Brothers are masters of the Sharpies
Wells Sailing Club hosted a successful three-day National Sharpie Championships attended by 22 crews.
Chris and Tim Gibbs deservedly extended their winning run to eight consecutive titles.
The choice of a spring tide weekend, to allow for harbour sailing in the event of strong winds, proved to be a shrewd move.
The first beat options were to keep out of the flood tide to the north, or risk more tide but pick up the lifts closer to the beach. The latter proved the better option, with Case and Goodley rounding first, closely followed by the Gibbs brothers and Dutch father son team Verkaik.
On the second beat, the Gibbs put in a short tack towards the beach. This proved to be astute, as they then powered upwind to take the lead and hold it to the finish. Hardy and Coe were rewarded with the Chairman's Trophy for their efforts, for an above par finish, in fourth.
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Race two saw Case rounding first, with the Verkaiks second and fellow Dutch team Van Vliet and Van Berkel third. These positions were held to the finish with Gibbs fourth.
Sunday offered no respite from the wind and rain and race three followed a familiar pattern, with the first three boats being Case, Gibbs, and Verkaik. Case remembered his error from the previous day and covered the Gibbs team hard on the second beat. However they used their weight and skill to power through to leeward before easing away to win. Race four got under way at the second attempt, with more boats becoming attracted to a crowded pin end. The Gibbs brothers escaped from a poor start to win from Van Vliet and Case.
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The wind finally relented on Monday, allowing a sea course to be set. A light NW breeze barely sufficed to make progress against the strong tide, leading to a painfully slow first beat. Former champions Spink and Ellison won race five from daughter Kiki Spink and Ed Metcalf and Richard Mulderij and Alastair Ogle.
With no further racing possible, the fleet were towed home, ready for the prize giving.
Some crews will return for the European Sharpie Championships, from July 24-29, hosted by Brancaster Staithe SC.