505 European and UK national champions Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane win the final 505 Eurocup Series event at Hayling Island Sailing Club
Judging by the commitment many 505 sailors showed to the class dinner held at HISC on Saturday night, many didn’t expect to go racing today, hedging their bets against the forecast. However, the wind gods decided otherwise and the fleet set sail for the final 2 races of the series in a north westerly (plus or minus 45 degrees) 4-8kts. After a couple of failed starts and one race abandoned due to the wind collapsing across the course the breeze eventually settled in the north west and the race officer managed to get the fleet away.
The first race was won by Tom Gillard and Geoff Edwards from the ever present Paul Brotherton and Alain Sign, with many of the front runners struggling to make their way through the fleet. It was more like inland sailing than a sea event but it added to the variety for the sailors. Eventually the breeze appeared to settle but the fleet started the last race in a big right hand shift, taking the leaders almost the whole way to the windward mark. The remaining 2 laps were about tacking when the jib backed and gybing frequently on the shifts. Again the Brotherton and Sign team lead from start to finish closely pursued by Penny and Russ Clark in second with the eventual winners, Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane in 3rd. With first and second in the bag, the final race results meant the third podium spot was seized by the Clarks.
The great effort by the race team to complete the series meant everyone including visitors from Germany, Denmark, France, Belgium and the USA saw UK sailing at its best, strong winds on day one, medium breeze for day two and light and shifty for the finale. Many thanks to the whole team at Hayling Island Sailing Club and to Ian Mitchell for leading the event organisation.