North East Dart 18 Championships, held at Runswick Bay Beach & Sailing Club.
Following on from the success of the first NE Dart 18 Championships last year, this was the second year that the event has been held at Runswick Bay, and there were no short comers of attendees from local Bridlington RYYC.
The event attracted five travelling Darts, with RBBSC making up the numbers to a total of fourteen Dart 18 entries.
Saturday started very slowly, with racing being postponed after an hour due to no wind and Darts being padded back to shore. However, after some “light refreshments” for lunch, the sea breeze kicked in shortly after 14.00 and the fleet headed back onto the water, with three successful races back-to-back, in what was still fairly light force 2 winds, with fluky wind shifts.
Race 1: Matt & Jakob Exon claim their first victory, and this was soon to become the norm and the first of many for “The Bullet Boys”, who were simply too quick to catch throughout the two day event. Garry Freeman holding onto 2nd place ahead of Mike Gomme in 3rd.
Race 2: Won closely by Matt & Jakob, but the race saw a bit more of the local sailors from Runswick climbing the ladder, with Ben Willis & Jonny Williams battling for 2nd position, following some good mark rounding on close RBBSC rival Tim Roberts & Hannah Smith who took 3rd.
Race 3: with two minutes ahead of 2nd place, Matt & Jakob again showing how its done, claiming their third win of the day, with Mike Gomme 2nd & Ben Willis 3rd.
Sunday started with Bacon Butties and soggy wetsuits, the usual combo for Day 2 racing. However, No. 13 Tally (Unlucky for Some – Joe Franks) having already snapped his starboard rudder whilst leaving the beach on the first day, then getting his van stuck in a stream on the beach in the evening, also didn’t start well on the second day with his forestay pin shattering and mast flopping about just seconds after taking to the water (NB. no Seagulls were harmed during this frustrating time for Joe)! That was Joes “bad things come in threes” over and done with… as his racing was just about to be turned up a notch…. or six!!
Race 4: The wind started fairly light, but by the time racing got underway at 11.00 there was a nice northerly breeze F2-3 brewing…. The start saw the fleet head north out of the bay, with the exception of one Dart propping up the rear… or were they??? Mick Singleton & Olivia Barrett took the fleet by total surprise as they tacked off and caught the breeze and a lift, so by the time the rest of the fleet had woken up, Mick was ahead of them all, but for one…. Matt, just beating Mick to the Windward Mark. But in the relative constant F2 wind, Mick was sure to stay up in the top 5 battling against Garry Freeman 2nd, and Mike Gomme 3rd
Race 5: with the wind building nicely into a constant F3 started to see the tactics kicking in, with hotly contested positions changing upwind and downwind throughout the fleet. Joe Franks taking 2nd position, closely followed by Mike Gomme in 3rd.
Race 6: Matt & Jakob Exon, showing no mercy on the fleet and took their 6th successive first place of the event, which was a remarkable achievement. However, overall standings were still all to play for the rest of the fleet. Joe made it his successive 2nd place in a row, but the real drama was between positions from 3rd-7th with mid table looking interesting as positions were up for grabs, it lead to a very tense finish for many. Battling hard Garry Freeman took 3rd, which would result in some very close final points and positions.
Report written by Ben Willis
North East Dart 18 Champions:
1st Matt & Jakob Exon – 5 Points
2nd Mike Gomme & Harriet – 15 Points
3rd Tim Roberts & Hannah Smith – 19 Points
4th Garry Freeman – 21 Points
5th Joe Franks – 21 Points
6th Ben Willis & Jonny Williams – 21 Points
7th Will Bell & Alysha -34 Points
8th Mick Singleton & Olivia Barrett – 34 Points
9th Richard Willis & Nigel Eleanor – 40 Points
10th Graeme & Fynn Lumley – 52 Points
11th Simon McPherson & Phil Williams – 56 Points
12th David Gault & Steve Crocker – 57 Points
13th George & Jenny Singleton – 63 Points
14th Dave & Mitch Parkinson – 72 Points