Musto Skiff

The MUSTO Skiff GBR Southern Series 2012 Bookmark and Share

The MUSTO Skiff Southern series 2012 saw 73 individual competitors racing across 9 events in what was a pinnacle year for the class with the World championships at the Olympic Regatta venue.

The series kicked off at Chew Valley in February with just 10 boats at this early stage in the season. Ian Martin showed that his training hours put in over the winter were well spent taking a narrow victory over Jamie Hilton with Dan Vincent in 3rd.

Event 2 in March was at a very light Rutland which put off a few of the southerners off travelling but a decent 17 boats turned out. Richard Stenhouse showed his light wind finesse to take the victory from Steve Tylecote and Ben Schooling.

Stokes Bay hosted round 3 of the circuit in April and the 25 strong fleet were faced with a shifty and gusty northerly. Ian Martin made the most of the shifts on Day 1 to be leading overnight but on day 2 with the breeze up to 20kts, Bruce Keen pulled though to take overall victory from Jamie Hilton and Sten.

The Nationals were next at Stone over the May Bank Holiday. A cold and damp Essex did not deter the 43 entrants (including the international traveller Nicholas Duchoud from Switzerland) and the fleet enjoyed some close packed racing over the 9 race series making consistency crucial with only 1 discard. Bruce Keen sailed a great regatta to become 2012 National Champion from Richard Stenhouse and Chris Webber taking 3rd. Stone put on a great event and on the last day the sun finally shone rounding off an enjoyable nationals.

Whitstable was the venue for round 5 of the UK southern series two weeks later and 18 boats turned out for the last chance of some sea racing before the main event of the year. Mike “Ninja” Palfreman dominated in the fickle breeze on Saturday and held a comfortable lead overnight. As the breeze filled in on the Sunday, the lumpy sea state made for some tricky conditions and a few mast tips were broken rolling in the shallow water. Bruce still on form from his Nationals victory pulled through to win from Alex Cooper and Ben Schooling.

Round 6 was hosted by Datchet and 18 boats turned up to face a howling breeze on Saturday where getting off the concrete was the hardest issue. Sunday was the complete opposite and Alex Cooper sailed well over the range of breeze to narrowly take the victory over locals Jamie Hilton and Ian Martin.

With the majority of the front loaded season over the fleet turned their attention to the main event of the year and one that proved to be a huge success. Planning the World Championships at the Olympic venue 3 weeks before the main event was a stroke of genius by the committee and they were rewarded in their efforts with a record entry of 107 boats. I’ll say no more here as it was not included in the series but thanks to all those who took part and to all the committee members and sponsors for organising and supporting one of the best events in the Musto Skiff history.

With the main focal point of the season over and being mid summer holiday season, the next two circuit events had lower attendance rates with 11 at Lee on Solent and 10 at Lymington respectively. Jamie Hilton negotiated the weed and won at Lymington in a champagne conditions Sunday and with it took the overall Southern circuit series with an event to spare – congratulations Jamie.

The final event of the circuit was the Ovi Inlands in November and with 40 boats entered it was a great turn out to round off the memorable 2012 season. Former world champion Dan Henderson returning to the fleet showed he had lost none of his form to lead overnight from newcomer and pro-sailor Alain Sign. Clearly one to watch in the 2013 season, Alain finished up 5th with Bruce and Sten pulling through to podium positions on the Sunday. Dan maintained his position on the Sunday to become the well deserved Inland champion for 2012.

To summarise I think the southern circuit went extremely well this season. Attendances were marginally down on 2011 (77 vs 73) but I think this was in part to do with financial and time commitment to the Worlds. There were 10 helms who sailed 6 events or more and from the 9 events there were 12 different names filling the podium positions which I think demonstrates the quality of competition in the fleet.
The committee are working hard to ensure that 2013 in an equally strong season and the intention is to raise the profile of the circuit and try and encourage more boats to attend. Please see the forum links for ongoing discussion on how best to achieve this.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on the circuit in 2013 to try and make it as much of a success as this year has been.

Ben Schooling
Musto Skiff 291

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