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Flying Fifteen Spanish Championships

 
Balearic Championships held in the Bay of Pollenca, the jewel of the Balearic Islands

Michael Clough and Jonny Fullerton took the title, ahead of James Waugh and Neil Botha after four races were completed in a wide range of conditions.

Puerto Pollenca served up the whole gamut of weather conditions including, sunshine, humidity, thunder, lightning and torrential rain on the Bay of Pollenca at Mallorca between Friday 14 and Sunday 16 September.

Friday was a typical humid sunny morning with a light and shifty breeze from the N/NE, with a sea-breeze by the time racing started.

In the first race Clough and Fullerton (Speedy Gonzales) worked the shifts to take a handsome lead at the first mark. The majority of the fleet chose to go offshore (right) and came to the mark in a bunch.

Clough and Fullerton held on for the race win followed by David and Corinne Miles (Stormtrooper IV) with third going to James Waugh and Neil Botha (Puff), who are new to the fleet and showing good pace around the course.

The second race of the day was held in a fading late afternoon breeze in warm sunshine and clear blue skies for which the bay of Pollenca is renowned. Another clear start and a shifty upwind saw the same boats trading for the lead, but Waugh and Botha showing a clean pair of heels to the rest of the fleet.

Saturday looked much more menacing with the skies already looking very threatening by lunchtime. Race 3 began in a similar light to moderate shifty sea breeze from the NE/E sector.

A clean start but a very tricky first leg with constant shifts and changes in pressure. By the final (w/l) leg the sky was turning black and the thunder was groaning over the mountains at nearby Alcudia.

To make matters worse the wind shut down at various locations on course. Frustrating, this left Clough and Fullerton parked up at the top mark in no wind.

The fleet closed up but as Clough and Fullerton crawled towards the finish line with collapsed kite and with Waugh and Botha, and Paco Palmer and Jaume Pujades (Spanish Fly) inching along to close the gap, the heaven’s opened with torrential rain, brutal lightning and ear bursting thunder.

The faint breeze turned 180 degrees leaving Clough and Fullerton to creep over the line with Palmer and Pujades managing to locate the line to finish second.

The summer storm was so severe that racing had to be curtailed for the day, several boats filled up with water from the ‘golf ball’ size rain drops and sailors complained that their compasses were rotating, causing it to be very hard to locate the shore!

All however made their way home looking like drowned rats.

Having dried out overnight the final day had a similar forecast for light to moderate winds from E/SE and possible thunder storms. Race 4 got underway with another angry looking thunder storm forming over Alcudia.

Clough and Fullerton led a tight bunch, but Palmer and Pujades led the race on all legs throughout the triangle and set off up the final sausage leg when the thunder storm again started to roar.

As the rain pounded down and the lightning struck again the race committee halted the race abruptly at the windward mark.

Clough and Fullerton tacked on a rather lucky shift to cross Palmer and Pujades, and Scott Walker and Andrew Harvey (Ffiel Good) just before the finish to close out the championship with three wins and a third.

The thunderstorm was a repeat of the previous days drama with the whole fleet limping ashore in the monsoon conditions.

Flying Fifteen Spanish Championships - Overall Results (Top 6)

1st ESP 3804 Michael Clough/Jonny Fullerton - 1,3,1,1 = 6pts
2nd ESP 3724 James Waugh/Neil Botha - 3,1,3,4 = 11pts
3rd ESP 3825 Paco Palmer/Jaume Pujades - 7,2,2,3 = 14pts
4th ESP 3763 Scott Walker/Andrew Harvey - 4,5,5,2 = 16pts
5th ESP 3728 Stephen Parry/Theresa Parry - 5, RDG/5,6,5 = 21pts
6th ESP 4058 David Miles/Corinne Miles - 2,4,DNF,7 = 23pts

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