This year the 42 boats that entered headed for their first visit to lovely Llandudno Sailing Club for their National Championships over the weekend of 2nd – 4th July once again generously sponsored by EFG Private Bank. This was always going to be interesting for the class”“ the MKII Supernova pitched up in numbers against the MK1’s on a sea venue.
Friday was the practice race followed by 2 points races. It was blowing top end of F4 with gusts at F6 and the wind would not behave, crawling around the compass. It was 2 hrs on the water before the practice race got started (and that was a general recall ““ certainly not the last of the day!) by which time 9 boats or their helms had had enough. After the practice race ““ which was one lap of the inverted “P” course favoured by the Supernova Class, it was down to business. At the end of a long day which finally saw the black flag outed ““ it was consistency all the way with Travellers Champ, Richard Pakes taking two bullets ““ showing some astonishing off wind speed, Multi-National Champ Mike Gibson despite a textbook port end start in race 2 finished with two 2nds, big wind specialist “Bruce” Howett with two 3rds and current National Champ and class builder Mark Hartley with two 4ths.
Day 2 dawned with slightly less wind (F4 and steady) and more sun, with the wind wanting to stay in one place. It was one on those days when you realised why you love dinghy sailing. It doesn’t get much better than this. A bigger fleet took to the water with some having carried out repairs overnight. For today the fleet behaved themselves and the black flag was not needed. Mike Gibson dominated race 3, with Richard Pakes never one to lead from the front grinding his way through the fleet to take 2nd. Race 4 saw Mark Hartley find his form, getting in front and staying in the boat in both of the remaining races. Paul Undrell showing some great upwind speed and some astute choices to take a well deserved 2nd. Mike Gibson recovered from a bizarre capsize at the windward mark to take 3rd. In race 5 the wind just dropped off a bit and light wind specialist Cliff Milliner took 2nd with Mike Gibson in 3rd again.
Everyone came off the water, tired and beaming with a tale to tell. Even some on the Masters and above were heard to utter the young persons word “awesome”. It was off the bar and to await Sailwave to pick out the bones from the days results. And it was Richard Pakes , still ahead of Mike Gibson on count back. As the results went up on the board so did the forecast for Sunday ““ and it looked grim.
Arriving on the prom Sunday morning there was a lot of white on the water. The further you looked out the whiter it got. The forecast had come true. There were scores still to be settled but Windguru had gone from green to orange and above. The decision to cancel was generally agreed to be right. People and boats stayed in one piece.
Thus the Supernova Nation Championship at last went to Richard Pakes a well deserved and popular winner. With Mike Gibson in 2nd and also 1st Master ( > 50) and Mark Hartley in 3rd. Silver fleet winner was class chairman Paul Earnshaw (8th), 1st veteran (> 60) was Richard Hartley (12th) and 1st lady was Lesley Jeanes (27th) just one point separating her from 2nd lady Helen Brittan.
Many thanks to Lllandudno SC who showed themselves to be a proper sailing club, with good organisation off the water, well drilled in getting on and off the water. Busy in the rescue boats and dogged and efficient in making sure that the the courses were superb. And of course hospitable and welcoming in the clubhouse. We all want to go back.
The Supernova MK2 has been a great boost for the class and there were concerns that its stiffness and self draining cockpit would set it apart from the MK1 ““ especially on the sea. Not so. The mix of results throughout the fleet showed that this class is still very much a one-design and has a great future.