Report by Ali Nicolson / Rick Perkins Photos by Sam Turner WYCAfter a fallow year caused by lockdowns the 2021 UK Nationals was the first event for both the class and the host club, Whitstable YC, since the end of 2019.
For many there were still concerns, but with covid protocols in place a safe event was planned for the Tasar class with the event shared with the Merlin Rockets.
The visitors started arriving in torrential rain on the Friday but the forecast for the weekend was for dry and warm weather, but with light winds predicted.
The forecast proved correct on Saturday and as the boats prepared for sailing, the wind was stable but very light … the fleet launched on time but were soon send ashore by Race Officer Tom Bruton as the breeze had faded and his preference was to hold people ashore whilst the breeze built.
Early in the race the boats that started at the port end of the line were favoured but as the first beat progressed it was clear that the boats to the right had gained an advantage and at the first mark it was John Rees and Ming Speyer (HISC) who lead from clubmates Rod & Mo Porteous with a chasing pack hot on their heels.
The leaders then got into a battle working high on the reach creating an opportunity for Rick & Sarah Perkins (WYC) to slip through at the gybe mark … the second reach was quite tight offering little opportunity for passing and with the light breeze fading the course was shortened to one lap with Rick and Sarah taking the win from John Lawton and Andrew Probert (Babbacombe Corinthian Sailing Club) who just pipped their club mates Neil Spacagna & Steve Eustice. With the wind fading the fleet were then sent ashore after a single race.
Usually at that point the legendary WYC hospitality would have kicked in with a BBQ & Band or other similar entertainment, but as we were operating under covid restrictions, socialising was limited to groups of 6. WYC table service did their best to keep sailors well catered for.
Sunday dawned bright but with very little wind and so the AP was soon raised. However, after a relatively short delay the wind had filled in enough for racing to start.
Race 2 got away with a tight start with boats crossing tacks frequently to gain advantage as the wind was very stable in direction but still light. Rick & Sarah Perkins lead at the first mark closely followed by Dave & Fiona Sayce (HISC) and Ian Swann and Graham Williamson (HISC). These positions held for the following two laps.
Race 3 was quickly turned around and again the fleet got away first time under black flag with a very even spread. At the first mark, Rick & Sarah Perkins lead from Stephen & Mei Baker (WYC) with David & Fiona chasing hard but with a pack behind … David & Fiona managed to pass Stephen & Mei on the reaching leg and at the finish it was Rick & Sarah from David & Fiona with Stephen & Mei in 3rd.
With a new direction came new challenges as the fleet needed to recalibrate their lay line judgement with the tide. First around the windward mark was Rod & Maureen followed by Jim & Jan Taylor (Hastings and St Leonards SC) with a pack chasing … the pack however got in a bit of a log jam as the tide pushed the boats onto the mark … the resulting melee allowed the leaders to create a bit of a gap.
The fleet were then sent ashore as the breeze was fading. So, with 4 races complete Rick and Sarah were crowned the 2021 National Champions with a score line of four bullets.
The fleet was very pleased to have completed 4 races; at 10am on Sunday that prospect looked distant. Credit must go to Whitstable Yacht Club and their army of volunteers who ran a faultless event from the on-line briefing prior to the event, through to the sound race management on the water and the regulation compliant prizegiving at the end … a fine performance and a massive thank you from all the Tasar sailors.
The Tasar class enjoys a wide range of competitors and so a number of category awards are also made at the nationals.
- 1st Master (combined age > 100)
John Lawton and Andrew Probert
- 1st Grand Master (combined age > 120)
David& Fiona Sayce
- 1st Female Helm Liz Prescod
- 1st Couple Rick & Sarah Perkins
- 1st Junior Helm Felix Goodman
- 1st Junior Crew Jan Taylor
- 1st Club HISC