A blustery weekend tested the 13 Impalas that travelled to the Hyde Sails Impala National Championship, held over the weekend of 18-20 August and hosted by Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club.

There was no gentle easing in for the competitors – instead two days of full-on sailing in gusts up to 30 knots tested boats and crews to the limits from the first warning signal. There were more than a few broaches, Chinese and otherwise, and crews limped ashore to lick their wounds after racing – helped no doubt by copious quantities of rum on the Saturday and a meal and disco (music courtesy of Fearnought’s Mike Jones) on the Sunday.

A gentler 8-12 knots on the Sunday allowed competitors to focus less on survival and more on tactics, and there was some extremely close racing throughout the fleet of one-design boats.

Race officer Andrew Millband and his team showed outstanding skill in getting 7 of the planned 8 races underway in testing conditions over the weekend. A mixture of windward-leeward and round the cans courses gave tactitians and navigators a good workout over the weekend.

Steve Goacher, fresh from his victory in the Sonata nationals, had headed down to helm Ian Macmillan’s Checkmate and see how they would get on in the Sonata’s big sister. And with an almost perfect scoreline, they gave a masterful display of big wind sailing skill to take the regatta with a race to spare. They can be excused missing the final race as they were to be found racing in Abersoch less than 18 hours after finishing racing and after a 300 mile trailer dash!

Polly (Meakins and Cudmore) finished second overall, salvaging second place after a lucky layline call in the final race. They ended on equal points with Two Frank (Sam Flint and Olly Love), just edging ahead on countback. Philip McDanell’s Trudi, with a crew of International 14 sailors in displacement mode for the weekend, put in a steadily improving performance to take 4th. Newly-arrived to the Solent was Fearnought, helmed by Sophie Jones, and finished only a point behind Trudi after a strong final race.

Event sponsors Hyde Sails generously donated a free sail to one owner, with fleet newcomer Richard Harding on Bambi delighted to be picked out of the hat first. The event was also supported by Rigit, who are opening a new workshop at Shepherds Wharf, and they donated a halyard and other prizes. Their riggers were kept busy after a few breakages in the brisk conditions!

Thanks go to the event organisers and all at CCYC for their efforts. All crews enjoyed some close racing and fun social events and are looking forward to next year – date and venue to be announced very shortly!

Class photographer Bertrand Malas took some stunning photos – and the whole set can be purchased for £30 – please get in touch via info@impala28.co.uk

Pos Boat Name Skipper R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Pts
1 Checkmate Steve Goacher 1 2 1 1 1 1 (DNC) 7
2 Polly Ben Meakins 2 3 2 3 ‑7 5 1 16
3 Two Frank Oliver Love 4 1 4 ‑7 2 2 3 16
4 Trudi Philip McDanell ‑6 6 3 2 6 3 5 25
5 Fearnought Sophie Jones 3 5 ‑7 5 5 4 4 26
6 Magic Olly Bewes 5 (DNC) 6 4 4 8 7 34
7 Vlad The Impala Tom Sully (DSQ) 4 5 6 11 7 2 35
8 Uproar Ian Akhurst 8 ‑10 9 10 3 10 10 50
9 Voodoo Pete Rouse 7 7 11 ‑12 10 11 6 52
10 Cheeky Monkey Aiden Barr ‑12 9 8 11 9 6 9 52
11 Parallel Universe Martin Wadworth 9 8 10 9 8 ‑12 8 52
12 Bambi Richard Harding 10 11 13 8 (DNF) 9 11 62
13 Scallywag Justin Philipps 11 (DNC) 12 13 12 13 12 73


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