It's seventh heaven for Gibbs pairing

The British Sharpie Sailing Championships at Brancaster Staithe were given an international flavour with two Dutch and one German boat, boosting the entries up to 24.

The British Sharpie Sailing Championships at Brancaster Staithe were given an international flavour with two Dutch and one German boat, boosting the entries up to 24.

The event acted as a dress rehearsal for next year's European championship at this venue.

Brancaster Bay provides relatively sheltered conditions for most wind directions, except from the north. As it transpired, Friday was the only day when sea sailing was possible, with a north/north easterly force 2 building to a brisk force 4 and lumpy sea, giving an indication of what was to come over the weekend.

With strong cross tide beats, and the pin end start buoy in a different postcode to the committee boat, starting tactics and getting the first beat right proved crucial.


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Dennis Van Vliet and Marcel Verlaan in NED135 did exactly that, combined with some impressive windward boatspeed, to win both races. Defending champions Chris and Tim Gibbs scored two seconds for the day, but only after a last ditch overtake of Richard Major and Bob Curtis during the short beat to the finishing gate in race one. Paddy Spink and John Ellison rounded out the top three in race two.

Overnight, the wind continued to build in strength and the race officer's decision to cancel met little resistance from the crews.

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This led to the possibility of not completing the championships.

PRO Malcolm Collins decided to race within the confines of the harbour on Sunday, with sea sailing impossible in the northerly 5-6.

The relatively congested start and first beat led to many a racing incident, with NED135 the most unfortunate. Having clipped a port boat they were dipping, during penalty turns they broke their boom and capsized. Back in the race, the Gibbs brothers just made the windward buoy ahead of the pack, to then open up a comfortable lead to win from James Case and Jimmy Goodley, with the German champions posting a third.

With the tide pushing out, the final race got away at the second attempt, with the black flag deterring the over keen.

The Gibbs quietly rounded first and held it to the finish, followed by Spink and Ellison second, and father and son team Eric and Patrick Verkaik in third.

With a discard brought into play, NED135 managed to hang on to second overall, after bailing out and borrowing an ancient spare boom to complete the last race. But the honours went to Chris and Tim Gibbs, who won their seventh consecutive title.

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