Herne Bay Report

10 June 2012

The fact that the UKWA Stena Line Cup Event Two and the North Sea Cup were being held over a British Bank Holiday weekend should have made us wonder about the odds on good weather, but at least there were two days of great sailing even though we drew a blank on the final Monday which produced wind of over thirty knots, waves crashing onto the promenade, and on the Sunday night two boats had been washed ashore and the marquee had to be taken down before it blew away!

Saturday however was a different story, the fleets got off to a smooth start with the objective of tucking in one race before our continental guests arrived for the North Sea Cup Competition, although truth to tell, most of the Dutch contingent had already arrived intending to take part in the entire UKWA event as well as just the North Sea Cup, of which this was the last of the four events in the Series.

Some 120 sailors took part in the racing, about 98 of whom signed on for the whole UKWA Cup event.  The UKWA event comprised 9 races whereas the North Sea Cup event was scored on races 2-8 only.

This weekend also marked the appearance of two of the new Exocet D2 Elites in the hands of Belgian visitor Bernard Buren and our own Andrew Robinson.  Whilst the new board - which looks a bit like a kayak at the from end and an RS:X at the back - was clearly fast in the lighter winds it became something of a handful in a blow. So much so that Bernard decided to put his back on the beach and use an IMCO until he had the opportunity at leisure to work out how his longboard technique would have to be modified to cope with the radical new design. Andrew however persisted with his D2 over both days and must have acquired some hard-earned insights into how to handle his new mount.

In Race One Mark Kay started as he meant to continue and led the raceboard fleet home, hotly pursued by Tom Naylor and Rob Kent. However his master plan was upset by the arrival of French sailor Sylvain de Houve and although Mark won the UKWA event by the margin of 8 points, Sylvain edged him out from the North Sea Cup results by a single point.

In the Techno 7.8 fleet, Robert York, a hot contender for an overall win in the North Sea Cup series, was locked in a battle with Oliver Bradley-Baker and came out on top by just one point, winning the UKWA event, the North Sea Cup event and the North Sea Cup Series! Emma Labourne was third overall (UKWA) and 6th(NSC), she finished 2nd girl in the NSC series.

In the Techno 6.8s in both events Dutch visitor Lars van Someren collected the honours with James Hatcher coming in third. Lars also won the NSC overall title.  Sarah Labourne was first girl in the UKWA event but Lucy Taylor beat her in the NSC.

In the Formulas Dave Coles enjoyed the windy conditions and won both the events but Tim Gibson took the overall North Sea Cup Formula series for 2012. French rider Benoit Chauvin pressed him hard in the NSC event but could only manage three wins to Dave's four.

In the RS:X  Stuart Hards took five first places out of nine races, which gave him the winner's podium in both events ahead of rival Kieran Martin and Dutch sailor Huig van Tak. Stuart also won the Youth RS:X title for the NSC Series. Annalee Hargreaves was second girl in both events behind Holland's Sara Wennekes.

All in all a very successful weekend, fantastic racing and as we drove home the wind abated and the sun came out again!