Here we are at the end of another season. It has been a mixed season with reasonable attendance at the 707 open meetings, a good fleet for the BSC Wednesday evening series but a poor response for the weekend club racing, with the only consistent entries being Swallow and Beaver Hunter, the later cleaning up most of the trophies.
The BSC Wednesday evening series was extremely competitive with Roger Martin sailing Blowfish the series winner again. The RCYC Easter regatta was held with the very best of weather and despite only managing 5 boats with 1 visitor (Outlaw from the North East), good racing was had over 3 days, with Richard Bavin in great form taking the series from Outlaw 2nd and Beaver Hunter 3rd.
There were eight boats out for the Eastern Area Championships, held at the Club from 30th April to 2nd May, with two visitors from Hartlepool & one from Scarborough. After the perfect sailing conditions of the previous few days and an excellent Beer Festival at the RCYC, it came as a bit of a shock to have to sail in 27 plus knots of wind on the first day. The heavy weather continued for the rest of the weekend causing racing to be abandoned on the Monday. There was spectacular sailing and great course setting by Race Officer Kim Allen and with 5 races sailed for the championship the final results were Paul Gray in Beaver Hunter 1st, Richard Bavin in Race Horse 2nd, Dave Boatman in Outlaw 3rd, John Lewis 4th in Baby Beluga and Tom Patrick in Stormchaser 5th
The Northern Area Championships for the class were hosted superbly at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club at Blyth over three days 8th to 10th July as part of their East Coast Week Regatta. Sadly only five 707s made the trip (it is a long way from Burnham) three local(ish) boats, one from Scotland and Beaver Hunter. We were warmly welcomed on the Thursday evening, after our long journey, with pie, chips & peas, cheap beer and a brilliant but very loud band! The sailing conditions were good on Friday, although with a bit of a north sea swell which was much better than the day before when the East Coast Week racing was curtailed due to the loss of the course buoys in the conditions. Racing was close throughout the day with Beaver Hunter having a slight advantage on points over Outlaw at the end of the day. Saturday emerged! Rain, shifting light winds, swell & hangovers! Still the first race got off to a good start with the Beaver Hunter taking its third win of the series. After three hours of thunder storms and no wind, with two attempted starts, the rest of the racing was abandoned for the day. 'Pimms Nite' & curry followed! Sunday produced a decent breeze and no swell. With three wins Beaver Hunter could still be beaten by Outlaw with two races still to go, however a second place in the fourth race was enough to secure the title for Paul Gray in Beaver Hunter, with Outlaw second and Sharkey third.
The Packard Ladies Cup was sailed in 707s, for which thanks go to all the owners who loaned their boats to the Lady Drivers for the race, which was won by Mutley, Teresa Wilkes, 2nd Beaver Hunter, Sally Gray 3rd Baby Beluga, Lynn Frost, 4th Aquaholic, Jane O'Brien, 5th Stroppy Cow, Katie Cole and 6th Swallow, Sarah Giles. The Charity Regatta saw a poor turnout of only 2 boats but good racing was had by all, with the honours going to Paul Gray in Beaver Hunter wining all 3 races in the series from John Lewis in Baby Beluga. The Phantom Trophy saw three entries, the honours going to Race Horse and Richard Bavin, 2nd Beaver Hunter, Paul Gray and 3rd Baby Beluga, John Lewis.
The 2011 707 National Championship between 21st-24th August were hosted by the Scarborough Yacht Club for a resurgent 707 fleet. With a local fleet of 9 boats and visitors from Scotland, Hartlepool, Burnham and Hamble, it made interesting competition for those involved. Titled sponsorship from The Barbican and also Gill, Harken, Elvstrom and many others, gave the venue a competitive edge on and off the water.
Mixed weather and shifting winds, not only gave RYA Race Officer John Poulson some difficult decisions to make but also the whole fleet a chance, rather than the usual front runners. Eventually defending three times champion Jon Powell sailing Betty from Warsash Sailing Club with our class secretary aboard, won the event with local boat Storm Chaser, Tom Patrick, hot on his heels in second. Third was Scottish Champion Stewart Robertson in his well prepared Cacciatore and our Paul Gray in Beaver Hunter fresh from winning both the Eastern and Northern Champs pursued them with good boat speed, finishing in fourth.
I have now taken on the role of East Coast Rep. So as well as the Burnham fleet I will be looking after the east coast area, which will include the proposal to hold the National Championships at Stone. 2011 has been a good year for the 707’s at the Club and thanks go to all those that have supported and helped the fleet throughout the season. Now looking forward to 2012.