With well-sailed boats descending on Brixham from all over the country, it was hard to foretell who would win the 2016 Impala Nationals.
14 boats came from as far as Abersoch, Falmouth and the Solent to race in Torbay’s challenging conditions, hosted by the very hospitable Brixham Yacht Club for three days of close racing and fun socialising.
Friday 15th saw the most wind of the weekend, with up to 16knots. Local boat, Matt and Michelle Dodd’s Fearnought made the best of the day, with three bullets showing the fleet around the racecourse for two windward-leewards and a longer bay race. She finished day one ahead of Ian MacMillan’s Checkmate, helmed by Sonata supremo Steve Goacher in his Impala debut. Iain Gray’s Maverick completed the podium.
Ashore, the fleet enjoyed a pontoon rum party courtesy of nixplay.com, and a highly competitive gutter boat race, won by Felix Barr from Parallel Universe.
Day two saw similar conditions, and race officer Sean Semmens (himself no stranger to the Impala class) snuck in an extra race at the end of the day in lieu of Sunday’s wind-free forecast. These four races saw the fleet mixed up somewhat, with the pack beginning to get the hand of Torbay’s famous windshifts to challenge Fearnought’s lead and close the gap. Polly, Maverick and Checkmate each recorded wins, with similar battles developing throughout the closely-matched fleet.
Ashore, crews relaxed after a long and tiring day afloat in blazing sunshine – although most shook off the lethargy long enough to put on their dancing shoes for some live music from the excellent Sax Appeal. The evening’s parties were aided by a free keg of beer from Dimension Polyant – and the race officer’s decision to delay the start on Sunday to coincide with a hoped-for wind at midday.
Sean’s intuition paid off, and as the fleet motored out on Sunday morning they were met by a reasonable 6-10 knots of breeze. The single race got underway, but was abandoned as a big shift came in. Restarted in the new, now easterly breeze, positions changed constantly, and boats tried to match-race each other as the wind died to finalise the overall results. The final few drifted over the line in nothing more than a zephyr, cementing the results and bringing a brilliant weekend of sailing to a close.
Matt and Michelle Dodd won the event in Fearnought, a fitting send-off as this will be their last event in the boat. Ian Macmillan’s Checkmate was second, having got faster and faster in their first event in their newly-refitted Impala, and Iain Gray and crew on Maverick were third, with Polly fourth, tied on points with Rob Boalch’s Imelda but edging ahead on countback.
At a prizegiving generously supported by the class’ sponsors, Zulu and Checkmate were revealed to have won the Pro-Am trophy, with Zulu receiving a free spinnaker courtesy of Hyde Sails and Bainbridge Sailcloth. Imelda won a half-price sail from Dart Sails in a prize draw.
Our thanks go to our sponsors – International Paint, Nixplay.com, Force 4 Chandlery, Dimension Polyant, Bayside Marine, Bainbridge Sailcloth, One Sails, Banks Sails, Hyde Sails, Shore Sails and Dart Sails and Covers – and to all the volunteers and race officials who made the event such a success – and of course the competitors, who endured strong winds on the delivery trip to make it in time for an outstanding weekend of racing.
We’ll see you all next year -the location will be announced soon.
Pictures c/o Gareth Fudge – www.boatographic.co.uk
|Series Place||Sail No||Boat||Type of Boat||Owner||Series Points||Race 1||Race 2||Race 3||Race 4||Race 5||Race 6||Race 7||Race 8|
|1||9571||Fearnought||Matt Dodd||Matt & Michelle Dodd||12||1||1||1||2||2||3||4||2|
|2||9589||Checkmate||Steve Goacher||Ian Mcmillan||15||3||2||2||1||1||5||5||1|
|3||9599||Maverick||Jamie Watts||Ian Grey||22||4||3||5||5||3||2||1||4|
|4||9500||Polly||Ben Meakins||B & S Meakins & A & J Cudmore||31||5||5||6||6||5||1||3||10|
|5||9510||Imelda||Rob Boalch||Robert Boalch||31||2||4||7||3||6||6||8||3|
|6||9616||Imptish||Barney Smith||Mr Hance & B Smith||33||6||6||3||15||4||4||2||8|
|7||9519||Two Frank||Olly Love||Sam Fint & Olly Love||51||8||7||9||7||7||9||7||6|
|8||9528||Blues Too||Ian Mills||David Mills||59||9||8||4||12||10||12||11||5|
|9||9592||Parallel Universe||Martin Wadsworth||Martin Wadsworth & Tamsin Whipp||60||7||11||12||11||11||7||6||7|
|10||9609||Zulu||Kevin Pailfreeman||K Palfreeman & A Kehoe||64||13||9||13||4||8||8||9||15|
|11||9561||Uproar||Ian Akhurst||Luke Scott & Ian Akhurst||69||12||10||10||8||9||10||10||15|
|12||9579||Magic||Olly Bewes||Olly Bewes & George Beevor||76||10||13||8||10||13||13||14||9|
|13||9548||Vlad the Impala||Tom Sully||Peter Dessent||79||11||12||11||9||12||11||13||15|
|14||9567||Atalanta||Stuart Higgins||Stuart Higgins||92||14||14||14||13||14||14||12||11|