Royal Torbay YC, 11-13 September

Report on the final day’s racing.

The start of Race 8 on Day 3

Another lovely sunrise over Torbay – but a flat calm. Not good for sailing. The H2 fleet launched on time and spent an hour or so waiting for some pressure – which duly appeared from the south at about 11:30. The final two races took place in a 10 knot breeze amid sparkling seas – superb sailing weather. If Richard Leftley could win the last two races he would be the champion but Ian Sanderson was determined to keep his slender overnight lead. Richard’s windward superiority in a breeze was soon made apparent as he rounded the weather mark in first place, followed by  Adrian Williams and Andrew McGaw, with Ian Sanderson trailing in seventh place. Ian made up several places downwind and was second at the leeward mark but he could not catch Richard, who scored his fourth win of the event. Simon Hipkin sailed consistently well for third place, with Ian Dawson fourth.

Richard Leftley Crosses Ian Sanderson, Race 7, Day 3

The 8th and last race soon started in similar conditions to race 7. Again, Richard was first to the windward mark but this time Ian was a little closer. Nonetheless, Richard maintained his lead and at the start of the final run had a 100 metre lead over Ian, followed by Andrew McGaw and Ian Dawson. With just a few hundred metres to the finish, Ian had narrowed the deficit to 50 metres but it seemed that he would have to relinquish his title to Richard. But Fate likes to play tricks – whether it was a gust from astern or Ian finding another gear, the gap narrowed rapidly in the approach to the final mark and Ian reached across Richard’s stern, did a smart gybe and took the inside berth at the mark. Ian rounded ahead of Richard and received the winning gun just 3 seconds ahead of his rival. So after three days, 8 races and several hours of racing, the Championship was won by a margin of 3 seconds. It was a fitting climax to a great event in which all competitors played a full part – there being no more than 3 minutes separating first and last in most races.

Ian Sanderson and Richard Leftley

Ian Sanderson’s H2’s sail number – 111 now matches his championship wins – 3 in a row.

Special mention must go to Ian Dawson, who finished in third place over all and also won the Grand Master’s Trophy for the first helm aged 65 to 69. In fact he finished ahead of the winner of the Master’s Trophy (60-64) – Andrew McGaw, who finished was  fourth. But all competitors sailed very well and almost all finished within shouting distance of the two front runners on occasion.

Richard Leftley leads up the first beat of the final race.

Back ashore the distanced prizegiving provided multiple prizes for all competitors – thanks to our sponsors, Allen Brothers.

The Hadron H2 Class Association thanks all the volunteers and staff of the Royal Torbay YC who provided us with a great courses and fine hospitality. Special thanks go to PRO Bob Penfold and his team, who always managed to second guess the shifty conditions and set perfect courses.  The launching and recovery in a busy harbour was very efficiently managed by Richard Walden – a master of diplomacy and persuasion.


The Hadron H2 class was be represented at the Endeavour Trophy ‘Champion of Champions’ event, held over the weekend of 12-13 October at Burnham on Crouch. The event, hosted by the Royal Corinthian YC,  was sailed in RS200s – a dinghy which is very familiar to our representative, Jack Holden. Jack came a very close second in the H2 Nationals in 2019 and is deputising for National Champion Ian Sanderson, who has work commitments. Jack’s crew for the event was Sam Mottershead; after the event Jack gave us the following feedback!

Jack Holden with his H2

“A thank you for allowing me to represent the Hadron H2 at the Endeavour trophy, 2019.

Fantastic event with exceptional competition in which we managed to come home 9th overall which I am really pleased with from a first attempt. From the 8 boats in front of us (16 sailors) 10 were or had been professional sailors.

I always think to myself at a Nationals that if I had a time machine and did the nationals a second time the day after it ended, I would have easily won every race because I would know exactly what the wind was doing. At the Endeavour however, you realise that if you went back a second time you still wouldn’t win because the quality of racing is so high and the front sailors simply wont make big mistakes…Annoyingly!

A surprising number of boats knew the Hadron H2 and had good things to say about the boat. I think for the relatively short time this boat has been in existence, it has built a solid reputation and it is becoming known as a good, well designed and well built boat with tough competition. I think it is very easy for a boat to get a bad reputation for things like breakages or level of competition, especially in its early days so don’t take this lightly. It is something to be proud of that the class is being well received.

Day 1: A very light wind day, learning the venue while trying to race! LOTS of tide which turned during the six hour day, making things very tricky.

Best bit of the day: Simply being in the mix with some of the best sailors in the world was enough.

Worst bit of the day: Not being able to go round the windward mark because of no wind and lots of tide. Very embarrassing. Luckily we had a silver medallist next to us who was also struggling.

How to have improved: Lose 3 stone, be better at gaining the little places. It’s the 1 point here and 1 point there that pushes your result up, not being the fastest boat.  

Day 2: A medium, eventually going to very windy day with lots of tide against you downwind in strong breeze.

Best bit of the day: Watching some of the best sailors capsize the boat in dramatic style and making you realise everyone makes mistakes.

Worse bit of the day: When we dropped the kite and tacked round because I felt we were going too fast to gybe!!!……… Don’t judge me.

How to have improved: Not being aggressive enough or willing to take more risk on start lines to try to achieve a better start.

Thank you again for allowing me to represent the class. It was an honour.