Shadow Nationals 2016 BowenThe 2016 Shadow Catamaran Nationals were held at Gurnard Sailing Club ) between 17th-19th June, with some competitive racing on the Solent.

Several of the 20 local regulars were unable to attend – 4 being professional sailors away on duty, others being in Europe or pregnant or both and having NHS operations – nevertheless 12 local Shadow sailors entered plus Graham from Eastbourne helped out and Bjorn Singer from Glasgow brought his cat down from Loch Lomond to play.

Race officer Steve Cole’s midday briefing was held during a torrential downpour on Friday then 2 races were held in light shifty conditions.

Defending national champion Paul Tanner – just off the plane from the Middle East – showed well but the tone was set by hopefuls Paul Bowen and Robin Leather with a win each.

2 of the 3 scheduled races were held in difficult light conditions on Saturday. Paul and Robin were pushed hard by everybody (including themselves) and especially the perennially cheerful Carl Blenkinsop and his apprentice Sean Kellett. These 4 usually emerged clear ahead of the chasing pack who were all exchanging places quite evenly.  Joyce Martin assisted Anne Mormon and Steve Cole in the race boat and the 2 rib crews were particularly appreciated by Pete Newlands.

So it was all down to Sunday when the breeze came in and 3 absorbing high speed races were conducted in beautiful Thorness Bay. Ian Moore had returned from the almost Bermuda race and was mixing it with the famous front 4 until a start line incident caused his retirement in the last race. Newbies John Welch and Nigel Harley were showing great improvement, well in contention with class stalwarts Mark Jenkinson, Paul Tanner, Pete Bowen and Martin Scott.

Inevitably it all came down to the last lap of the final race when Paul managed to slip past Robin and hold him off to the finish for a very narrow single point victory. Third was Carl ahead of Sean.

Tremendous racing fun was had by all competitors with lessons learnt and excellent hospitality by Gurnard SC. Most Shadows sported a large M dedicated to fond memories of our friend Mike Martin.

Photographs: Peter French


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