Updated: 7 days ago
The Royal Lymington Yacht Club played host to the highly anticipated Hamble Yacht Services Cape 31 National Championship this weekend. The championship took place over three days, with 26 Cape 31s racing and featured a series of seven races in the stunning waters of Christchurch Bay.
With a completely different podium from Round One at the RORC’s Vice Admiral’s Cup, Tony Dickin’s Jubilee was crowned the 2023 Cape 31 National Champions.
The event attracted top-notch sailors from across the country, all vying for the coveted title of National Champion in the Cape 31 Class. The Race Team, led by Peter Saxton, ran a series of adrenaline-fueled races, testing the competitors and providing close, intense racing. Day One brought amazing conditions in Christchurch Bay, and the teams were excited to get out there.
Three action-packed races with gusts up to 22 knots made for a perfect playground for the Cape 31s. The first race of the event was taken by Nick Phillip’s Chaotic, with the next two being picked up by Jubilee. The day was won by the Bartholomew’s Tokoloshe with a fairly consistent 6, 3, 3. There were some top results for Corinthian teams Motions and Bodfather on Day One. Round 1 winners Shotgunn started the day off well with a third, but a black flag in race three made the start of their regatta difficult.
Day Two was as challenging for the Race Team as it was for the competitors. There were two races, one with a moderate breeze from the southeast and one in light conditions from the south. Jubilee continued their streak with a bullet in the first race, and Gelert took the second bullet of the day. Sandy Askew’s Flying Jenny continued their consistent performance to hold onto third place going into the final day. Lance Adams' second place in the final race on Katabatic wasn’t enough to get him onto the podium but he was pleased to take fourth in a fleet of this size. Other notable performances came from Guy Gillon’s Khumbu, who podiumed in race five after leading race four for three legs of the race.
It all came down to the last race for the regatta title. Jubilee were 8 points clear but needed a good race to seal the deal. With Tokoloshe taking their first bullet of the season in the last race, Jubilee sealed the National Championship by two points.
Tony Dickin, owner of Jubilee, said, “Very nerve-wracking last race, Tokoloshe had a flyer leaving us to make sure we finished within 8 points of them. We were worried off the line but it came good for us, and we got into the top 8/9 at the top mark.”
Jubilee picked up the top prizes, including the Hamble Yacht Services Trophy, a beautiful painting commissioned by the Class by Sarah Hornby, B&G Nemesis Display, Harken Cool bag, and Limited Edition Mount Gay Event Caps. Second place was claimed by Tokoloshe and third Sandy Askew's Flying Jenny.
The Corinthian prize came down to the last race, with Anthony O’Leary’s ANTIX coming out on top, followed by David Cummin’s Flurg and Dan O’Grady’s Aja in second and third place, respectively, with just 6 points between first and third.
Anthony O'Leary's ANTIX - First Corinthian
The top traveling boat award was given to Christian Schwoerer’s La Pericolosa. The team from Italy and Germany put on an impressive performance considering it was the first time racing their new boat. Harken Block bracelets were awarded to the women in the top three teams. The Cape 31 Class is proud to have so many women competing throughout the class and hopes to continue to provide opportunities for everyone in high-performance racing.
Organized by the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and the Cape 31 Class, the Cape 31 National Championship was a true celebration of the sailing community, bringing together seasoned sailors, rising stars, and passionate enthusiasts. The event not only showcased impressive talent but also fostered camaraderie, sportsmanship, and a shared love for sailing. With Mount Gay bar, Harken Dock Drinks and Regatta Dinner on shore, it was almost as fun off the water as it was on.
“The Royal Lymington Yacht Club is delighted to have hosted a very successful Cape 31 National Regatta this last weekend," said Nick Ryley, Event Coordinator for the Royal Lymington. "Racing out in Christchurch Bay, this extensive body of water offered everything from Champagne sailing to light, shifty, and wet conditions, providing testing conditions to make the 26-boat fleet work for every place on the leaderboard. Ashore, the nearly 200 crew members enjoyed the hospitality of the club. It looks as though this will not be the last time that the Capes visit Lymington; the club looks forward to 2024."
The Cape 31 National Championship would not have been possible without the generous support of our class partners: B&G, North Sails, Quantum Sails, Doyle Sails, Peters & May, and our Silver and Bronze Partners. Their commitment to sailing and their belief in fostering excellence in the sport is instrumental in making the race circuit and this event a success.
The Cape 31 National Championship in Lymington was a top event that showcased the level of sailing talent and sportsmanship within the class. We look forward to racing in the Bay again soon!