Stokes Bay was the last venue for the 2012 GP series. It couldn’t have been better, hot sunny and windy – it looked more like a big day in the Med than an English day in the Solent.
The usual Stokes chop with wind gusting to 18 knots gave a challenging days racing. Race 1 went to recent form being led Chris Rashley from the start with Jason Belben taking second and Giovanni Galeotti taking third in his new Aardvark design. The boat is quite different to current thinking and Giovanni was showing some great speed at times. Mike Lennon, Ricky Tagg and Tom Offer were forth, fifth and sixth.
Race two looked like going the same way but Pete Barton had other ideas taking a strong early lead with Offer, Rashley and Belben giving chase. Barton hung on for two laps but was eventually chased down by Rashly. Barton took second with Offer in third. Lennon got back to Forth after a poor start with Tagg again in fifth. Belben dropped out whist challenging for second with gear failure – he rushed ashore hoping to get it fixed and out for race 3.
With Belben making it in time, race 3 started in a little less wind an smother sea. Again Barton had the bit between his teeth and took an early lead. However it was Barton’s turn for gear failure late in the race allowing Belben, Rashley and Lennon through. However Lennon’s wand mounting sheared off 200m from the finish allowing Barton back through who was struggling with a 2:1 mainsheet.
Sunday was much lighter but during race one the wind built and swung right giving advantage to those out to sea – Although caught out by the shift both Rashley and Belben hung on to first and second with Lennon splitting them briefly taking third after “ride em high and send it” Tagg took a quick nose dive and possibly lost second place as a result.
Race 5 turned out to be last race as the wind dropped and as low ridding kicked in Lennon passed Rashly and Belben but with 300m left Belben got on his foils and although lennon followed him up and pushed up behind him, Lennon dropped off the foils after the gybe. Belben took the win and Lennon was a target for Rashley who was now on his foils. Rashley also failed to pull off the foiling gybe so it was a low riding snails pace race to the line which of course Rashley won!
Race 6 was abandoned as the days time limit ran out.
1st Chris Rashley Stokes Bay SC
2nd Jason Belben Stokes Bay SC
3rd Mike Lennon Hayling Island
4th Pete Barton Royal Lymington
5th Ricky Tagg Hayling Island
6th Tom Offer Rock SC
Complete results here
Next up is the National Championship at Stone SC – 21st to 24th June.
The 2012 / 13 GP series kicks off on July 21/ 22nd at Weston.
With the 2014 IMCA Moth World Championships at Hayling Island – there has never been a better time join this exciting fleet.