2016 UK Tornado National Championships

A mixed bag of conditions for the 8 boats at Stokes Bay

Over the weekend of 10th and 11th September six Tornados and their crew made their way to Stokes Bay to join in racing with two local boats.

After arriving and rigging on Friday afternoon some of the sailors headed to Gosport’s finest curry house to start the nationals in style.


With early morning rigging complete the fleet launched at 12.30 for a 1pm start. The wind was blowing around 18 knots from the South straight over the Isle of Wight and onto the Stokes Bay shore.

Visibility was poor and the rain was starting to come down harder, this was going to be an interesting day on the water.

The first race started and with some boats being late out they were playing catch up from the start of the race all the way through to the end.  Locals Russ Belben and Dave Bates had an unfortunate issue where the main sail started to come out of the mast track which caused them some challenges meaning they had to retire early from the day. It was close at the top of the fleet with plenty position changes but it was Simon Northrop and Stuart Smith who took the race victory after 3 laps.

In the second race of the day the breeze was building and it seemed to increase as the fleet went further upwind towards the Isle of Wight. The gusts caused many thrills and spills with Kevin Dutch and David Oakley performing one of the fastest pitch poles. They however managed to pull back through the fleet into second place towards the end of the race. It was during this race that the top gust of 29 knots (Force 7) came through the fleet. By this time there were only 3 boats left standing with Simon and Stuart taking the win again.

After the second race with the wind at its strongest the race officer decided that two races was enough for the day, especially with the large majority of the fleet limping back to shore.


Sunday morning was a complete opposite to Saturday with beautiful sunshine and no wind at all. This allowed the sailors some time to ensure their boats were ready for what looked like a lighter day.

After an hour or so of waiting the committee boat moved from its position just off the shore and went wind hunting. With the forecast showing the breeze picking up a little later it wasn’t long before the flag came down and the Tornados hit the water for the last day.

Sunday produced the closest Tornado racing we’ve seen for a number of years in champagne conditions. The breeze built all day with a perfect temperature.

Race one of the day saw Kevin Dutch and David Oakley take the victory with positions 2, 3 and 4 finishing within just a few seconds. It was the approach to the final mark which made the difference with Steve Glynn and Tom Gall approaching on starboard to push Michaela Dowley from 2nd to 4th.

Race two started with a close bunch up on the line at the committee boat end but surprisingly nobody was over the line. After taking the inside track straight down to the shore it was Michaela and Andrew Dowley who lead the race from the first upwind leg all the way to the end winning by over a minute. Second were Simon Northrop and Stuart Smith then followed by Kevin Dutch and David Oakley.

Race three, was going to be all to play for. Simon Northrop just had to finish in front of Kevin Dutch to take the national championships. Steve Glynn and Tom Duckmanton were over the line when the gun went so had to head back and play catch up.

Unfortunately up the first beat the internal mainsheet broke on Simon Northrops boat meaning they simply couldn’t sheet in enough to get up wind, they limped on for a bit but then decided to call it a day and head for home settling for second place. Again it was Kevin and David who took the win and finishing off a great series followed by Michaela and Andrew Dowley.

In race three it was noticeable how much speed Kevin Dowley and Tom Brooks had added to their racing over the weekend, they finished in a solid 4th place, their best result of the weekend. They celebrated this by hitting a gust after the finish and taking an early ice bath in the Solent. Whoops!

Hats off to Olivia Duckmanton our youngest crew of the weekend at just 15 years old, she dealt with some interesting conditions in her first national championships.

A big thank you to Stokes Bay Sailing Club for putting on a great event with two days of excellent racing.

Full Results

Rank Sail No Helm Crew Club Race_1 Race_2 Race_3 Race_4 Race_5 Nt Pts
1 435 Kevin Dutch David Oakley Seasalter SC 2 2 1 (3) 1 6
2 419 Simon Northrop Stuart Smith Brightlingsea SC 1 1 5 2 (9/DNF) 9
3 415 Michaela Dowley Andrew Dowley Marconi SC (4) 3 4 1 2 10
4 406 Tom Gall Seb Samways Stokes Bay SC 3 (9/DNF) 3 5 3 14
5 450 Steve Glynn Tom Duckmanton Marconi SC (9/DNC) 9/DNC 2 4 5 20
6 398 Kevin Dowley Tom Brooks Marconi SC 5 (9/DNF) 7 6 4 22
7 403 Barry Arnison Olivia Duckmanton Marconi SC (9/DNF) 9/DNF 6 7 6 28
8 440 Russ Belben Dave Bates Stokes Bay SC (9/DNC) 9/DNS 9/DNF 9/DNS 9/DNS 36

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