet, but they’d be wrong! The Bronze fleet has had its own tussels all week. True some of the decision making is different, but in the windy weather policies like “let’s stay upright and finish” have given some boats their bests results, each DNC, DNF, etc, giving them places. Over the week the crews have come to know each other well and with boats to chase and boats to keep behind there was no room for loss of concentration. As always the beats were very important with many losses and gains occurring on those legs. Off the water it is a different story with only gains as the experienced sailors in the fleet are generous with their help and expertise in boat set up and sailing techniques. The resulting improvement in some boats was quite marked so the racing was even closer. The sense of achievement in the fleet was marked. For some it was the first time they had sailed on the sea or on as big a water, for others it was the wind speeds, but all felt their experience was well worth the effort and confirmed you do not have to be at the front of the fleet to enjoy and have great racing.
A view from the Silver Fleet
Challenging but ‘absolutely awesome!’ Is how most sailors in the fleet would describe the week with having to fight winds of up to force 5. The odd couple of boats were most useful as submarines having water gushing in up to the decks and crews frantically bailing the water out the best they could. Towards the end of the week some of the skippers found it difficult to hold themselves in the boat as the wind speed was roughly 25 knots. It didn’t matter whether you finished the race, sailing or sinking, it was class spirit that made it an enjoyable week overall.
Miracle Nationals 2010
(.....our first beef Oggie experience)
We’ve been sailing for about 4 years and, for most of that time, had a Topaz Magno, but no one to race against.
Having met a number of Miracle sailors at Thornton Steward Sailing Club (T.S.S.C.) and visitors to our Miracle Open meetings, we quickly formed the impression that they were all enjoying themselves and really enthusiastic about the boat. This prompted us to think about buying a Miracle. No sooner had it occurred to us and we were overheard discussing it by Kenneth and Gillan Gibson and Janet and Malcolm Cummins, at our club. Gillan took us out for a sail in ‘Great Expectations’; we really enjoyed it.
After a flurry of emails re available boats, we found ourselves leaving Delph S.C. towing ‘Anabel’, our ‘new’ Miracle......... 7 days after our initial conversation.
Every Miracle sailor we met, since our new acquisition, asked us if we were going to the Nationals , at Beaumaris. Kenneth announced that he had booked “luxury accommodation” and he and Gillan invited us to share it. We were committed, our goals for 2010.... to compete in the Nationals and gain racing experience (when we got there our aims changed ..... stay upright and finish the races!).
After an easy journey to Beaumaris we settled into ‘Chez Ken’. On Saturday, ‘Anabel’ was berthed in Beaumaris; we were immediately struck by the help and advice we were given to set her up. Lucky for us, we had parked next to ‘In the Bag’; Sam and Geoff provided lots of advice and guidance along with their infectious enthusiasm.
Day 1...... we were lulled into a false sense of security. We’d had a relaxed sail out to the start and 2 very enjoyable races and no problems; sea sailing seemed straightforward enough, it was exciting and we’d survived.
Subsequent days saw changes in the weather and sea state; conditions became decidedly ‘sporty’.
Consulting our oracles, we decided that the safest tactics for us were to try to start in clean air at one end of the line...... which would also avoid anyone else being taken out by us!
There were times after the start when we couldn’t see the first mark. Sea salt-coated specs, stinging eyes and the wet and cold all conspired to make life more difficult as the days progressed. There was also some urgency in trying to trim the boat better......... it can be lonely at the back of the fleet!
More advice and guidance received and our task was made easier.
As the event progressed, we saw more experienced sailors taking a rest. We were encouraged to sail as often as possible; there were days when we wouldn’t eat or drink on the water....... we just needed to stay upright!
Great sailing was interspersed with some sightseeing, the obligatory afternoon nap...... this sea sailing lark can be tiring.....and making new acquaintances. The social get-togethers were a really good opportunity to meet other Miracle addicts and wallow in all that enthusiasm. To cap it all, as a result of all that help and encouragement, we came away with the ‘Bay of Colwyn Trophy’ for the fastest non-spinnaker boat.
What else did we bring back from our Beaumaris expedition (apart from aching wrists)? We came home a more experienced crew, slightly battered and bruised – but all the better for that. We had a fantastic week and, no doubt, got more out of the event because of the challenging conditions. We’d pushed ourselves so much further because of the encouragement from our fellow sailors.
What’s challenge have we set ourselves for 2011..... Miracle Nationals Plymouth? Ken’s already booked our luxury accommodation!
See you there....... hopefully we’ll be looking back at you this time!?**??!
Sara & Malcolm Perkins
The Giant Welsh Oggie
The Oggie is the traditional Welsh version of the pasty, a celtic cousin. Containing beef, leeks, potato, onions and gravy the ones sold in the shop in Beaumaris known to many as the “pasty shop” are quite enormous, the size of a big dinner plate—a meal for 2, never mind one!
The traditional crust of the oggie was designed for miners to hold whilst eating the pasty. This crust would take all the coal, dust, grime and arsenic sometimes found on the fingers of the miners ensuring the remainder of the pasty was edible.
Folklore states that this dirty crust was discarded over the shoulder into the depths of the mine to the cry of “OGGIE!” in an attempt to placate evil spirits. Fortunately, today you can enjoy all of the oggie.
(For more information: www.welshoggie.co.uk)