Spider Pig quartet secure thrilling victory in final leg

2013 champions Spider Pig fend off a challenge from runners-up Tearaway at Rutland Water'Photo: Mike Wilce
2013 champions Spider Pig fend off a challenge from runners-up Tearaway at Rutland Water'Photo: Mike Wilce
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Spider Pig, sailed by a quartet from Royal Windermere YC, has become the sixth boat to win the Hunter Formula One National Championships at Rutland Water.

Eleven crews, including nine from Rutland Sailing Club, competed from Friday until Sunday with three previous winners in the line-up.

But it was Spider Pig, skippered by Northern Championships winner James Nield, along with Richard Pratt, Peter Frith and James Longden who were triumphant after three days’ racing in strong winds, sealing the championship on the final race.

Friday’s first race set the tone for the event with close racing all the way through to the finish line with defending champions Tearaway, from Rutland SC, crewed by Bruce Bonar, Andrew Bonar, Graham Colam and David Ashworth narrow winners. Apocalypse, also from Rutland and crewed by Nick Bett, Declan Flanagan, Mark Webb and Tom Roden, were a close second. Third was Evolution from Rutland Sailing Club crewed by 2011 National Champion Josh Wilce, Fiona Wilce, Matt Hollis and Hannah Moss.

Eventual winners Spider Pig won race 2 with Tearaway and Apocalypse second and third in difficult conditions.

Rutland Sailing Club’s former national champion, Kingfisher, crewed by Chris Wright, Will Hall, Dave and Liam Borrett won race 3 but Spider Pig consolidated their overall position with second place.

The three back-to-back races on Saturday tested skills, nerve and stamina in winds of 20 knots and gusts far higher.

Throughout the day’s races, the leading four boats were consistently within a minute of each other with Tearaway winning races 4 and 5, and Spider Pig taking a second and third. Race 6 was won by Spider Pig to cut Tearaway’s overall lead to two points.

Spider Pig began Sunday with a victory in race 7 with Tearaway third, which left the top two level on points.

The team from Cumbria then won a tremendous battle in the final race, showing slick handling to pull five lengths clear after the final windward mark.

Bruce Bonar, whose Tearway took second spot thanked Nick Bett, Bob Glennie and everybody else who helped make the races a success.