SailTek Stokes Bay GP 2014
Despite the light wind forecast for the penultimate grand prix event before the World Championships at Hayling in July, 32 sailors ventured down to Stokes Bay with the promise of some open water, pre worlds training. Most of the big names were in attendance along with a lot of the regular faces and a few new comers too.
Saturday had a late start to the racing and saw all of the top names battling at the front. Chris Rashley was on form and able to wrestle the lead from Rob Greenhalgh followed closely by Mike Lennon, with Ricky Tagg and Dylan Fletcher rounding out the top five.
Andrew Friend revelled in the light and tricky conditions to post a solid 8th place just ahead of sailing legend Paul Goodison, the 2008 Beijing Laser Olympic champion and (more importantly) writer of the 2014 Queen Mary GP report.
Relative newcomers Bleddyn Mon and James Sainsbury revelled in the light conditions in their Ninjas and James Phare proved his potential by coming in a respectable 13th with his new Ninja Elite foil.
Further down the fleet, the home builders were fighting it out with Rich Edwards just taking the lead from Phil Oligario just meters from the finish line with Alex Koukourakis following.
Race two saw the sea breeze fill in and allowed Mike Lennon to show his pace with his new design sail and sneak in to the lead and take the race win from Jason Belben with Rob Greenhalgh rounding out the top three. Ben Paton kept to form and delivered a 4th place just ahead of Dylan Fletcher and Chris Rashley.
Andrew friend once again proved consistent in his Aardvark Rocket and finished 8th despite the typical Solent chop that had cropped up in places around the track.
Phil Oligario suffered his first breakage and ended his race with a broken bell crank allowing Rich Edwards and Alex Koukourakis to battle it out for the 1st home build. Richard again showed great pace despite having not sailed much this season and finished ahead of Alex.
Despite the PRO’s best efforts with two failed attempts, racing was canned which meant that Mike Lennon was declared the winner of the event with Rob Greenhalgh in second and Chris Rashley third.
The top ten were:
Mike Lennon (Exocet/ Lennon)
Rob Greenhalgh (Exocet/ North)
Chris Rashley (Exocet/ Lennon)
Jason Belben (Exocet/ North)
Ben Paton (Exocet/ North)
Dylan Fletcher (Rocket/ Hyde)
Ricky Tagg (Exocet/ Lennon)
Andrew Friend (Rocket/ Hyde)
Paul Goodison (Mach2/ North)
Neil Baker (Mach 2/ KA)
Full results are can be found here: Stokes Bay Moth 2014 Results
The moth fleet would like to thank Stokes Bay Sailing Club for their hospitality and best effort to get some racing in despite the challenging conditions and SailTek for their support of the event and for donating excellent and much appreciated prizes.
The final Grand Prix event before the worlds is at Stone SC on the 21/22nd of June which will give the fleet a final opportunity to line up against each other before the Hayling Island World Championships in July.
Phil Oligario on behalf of Chris Rashley
Photos courtesy of Alex Cheshire