This was going to be some Nationals. Competitively, could the Saxton boys claim a third title against ever stiffer opposition? Numbers, could the fleet hit 60? Weather, an average wind of 12 knots forecast, would it play ball?

Well, in practice the twins were trumped by an all girl team who were utterly dominant. Frances Peters and Claire Lasko have a very bright future in competitive sailing. Numbers in fact nearly hit 70 and the average wind was about 12 knots, just not all the time. First day regular 28 knot gusts, second day lucky to get 3 races in with the wind nearly breaking the 3 knot barrier in the 3rd race (the lightest). The third day had perfect 12 knots with stronger gusts and weaker lulls with loads of sunshine.

Before getting to racing just consider the entry list: double national champions (in 2 classes, but also no less than 8 boats containing national squad members from other junior and youth classes and 12 with members from intermediate and zone squads.

Just in case you were beginning to think that the RS Feva is “only” a junior boat, just get a load of this: 21 boats were sailed by parent/child combinations! This just goes to show the true versatility of the class. Some of these ‘older’ competitors were looking at Saturday being payback time for the past indignities heaped upon them by the young guns. Experience and, lets face it weight, were going to come into their own. Upon even closer examination of the entry list the Team GBR coach from the Sydney Olympics was to be found competing with his son as was a past Fireball world champion with her daughter. Not to be outdone a treble Olympian made up the front end of one boat when sailing eventually got underway. Saturday As for the sailing, well when conditions had moderated until it was only gusting 22-24 knots the fleet took to the water just gone 3pm. It was lively enough for the very experienced let alone any others. On the way to the start the aforementioned world champion was reaching at sub-orbital speed with kite up when the most glorious wipe out occurred after both helm and crew had inadvertently parted company with their mode of transport. Given that this was happening to some really rather useful sailors it wasn’t too surprising to see most of the fleet taking the occasional salt water bath. Following one aborted start, a general recall, it was decided that the breeze had in fact not really sufficiently abated and the PRO together with the safety co-ordinator called it a day.

Result: Weather 3 – Racers 0

Sunday Conditions had moderated, too much. No wind to begin with caused a long tow out to Hayling Bay. The forecast was for maybe F2 Northwesterly and we got a F1-2 Southerly. The PRO went straight into using the I-flag to hold the eager fleet at bay. Bad news for the defending champions, the Saxtons, who were seen 45 seconds before the start madly reaching off with kite up to get to the pin end in obeying the round the ends rule. They were much better off with the restart of the race following the general recall.

So the championships were finally underway. The Saxtons went up the middle but were conclusively trumped by those that went further left and found slightly better pressure. It seemed that local knowledge was an important factor with the Peters family and Henry Maxfield, all from HISC running away with race one. Younger brother James crewed by Guy Stevens got the better of older sister Frances crewed by fellow ex Oppie star Claire Lasko. David Thomas with James Diamond from Warsash pushed the above three hard in order to keep the first adult/child combo, Debbie Darling and Brittany Mackinlay, at bay. They were to develop a terrific battle over the day with fellow family combo Stewart and Alex Hawthorn who were sixth for this one. Elsewhere Alex Poyner and Holly Tucker started the championship well in the junior division (combined crew age of -25 years with a12th place just behind Martin and Alexandra Orton.

For the second race the wind was beginning to show signs of instability. Again the middle seemed to be the way to go. Anyone who had the misfortune to be buried at the start suffered badly. No get out of jail free card available this time but there was only an individual recall. Insufficient boats returned for the x-flag to be lowered. Who was it? Sailing was close up till the first mark. After that we were treated to a master-class by Frances and Claire. It was the first horizon job that could be remembered in any Feva championship race to date. Behind them the racing remained close with the Hawthorns taking second from the fast moving Saxtons who in turn were clear of Darling/Mackinlay. Rising 420 star Maria Stanley crewed by Oppie hotshot and sister, Imogen took 5th. Elsewhere Feva designer Paul Handley sailing with son Alistair proved he still had it, coming 7th for the second race on the trot. Jess Derbyshire together with Bethany Robson were clearly enjoying the day romping in ahead of father John with brother Harry. And the poor sole who was OCS? James Peters.

The third race proved to be a bit of a mare. The wind was shifting west, the course was relaid. The start was delayed and then there was a big shift back south in a soft breeze. Oliver White and Aaron Smith rocked away at the start and disappeared with a long trail of boats wallowing in their wake. The one boat that thought it wasn’t on to allow a second horizon job in one day? Frances and Claire. Must have been jealous I suppose. Anyway, it took the girls right up until the finish line to catch up with the boys. The last 300 yds turned into an desperate duel with the supercharged girls gaining with every twist, turn, luff and bear away. The boys were frantically defending the inside line into the finish line during the reach from the leeward mark to the finish line 100 yds away. Finally, with the two dead level, they reached the finish line. Oliver had the inside line he had defended so vigorously. The consequence was that as they luffed round the mark Oliver had it by a couple of feet from Frances. Elsewhere the Stanley sisters were hitting quite a rich vein of form with another 5th place to add to the one in the second race. Sam Stacpoole and David Grant were also hitting a groove with a 6th to add to a 22nd and 11th. For the majority though positions were quite stable as the race became a virtual procession. With huge holes beginning to appear fully one half of the entrants didn’t make the time limit and scored DNC.

