During the may bank holiday 6 British skippers decided to try their hand in Barcelona, where the Spanish National Championships were held, Mick Chamberlain was representing the Lincoln club as well as his country. The event was held over 4 days , the first day team racing was held at club nautic Garraf just south of Barcelona under clear blue skies and very little wind, Racing got under way around 2pm after measuring and weigh in and each country had a team of 4 skippers some country’s had more than one team , the Brits cruised through the round robin with no problems at all , and then it appeared to get into a knock out stage. ( the language problem ) we survived the first round and then had a disaster in the final round which allowed us to use the refreshment tent at our leisure, where drinks and food were freely on offer , the outcome was we got the Bronze medal.
Racing proper for the championship started around noon on the Friday, I do say around because as we all know there is no rush when in Spain, The event did show up some surprises in the rules and some strange decisions but hey!! “when in Rome” I have laid the write up out in days as best I could and added a few pictures at the bottom I hope you enjoy it as much as we did .
Spanish Nationals DAY 1
Day I kicked of on Friday 2nd may at noon with 4 fleets for the seeding races , The favorite for the event G Beltre had to pull out at the last-minute we are told, but there was no shortage of talent around , The breeze started from the East and for the seeding races top suit was used , the British contingent doing quite well in the top half of the standings, The Breeze was steadily building and by 2PM B suit was used for all racing, Derek Priestly Ken Binks and Graham Bent cock all doing very well , with Derek leading the pack with his fairly new “in Transition “ with the new state of the art bulb design and was sailing very well , John Cleave, Nigel Brown , and Mick Chamberlain were having an average kinda day , and Mick Chamberlain Missed a golden opportunity to go into A fleet leading the race from the start only to lose his backstay on the final run and finally limping home in fifth position .
Lunch was supplied and drinks on offer all day including the very refreshing lager all chilled to perfection, the course was good and racing was moving at a reasonable pace.
Saturday starts were scheduled for 1130 am , but because of some problems with kayaks on the water and a very bad collision between a I.O.M and a kayak racing did not get under way until 12 45 , and started with c fleet, the breeze was a full top suit breeze from the south west and all fleets got away ok , there seemed to be quite a hold up around 3pm , quite why we do not know but one and a half hours sailing was lost. Graham Bantock and Ken Binks kept the Brits hopes alive with some good results with Graham ending the day in second position. Mick chamberlain managed to stay with A fleet until the last race when he went down to B ending the day in 13th, Derek Priestly had a nightmare of a day and remained in B all day which was disappointing as he was lying third when he was demoted , John Cleave started the day well with two second places but then had some mediocre results that left him in 9th place at the end of day two , Nigel Brown had a very up and down day and ended the day in 21st place,
a nice lunch was served with cold drinks as normal under a clear blue sky , Top suit was used all day , as we speak Graham is three points behind the leader , and we expect two races to be sailed between noon and three pm when the event is scheduled to end .
Unfortunately, there was an incident on day two in the last A fleet race, It involved a British Skipper, I will not go into too much detail , but apparently the race committee verbally told A fleet at the two-minute signal the race would be a black flag race, and all because a Kayak had strayed onto the course in the previous start we are told , No sound signal was made and it would appear that at least 80% of the skippers did not know , A British skipper encroached during the 1 minute and was DSQ , On Day three before racing started there was a hearing to discuss what had happened , The result stayed the same ?!? . Racing started a little earlier than planned and three rounds were completed before the cut of point at 3 PM ,
The racing was good fast and furious and at the top end for top suit, Graham Bantock was the most consistent Brit and finished in second place just 5 points behind the leader, next up was Ken Binks finishing in 6th place (and that could have been so so different ) john Cleave had some great results on the final day and he ended up 10th, Mick Chamberlain just pipped Derek Priestley by one point to take 13/14 respectively, Nigel Brown also was DSQ on the final day but came home a creditable 25th , there were a lot of good sailors at the event , a few frustrating delays and some unusual decisions to say the least . Overall Brits on tour enjoyed the racing the tapa’s and the wine , the Beer was free and it did not rain once, would we do it all again,,, of course we would .
All pictures courtesy of Sue Brown of Cat Sails