2002 Leader Nationals at Netley SC
by Jane Wharmby
The 2002 Leader National Championships took place at Netley SC on 29th and 30th June 2002 in winds ranging from F3 to F6, providing the fleet with some very exciting racing, plenty of thrills and spills and new National Champions.
The first race started in a pleasant Force 3 breeze. Mike Fitzgerald and Tim Dormer got off to a flying start but were over the line and had to turn back. Roger Kenchington and Chris Davies then led the fleet to the first mark, with Chris and Jane Wharmby close on their heels. The Wharmbys overtook Kenchington on the next beat and, as the wind strengthened, gradually pulled away from the fleet. In a strong gust, Paul and Helen Dickinson capsized at the gybe mark allowing Jon Armitage and Dave Boyle and Chris Cook and John Reading to fight for 5th place. At the front, Wharmby held his lead until the finish, with Kenchington 2nd and 2001 National Champions, Mike and Tom Sherwen, third.
The wind continued to strengthen and Race 2 saw Wharmby first to the windward mark, a lead which he held to the end of the race. Kenchington and Davies and Fitzgerald and Dormer were never far behind and enjoyed very close racing with some exhilarating planing reaches, which Fitzgerald and Dormer exploited with impressive spinnaker work, in gusty conditions, to close the gap and take 2nd place.
The Wharmbys weren’t to have it all their own way. On Sunday morning Kenchington and Davies made the most of a very good start to establish a significant lead on the first beat, crossing the finish line first in strengthening winds. Wharmby, took second place closely followed by Fitzgerald and Dormer, with the Sherwens never far behind.
With the top positions still undecided the final race took place in Force 6 winds and competitors struggled in the gusts to stay upright. Wharmby, with the Championship now firmly in his sights, established and held an early lead, taking line honours with Fitzgerald and Dormer in 2nd and Kenchington and Davies 3rd.
Alternative Sailing Report !!
by Mike Fitzgerald
Lasso Wharmby Gallops to Victory
Yes readers, it was another case of Chris ‘Lasso’ Wharmby trying to garrotte a fellow Leader sailor. Those of you still nursing old rope burns around the neck will sympathise with his latest victim, Roger Kenchington.
It was obvious from the start that Chris ‘Lasso’ Wharmby was determined to win the Nationals using any means. The first sign was the appearance of his red and white plastic bath tub sporting a host of new go-faster goodies. Then the new slimline Chris appeared changed into his sailing gear half an hour before the start. The final sign was when Chris and Jane launched the boat and arrived at the start line ten minutes before the start.
This was the first time in living memory that Chris and Jane were not last off the beach/jetty, a strange and unfamiliar sight indeed. Some may have put this down to the fact that Jane had finally managed to convince Chris that being on water before the start was a good idea. However the more observant of you would have spotted the spurs on Chris’s sailing boots, a sure sign that he would be up to his old tricks.
Chris the lasso expert had already decided that if anyone got in range he would use his well practised lasso skills to nobble them. Most sailors know only to well of Chris’s infamous, honed to perfection, lasso techniques, and stay well clear. After successfully using the lasso modus operandi last season against Roger Morse, it was only natural that it was another Roger who would be rogered by the same cunning plan. Roger Kenchington was the unsuspecting victim who fell easy prey for the rope wielding Wharmby. As their two boats drew neck and neck at the mark, Chris spotted his opportunity, and skilfully used his main sheet to lasso the unsuspecting Roger. Within a flash, Chris and Jane had been catapulted into the lead using the famous sling-shot effect of the Wharmby lasso!
You have all been warned; keep a boat length away or you risk your neck!
But seriously, well done Chris and Jane; you both deserve to be National Champions with three firsts; no one else even came close! I wonder why?