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National title is the prize at Thorpe Bay Yacht Club
THE SANDHOPPER class national championships took place at Thorpe Bay YC over the weekend.
Competition was fierce among the 24 crews battling for the national title in this one-design two-man craft which has its spiritual home in the Thames Estuary having originally been built by Rochford-based Hunter Boats.
Four close races were held over the two days, but the hoped-for sunshine failed to appear and racing took place in light winds.
And with one of the strongest tidal streams of the year to contend with, crews had to use every ounce of tidal knowledge to avoid losing out when trying to round the large orange marker buoys.
The event was won by former Finn class sailor and local racer Alan Burrell and Paul Beasly in “Pukka Pies”.
The duo had been training in Greece the week before the nationals.
Second place overall went to Phil Crawford and Margaret Kennedy in “Satisfaction”.
Third place was Sue and Will Daly in “Sandstar”. The winners of the new genoa draw was the “Squiffy Five” consortium.
And there was good news too for Max Duce in “Windrush” – he won the new spinnaker draw.
There was a lively social scene ashore with a total of 74 sailors and championship helpers sat down to a special evening meal compered by Paul Spratt.