DOZENS of local sailors turned out over the Bank Holiday weekend for the return of GJW Direct SailFest.
Organised by Gosport-based SailRacer, the event offered a pioneering combination of mixed-class racing and shore-based workshops across three days at Calshot Activity Centre.
For the first time, the multi-class event this year welcomed the inaugural D-Zero nationals and the RAF SA Regatta – alongside the headline GJW Direct SailFest regatta.
Despite some shifty conditions, the organisers managed to fit in the full complement of eight races.
D-Zero designer Dan Holman delivered a masterclass in sailing his new boat in breeze, to take the honour of first-ever D-Zero national champion, with Ian Morgan and David Somerville completing the podium.
In the title competition, Finn sailor Cameron Tweddle produced some strong performances in ideal conditions on the final two days to secure victory from second-placed ISO sailors John Gill and Julie Daniels, with Jon Tweedle – also in a Finn – taking third.
Tweddle claimed a second trophy in the 2015 RAF SA regatta, which saw him emerge victorious over Tweedle in second, with the RS400 of Steve Bales and James Sargeant taking the third spot on the podium.
Alongside its packed on-the-water schedule, SailFest has gained a reputation for providing extensive off-the-water activities.
This year, RYA coach Chris Taylor provided a brief on expected conditions on the race course, followed later by a detailed debrief of the racing, with these sessions proving very popular.
Principal race officer David Henshall believes the shifty conditions made for a weekend of top-level sailing.
He said: ‘Despite some challenging combinations of light winds, tides and the departing cruise liners, I felt that the three days delivered up some superb racing for everyone.
‘This was a great opportunity for some fun sailing, not only against boats from the same class but other classes of a similar nature.
‘I look forward to being involved with this event again – and I hope to be seeing many more boats in future.’