Nov 8, 2012

UK Tornado Nats 2012

Sent by Andrew Dowley -- 2012 Zhik UK Tornado National Championships
The General Lee takes victory again with a different Daisy Duke.
14 Tornados made their way to Weston Sailing club this weekend for the annual Tornado National Championships sponsored by Zhik.

The sailors were greeted with a variable wind forecast on Friday between 8 and 22 knots with sunshine all day. Three races were scheduled starting at midday to allow the sailors to build and prepare their boats.

Race one was held in 20 knots of wind with John Ready and James Polinghole starting the event well with a bullet, they were followed by Grant Piggott and Simon Farren then Michaela and Andrew Dowley. Rich Thoroughgood and Kevin Lott had their first Tornado swim in the race also managing to break a centreboard along the way which unfortunately put them out for the rest of the day.

Race two and three were won by Grant Piggot who was sailing in his local waters, this left him at the top of the leader board at the end of day one with John Ready and James Polinghole two points behind.

Further down the fleet Barry Arnison and Nicole Davy were putting in a consistent effort with two 9th places and a 10th.

The class AGM was held on Friday night where a new committee were put in place with Rich Thoroughgood taking over as class Chairman from Lee Harrison. Thanks go to Lee for his hard work over the past few years.
After the AGM Weston put on a fireworks show and then the majority of the fleet went into Hamble for some dinner together.

On Saturday the Weston Cat Open also started so the class were joined by other catamaran sailors with 3 starts scheduled. Race officer Stuart Offer was keen to get racing complete as soon as possible so put in place a black flag rule for everyone if one fleet were over the line. The Tornados didn't start too well with a general recall, putting the pressure on the other fleets starting later (sorry). After the general recall the Tornados were put to the back of the pack.

5 laps were on the board for the first race but they were shortened to two and a 20 minute race. Unfortunately for John Ready and his crew, they were leading but missed the shortened course flag and gave up their lead to Grant and Simon.

In the second race a port hand flyer off the line looked like the best approach with a port bias start line. Only a few of the sailors did this with the rest of the fleet having to put in an early tack to pass through the start line. At the end of the race Russel Belben and Dave Bates missed the finish line going the wrong side of the buoy giving their fourth place to Michaela and Andrew Dowley.

In the last race of the day Pete Jary and Tim Roden fought their way to the front to take the victory ahead of the series leaders.

On Saturday night the sailing club put up some shots and prizes for those who had some issues on the water. Steve Glynn was the lucky culprit from the Tornado Class. While sailing on Friday with a different crew he thought the crew was shouting Orange Rope but instead the crew was shouting Orange Boat. Luckily a collision with Grant and Fraz in the General Lee was narrowly missed!


We knew Sunday was going to be a windy one, the day started with a base wind of 28 knots with gusts of 38, however, the forecast said it was due to drop to nothing. After a short delay the race officer couldn't wait anymore and the fleet hit the water with the wind calming to around 20 knots.

The first race was still very gusty but by the finish the wind was disappearing, this meant a quick trip back to shore to swap those hard battens for a few teams. Some of the other fleets got caught short in the light airs causing a delay to the start of what was to be the 8th and last race of the event.

By the time the race started it was light and shifty which meant places were changing with some sailors heading up the shore and others into the channel. For many this was their worst race apart from Barry Arnison and Nicole Davy who took 5th. Paul and Robert Palmer finished 3rd with their best result of the event which made up for the breakage in the previous race.

Grant and Fraz managed to break their recent pattern of 2nd place in events and took the championships with a well deserved victory. This is Grants 3rd Tornado National Championships in a row, the General Lee appears to be unbeatable, even with a different Daisy Duke.

Rich Thoroughgood put the key message of the class forward with his statement at the end of day two. "For those of you that have Tornados in the UK and don't turn up to the events through fear of not being competitive, I am last and am having a ball." The Tornado class are very keen to bring everyone together, no matter what mast you have, how old your boat is or how many sails you have, you are welcome at all Tornado events, come and join in the fun!!

Overall results

1st – Grant Piggott and Simon Farren – Weston SC
2nd – John Ready and James Polinghole – Dabchicks SC
3rd – Aaron Young and Rob Butterfield – Timarau
4th – Pete Jary and Tim Roden – Weston SC
5th – Michaela and Andrew Dowley – Marconi SC
6th – Paul and Robert Palmer – Thorpe Bay YC
7th – Russel Belben and David Bates – Stokes Bay SC
8th – Paul Mines and Stuart Smith – Brightlingsea SC
9th – David Parker and Scott Cleary – Dalgety Bay SC
10th – Barry Arnison and Nicole Davy (The Rope Puller) - Grafham Water SC
11th – Chris Schiel and Ivo Jovakovich – Beached Cat
12th – Mark and Luke Baker – Weston SC
13th – Steve Glynn and Tom Duckmanton – Marconi SC
14th – Rich Thoroughgood and Kevin Lott – Weston SC

1st Foreigner Trophy - David Parker and Scott Cleary (Scotland)
Best New Comer - Russel Belben and David Bates
Challenge Cup (increases annually) - Chris Schiel and Ivo Jovakovich

Thank you to Zhik for once again supporting the class, not one person went home empty handed without a fantastic prize from Zhik. Thanks also to everyone at Weston for a great job and well run event.

For more information about Zhik sailing clothing please go to

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