British Sharpie 12 Square Meter National Championship at Wells Sailing Club

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British Sharpie 12 Square Meter National Championship at Wells Sailing Club

by James Case Jun 7 05:38 UTC
June 3-5, 2022

Sailing GP GBR x Henri-Lloyd 2022 SW
Animated MPU E6 question mark

Agony & ecstasy! The Spink sisters, helm Claudia smile and crew Kiki suffer during the British 12 Sq M Sharpie Nationals at Wells Sailing Club © James Case

3rd and 4th overall GBR 125 and GBR 123 during the British 12 Sq M Sharpie Nationals at Wells Sailing Club © James Case


The Jubilee weekend provided the best tides available for the Championships, unfortunately the wind and weather gods did not agree. Friday provided the best conditions overhead, but the cool NE breeze made sea conditions increasingly difficult that day, with wind on the tide making conditions difficult for the 18 boats that sailed. decided to sail.

The two-race schedule gradually weighed on the fleet, with only 8 Sharpies finishing the second race. Capsizes, equipment failures and shoreside recoveries have kept our volunteer RIB crews busy. The crew of the committee boat deserves an honorable mention, enduring more than two hours of uncomfortable sea conditions due to the wind on the tide.

Race results took on what would prove to be a familiar pattern, with brothers Chris and Tim Gibbs in GBR12/77 Rock-a-bye dominating both races, and NED 145, the beautifully rebuilt Wodan, Dennis van Vliet and Ben Kloos a constant threat with two seconds. The Spink sisters, Claudia and Kiki posted a creditable 3rd place in race one, but a broken bar extension paid off the start of race two of the day. Last place on the podium was taken by fellow Brancaster Staithe SC members James Nunn and Henry Burkitt sailing their “new” Sharpie Racker GBR 123.

With the stronger NE breeze forecast for Saturday, PRO Andy Turner OSSC didn’t hesitate to set sail for the harbour. A swinging NE 4-5 made it difficult to find real pace within the harbor limits. Rock-a-bye was apparently missing, as there were reports of a broken pole, with hopes to make the second race of the day. A Grand Prix speed pit stop took everyone by surprise, when they arrived for the first start moments before the start sequence began.

Most of the boats settled for a nervous starboard approach, while the Gibbs fell over the line to dominate the port end on both races. This proved decisive once clearing the entrance to the outer harbor with a bit of a pinch, to control the left side of the beat and turn first. Despite a quick reach from their Dutch rivals in NED 145, they held the inside place at the wing mark and stretched to a comfortable victory in both races of the day with NED145 second in both. An intriguing battle was brewing for third place overall, with Will Gibbs and Charlie Orton in GBR125 finishing third in Race 3, and James Nunn and Henry Birkett third in Race 4. Most of the competitors and the race team took took advantage of early starts, with an AGM at noon. followed by a nap! The usual Wells SC hospitality meant a full house for the championship dinner that evening.


On Sunday morning, organizers of the Sharpie Championship and the Queen’s Jubilee party woke up to torrential rain and a near gale. Both events were done in British fashion, with neither wanting to let conditions spoil such well-planned events. With lessons learned from the races of the previous days and an expected lower tide, the race started closer to Wells Quay, with the windward mark positioned along the main channel opposite the RNLI boathouse. Gibbs repeated his port end start, or maybe Rock-a-bye started there on instinct, as it was his owner’s preference who was watching! The race followed the familiar pattern of 1st and 2nd, with NED15 Piet Kraan and Ton van Berkel taking advantage of the calmer limits of the port and scoring their first of two 3rd places on the day. In the end, the Gibbs retired due to yet another failed arrow with the winning streak, leaving the field open for a new race winner. NED 145 duly delivered, although he had to pass Gibbs junior in GBR125 on the fastest reach to the wing mark. NED15 claiming third place proved crucial in the final standings, with GBR123 relegated to fourth place.

The overall results show a perfect row of balls for the Gibbs brothers, and Dennis and Ben eventually won a race alongside their second row in NED 145. The final race result was enough for Will Gibbs and Charlie Orton claim third place overall, from GBR 123 backwards!

The presence of the two Dutch Sharpies was much appreciated by the British fleet; the competitive, friendly, personal and national battles will resume at the Covid-postponed Sharpie European Championships, to be held this year at the Clube Naval de Sesimbra, Portugal in late July.

2022 marked an incredible 70 years for Her Majesty The Queen; 1931 saw the design and creation of the 12 Sq M Sharpie, an international class, Olympic class in Melbourne in 1956. The incredible history of the class was shown when Roger Smith of Creeksea SC arrived to admire the boats. His father Terry Smith, who died last year, led Jasper Blackall to an Olympic bronze medal. He moved along the coast to find Chuckles, the Sharpie they were sailing on, beautifully restored by Mike Farrell, in the BSSC dinghy park.

The class is in its 91st year with enduring competition and Sharpie International family friendships spanning generations. I hope to be able to register and attend Sharpie events in 2031, a special class that has defied the trend of identikit plastic boats, with some approaching their third generation of family ownership.

Long may she reign, and all who sail in her!


Overall results:

If you finished in the top ten at the Sharpie Nationals, enter your gear guide information here


Pos Veil No Closed off Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Points
1 March‑00 Chris Gibbs Tim Gibbs 1 1 1 1 1 (DNS) 5
2 145 Denis van Vliet Ben Kloos -2 2 2 2 2 1 9
3 125 Does Gibbs charlie orton -5 4 3 5 4 2 18
4 123 James Nunn Henry Burkitt 4 3 4 3 -5 4 18
5 Born 15 Piet Kraan Your van Berkel -seven 5 5 4 3 3 20
6 9 Claudia Spink Kiki Patten 3 (DNS 17) 8 8 9 6 34
seven 128 Alex Smith Paul Beachell -9 6 seven 9 seven seven 36
8 106 Bruce Kemp Sally Wynne 6 (Dnf 17) 13 11 8 8 46
9 134 will adams Tim Adams 8 seven 11 6 DNS DNS 49
ten 138 Sam Neal Marcus Flint (Dnf 17) DNS 17 12 12 6 5 52
11 16 Andrew Cracker Justine Sykes ten (Dnf 17) 9 seven ten DNS 17 53
12 118 Simon Neal Darnelle Empson 12 (Dnf 17) 14 13 11 9 59
13 135 Martin Read Paul Goakes (Dnf 17) DNS 17 6 ten DNS 17 DNS 17 67
14 133 John Corney Ben Corney 11 (Dnf 17) DNS 17 DNS 17 12 DNS 17 74
15 111 Tim Ashby Ben Cracker (Dnf 17) DNS 17 ten DNF 17 DNS 17 DNS 17 78
16 226 Richard Mulderij Izzy Mulderij (Dnf 17) DNS 17 DNS 17 DNS 17 DNF 17 DNS 85
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