Well, that sorted out the discard for most of the fleet. The fourth race was called off in the face of an oscillating breeze.

Monday Race 4 was started promptly in Hayling bay again. It started badly though for Maria Stanley who managed to get a couple of boatlengths in front of the line. The Saxtons showed their pedigree by picking the shifts and leading everyone home. Frances and Claire battled back from an average first beat to clinch second while Stuart Godwin with Sophie Mckeeman began a very impressive day with the first of two third places. Jess Derbyshire was by now beginning to give her father palpitations with the very real possibility of upsetting the established order. She and Bethany Robson were extremely unlucky to only come fourth.

Conditions were proving to be very tricky with the wind mixing it up.

Race 5 saw another unfortunate over the line. This time the Saxtons and Jess Derbyshire went back despite it not being them. A terrific recovery saw Ben and Tim virtually fully recovered by the windward mark. It presumably didn’t hurt their chances that there was a huge shift to the right within 5 minutes of the gun going. The shift didn’t seem to get to the middle or the left. Frances Peters meanwhile got right on with it and simply started to stretch away. The girls were like synchronised swimmers in the boat. They moved in unison to meet every wave and they used kinetics to the full. Guy Ellis might not have had such perfect movement (adult you see!!) but he and Alex Mothersele used the shifts to the max to get a well deserved second place. Greg Carey and Kate Sparks also went beautifully to get a hard earned third place. Elsewhere Philip Garner with Matthew Deacon-Smith were in the middle of a fantastically consistent day with their second of three ninth places.

The final race was a repeat of the last as far as the new champions were concerned. Pressure or not Frances and Claire won again allowing them to discard their worst result – a second place. Behind them it was a case of the Saxton boys not having a mare and allowing the consistent top five performers of James Peters with Guy Stevens to snatch second overall from them. A terrific fight ensued with great close quarters manoeuvring between the two including one slam dunk by the twins. They held the upper hand to the end and appeared to have sown up second overall with James Peters laying claim to third. That position was only temporary as the fight went to the protest room with a claim that the slam dunk wasn’t quite fully legit. The jury agreed with the consequence that the overall positions were reversed giving the proud Peters parents a championship one-two between their gifted offspring. Oliver White/ Aaron Smith scored 4th overall while Maria and Imogen Stanley claimed 5th. Debbie Darling and Brittany Mackinlay claimed 6th and were the 3rd all girl team in the top 6!

Competition was good throughout the fleet with individual battles all over. One boat reminded us that despite competition and cold the main aim in a Feva is for all to have fun. That was Freya Yoward and Jazzy Tucker who sang all the way downwind in race 3 giving spectators 200 yards away a completely clear rendition of a number of songs as well as a complete countdown to every gybe!

Now to the Europeans in Hoorn, Holland and the first class Worlds next year.

