Smith and Needham make early charge

The UK duo, Andy Smith and Tim Needham, carried the form shown in winning Keil Week last month into the first two races of the 505 UK national championships.    With a first and a second place they top the leader board at the end of the first day.  However, there is little danger of complacency in their boat, as defending World Champion, Mike Holt, crewed by Carl Smit, from the USA scored an emphatic victory in Race 1, and were never far away in Race 2, finally ending up fourth.
 
The conditions were just about perfect for the 96 boats that came to the start, with the earlier gloomy conditions giving way to a bright afternoon, with a solid 12 knot breeze across the race track in Weymouth Bay giving good planning conditions off wind.  Others showing strongly at this stage include class stalwarts, Ian Pinnell and Alex Davies, and returning double World Champions, Mark Upton-Brown and Ian Mitchell.   The Danish team of Nikolaj Hoffmann Buhl and Henrik Buhl also showed good speed and if it had not been for a navigation error which caused them to round the wrong mark in the first race they would also have been up with the early leaders.
 
The UK championship is also serving as an amuse-bouche for the SAP Championship series starting on Saturday and running through until 5 August, which has over 140 entries from 14 different countries.  Some of the leading contenders for the worlds are still either to arrive or are using the UK series as an opportunity to fettle their boats, so we can expect the competition to start hotting up soon.
 
 
 
Defending World Champion, Mike Holt and Carl Smit on the charge at Weymouth © Christophe Favreau
Early leaders, Smith and Needham © Christophe Favreau