The opening weekend brought champagne sailing all the way. Saturday's conditions were a little more boisterous with the wind gradually building through the day to a 20 knot sea breeze in the afternoon. Sunday was a lighter affair with a somewhat shifty breeze which never made it above 10 knots and gave the tacticians and navigators plenty to think about as they worked to find the breeze and stay out of the tide.
Robin Richardson's St Kitts was boat of the weekend with four straight bullets, but behind her Thistle, Valdai and Nancy were battling it out for the remaining podium places in a series of spectacular three way dog fights. Ultimately Robert Owen's Valdai ended the first leg in second place overall by a single point from Tom Richardson's Thistle. Andy Short's Nancy took fourth with David Roberts' Melita fifth.
The second weekend couldn't have been more different with winds gusting up to 35 knots and big seas on the Saturday making cancellation of racing for the day the only sensible decision. Sunday was still breezy at 16-25 knots, but the race officer was able to take the fleet into the relative shelter of Osborne Bay and produce two lovely if rather lively races. The forecast had caused St Kitts to pull out of the regatta, but Thistle, Valdai, Nancy and Melita determinedly came out to do battle.
For Melita the battle didn't last long however, as a broken vang fitting forced her to retire from race five of the series leaving Thistle, Nancy and Valdai to vie for the title. What they lacked in numbers they more than made up for in determination and two fantastically close and physically very demanding races ensued. The strong breeze made for plenty of thrills and spills as well as a few interesting gear and boat handling issues. But these experience crews overcame them all with Thistle taking race five from Nancy with Valdai third.
The sixth and final race of the series was sailed in 21-25 knots and it was Nancy who headed the fleet at the top of the first beat, from where she defended superbly for the remainder of the race. Valdai and Thistle went round the first weather mark and down the run almost neck and neck, but at the leeward mark Thistle's crew accidentally let go of the spinnaker halyard leaving it flailing in the wind. Fortunately they eventually managed to grab it as they closed the second windward mark. Valdai held off Thistle's multiple challenges in the second half of the race to take second.
With the results from the two weekend's combined, British Open 6mR Champion and winner of the Dudley Head Trophy for the Classic Championship was Thistle by a single point from Valdai.
Follow the links below to read the full reports and results.