Pos Sail No Helm Crew Club R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1 821 Frances Peters Claire Lasko HISC 2 1 2 2 1 1 7
2 825 James Peters Guy Stevens HISC 1 OCS 3 5 5 4 18
3 399 Ben Saxton Tim Saxton Gratham Water 9 3 4 1 4 DSQ 21
4 PSC25 Oliver White Aaron Smith PaperCourt 10 14 1 6 8 6 31
5 139 Maria Stanley Imogen Stanley Oxford SC 8 5 5 12 14 5 35
6 1097 Debbie Darling Brittany Mackinlay HISC 5 4 9 20 13 8 39
7 1038 Stuart Godwin Sophie McKeeman HISC 18 17 15 3 6 3 44
8 1133 Stewart Hawthorn Alexander Hawthorn Royal Southern 6 2 8 25 17 13 46
9 397 Jess Derbyshire Bethany Robson Chichester YC 16 8 12 4 7 20 47
10 1037 Guy Ellis Alex Mothersele Emsworth SC 20 7 10 21 2 17 56
11 1075 David Thomas Jamie Diamond Warsash 4 9 7 32 22 16 58
12 999 Paul Handley Alistair Handley 7 6 11 23 12 30 59
13 362 Henry Maxfield James Hamer HISC 3 16 13 14 21 15 61
14 1102 John Derbyshire Harry Derbyshire Emsworth 26 15 20 11 11 7 64
15 1128 Philip Garner Matthew Deacon-Smith HISC 37 18 24 9 9 9 69
16 469 Martin Orton Alexandra Orton Chichester YC 11 13 25 18 10 18 70
17 250 Fiona Hampshire Beccie Diamond HISC 17 12 16 13 27 14 72
18 1147 Greg Carey Kate Sparks Royal Lymington 29 22 23 15 3 12 75
19 1103 Alex Poyner Holly Tucker Emsworth SC 12 19 DNC 7 24 25 87
20 419 Paul Mothersale Georgina Mothersale Emsworth SC 13 25 22 43 19 24 103
21 884 Michael Clark Ben Platten Warsash 28 24 26 29 20 11 109
22 936 Rupert Jones-Warner Nicholas Robson Chichester YC 27 21 17 24 25 34 114
23 834 Nathan Ackroyd Anna Ackroyd Norfolk Broads 19 11 18 DNF DNF 2 118
24 345 James Lavery Tom Lavery Emsworth SC 36 23 27 16 34 19 119
25 853 Georgina Andrews Frase Watson HISC 34 52 DNC 10 15 10 121
26 203 Charlie Poyner James Poyner Emsworth SC 30 32 DNC 22 16 22 122
27 150 Edward Lowes William Lowes Whitstable 25 51 DNC 8 23 21 128
28 1001 Alex Thorsby Hamish Ellis ESSC 35 43 31 17 18 32 133
29 696 Marcus Lawson Philippa Lawson Emsworth SC 47 46 28 19 30 23 146
30 PSC23 Mary Fenton-Jones Naomi Fenton-Jones PaperCourt 45 35 29 28 28 29 149
31 1145 Sam Stacpoole David Grant Restronguet 22 10 6 45 DNC DNC 151
32 1146 Max Yoward Philip McCoy Emsworth SC 14 33 DNC 39 39 26 151
33 664 Guy Harrison Hugo Sunnucks West Mersea 24 38 19 46 40 41 162
34 PSC20 Graeme Hampshire Duncan Hampshire PaperCourt 41 31 32 41 35 27 166
35 894 Lindsey Noakes Jane Sceales Yarmouth SC 38 30 DNC 35 47 28 178
36 896 Dennis Fisher Elliot Fisher Weston SC 15 20 14 DNC DNC DNC 185
37 194 Freya Yoward Jazzy Tucker Emsworth SC 43 27 DNC 44 31 42 187
38 502 Jack Galloway Rory Galloway RBYC 42 36 DNC 30 37 47 192
39 583 Toby Holloway Oliver Stevens Burghfield SC 32 50 30 33 50 48 193
40 836 James Jenkins Pippa Jenkins Emsworth SC 51 53 DNC 34 26 31 195
41 344 Alastair Hales Tom Dear Emsworth SC 39 39 DNC 27 46 45 196
42 251 Lucy Cripps Lucy Preston PaperCourt 31 34 DNC DNF 29 38 200
43 595 Toby Biddlecombe Alistair McNeil Emsworth SC 58 42 DNC 26 33 44 203
44 845 Laura Sanders Matthew Purdon Thorpe Bay SC 21 57 DNC 51 44 33 206
45 895 James Collier Charlie Fisher Weston SC 40 44 DNC 52 38 37 211
46 1028 Holly Watson Kathryn Hamer HISC 53 60 DNC 31 36 35 215
47 431 Briony King Millie Puskin 44 48 33 49 43 DNC 217
48 839 James Bolingbroke Matthew Heathcote Dabchicks 46 37 DNC 54 42 43 222
49 972 Ben Hodges Jack Spencer ESSC 33 54 DNC 47 51 39 224
50 439 Hannah Maunder Murray Maunder HISC 60 47 DNC 37 45 36 225
51 400 Lucy Jarvis Megan Davies Emsworth SC 55 49 DNC 40 41 40 225
52 306 Carol Fiddaman Alice Masterman HISC 23 28 DNC 42 DNF DNC 229
53 971 Peter McCoy Michael King ESSC 56 40 21 53 DNF DNC 238
54 403 Chris Moore Charlotte Moore HISC 50 59 DNC 36 32 DNC 245
55 87 Juliet Price David Price HISC 59 45 DNC 48 48 46 246
56 304 Nik Williams Iona Williams HISC 61 55 DNC 38 49 DNC 271
57 842 David Allen n/a solo sailor HISC 49 29 DNC DNC DNC DNC 282
58 358 Katie Polglase Eiliah McIntyre HISC 54 26 DNC DNC DNC DNC 284
59 337 Tim Gratton David Gratton HISC 57 41 DNC DNF DNC DNC 302
60 258 Myles Mackinlay Neil Marshall HISC 62 56 DNC 50 DNC DNC 304
61 870 Callum Rocks Kieran Rocks Hamble River 48 DNC DNC DNF DNC DNC 320
62 349 Julian Hase Georgia Hase HISC 52 DNC DNC DNC DNC DNC 324
63 1056 Rob Crouch Ben Crouch HISC 63 58 DNC DNC DNC DNC 325
64 80 Lara-Jane Conway-Yates Robyn Eacott HISC 64 61 DNC DNF DNC DNC 329
65 1098 Jordon Watson Charlie Watson HISC DNF DNC DNC DNF DNC DNC 340
65 199 Robert Mallinson Kate Messenger HISC DNF DNF DNC DNF DNC DNC 340
65 410 David McGregor Freddie McGregor HISC DNC DNC DNC DNC DNC DNC 340