The MUSTO Skiff
GBR Southern Series 2012
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
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
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.
Musto Skiff 291