Weymouth + Portland Harbour

Home of the Olympic sailing 2012

WPNSA, Osprey Quay, Portland, Dorset, DT5 1SA

Miracle National Championship 2013

11th to 16th August 2013

One practice race will be held before the first race to allow everyone to test the venue and set up your boats.

10 races held over 6 days, 8 to count.

Harken Miracle Nationals

Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy

11th to 16th August 2013

Forty Miracles arrived at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy for their National Championships, sponsored by Harken and Gibson Sails, to be greeted by sunshine and 10-14 knots of wind.  Special mention goes to Marcel and Giulia Neuteboom who travelled from the Netherlands to be one of the first international entries to the UK Nationals. (Miracles are sailed in many countries including Australia, Malta and the Netherlands, although they are strongest in the UK).

Day 1 - Sunday - Practice race and Race 1

Sunshine and 10-14 knots of wind

Practice Race

The practice race got away with pre-championship favourites Jeremy Davy and Ethan Plank, sailing their Butler boat, coming out of the starboard end of the line to lead around the windward mark.  They were followed by Sam Mettam and Geoff Phillips sailing their new Boatcraft boat and Nick and Indigo Smith in a Kelly boat.  The leading three boats managed to get away from the main pack, and finished in that order, despite some place changing between Mettam/Phillips and the Smiths.

Race 1

In Race 1, with slightly less breeze, Davy and Plank once more led around the first mark followed by Richard and Katy Byne.  Dave Butler sailed an excellent first leg only to arrive at the windward mark at the lead of a group of boats who had gone left on port with the bulk of the fleet arriving on starboard.  Slots were few and far between and several front runners got caught out including Dave himself.  On the second beat the Smiths got through the Bynes.  Further down the top 10 Ally & Harry Jones and Martin & Abby Huett were showing good speed in their new Butler boats.

The competitors retired to the club for a well-attended Quiz, won by the 'Weymouth Wizards'. Some competitors needed to be careful on the race start line the next day though as the Race Officer's Bar team suffered a shocking defeat!

Day 2 – Monday – Races 2 & 3

Shifty north-westerly mixes up the results

Day 2 dawned with a forecast of 10-15 knots from the north west, more sunshine and a photographer, Fotoboat. Hopefully a recipe for some good photos!

Race 2

Race 2 started in around 10 knots of breeze.  A big left hand wind shift just before the start gave a big advantage to the boats that started down the port end of the line, but it was followed by a big right hand shift that allowed sister team Tracy Amos and Karen Smailes, who had started at the starboard end and taken advantage of the tide flooding through the harbour entrance, to lead at the windward mark.  Hot on their heals were Ally & Harry Jones and Sam Mettam & Geoff Phillips (Sam having had a short swim on the way up to the mark when his 2mm toestrap rope proved less wear resistant than planned).  Unfortunately the Jones tried to squeeze through a gap that wasn’t there and ended up actually round the mark in 12th with Mettam and Phillips also caught up in the aftermath.  In the meantime, Richard and Katy Byne sailed through into the lead which they held until the 3rd beat, when they were overhauled by Mettam and Phillips in an increasing breeze.

Race 3

After a short postponement to move the race course, race 3 started in 15 knots of wind with Mettam and Phillips taking a narrow lead at the windward mark from series favourites Jeremy Davy and Ethan Plank.  The lead 2 boats then extended their lead on the downwind legs.  A little further back Dave and Ross Southwell were showing their recent return to form having some excellent racing with the Jones and Neil Gibson & Keith Macey.  On the third lap a large right-hand shift and a wind drop caught out quite a few of the fleet. Mettam &and Phillips held their nerve to take the bullet from Davy and Plank, who later found out they had been OCS (On Course Side), and therefore the Southwells took 2nd and Gibson and Macey 3rd.

The sailors retired for an evening video debrief sponsored by Gibson Sails.

Day 3 – Tuesday – Races 4 & 5

Lighter Breeze for the 40 teams at Weymouth

The forecast for Tuesday was lighter breeze and more sunshine. With the

class all prepared for better teamwork after last night's coaching session

great things were expected!

Race 4

Race 4 started in 6 knots of wind with

Brian Jones and John Green taking advantage of the favoured right-hand

side of the course to lead by 20 boat lengths at the windward mark from

Jeremy Davy & Ethan Plank and Sam Mettam & Geoff Phillips.  Down the

first reach, Davy and Plank caught up enough to take water at the wing mark, with Mettam and Phillips getting through on the second reach.  Davy and Plank sailed away and extended their lead to the finish with Mettam and Phillips coming under sustained pressure from Richard and Katy Byne, but holding their second place to the finish.

Race 5

The breeze built to around 10 knots between races, suiting Ally and Harry Jones who were sailing very fast upwind to lead to the first mark followed by Davy & Plank and Mettam & Phillips, both of whom managed to sail over the top of the Jones on the first reach.  Mettam and Phillips then rolled over the top of Davy and Plank on the second reach.  Some very tight tactical racing ensued between the lead 3 boats with the lead changing another 5 or 6 times.  By the final windward mark, the Jones were once again in the lead.  Davy & Plank and Mettam & Phillips both got through at the gybe mark with Mettam and Phillips once again sailing over the top of Davy and Plank to take the win.

Once again some fantastic race management by Arky Wainwright and his team allowed the fleet to be off the water by half one having had two hour-long races. The afternoon was, therefore, spent with families before the fleet once again retired to the WPNSA bar for the second of 2 days coach debrief sponsored by Gibson Sails.

Day 4 – Wednesday – Races 6 & 7

The first day without sunshine

All good things come to an end, and unfortunately the perfect racing

conditions of sunshine and 10-12 knots of breeze gave way to drizzle.

Race 6

Race 6 started in around 12 knots of wind with Sam Mettam and

Geoff Phillips leading to the windward mark from Martin and Abby Huett

(celebrating her 11th birthday) and Richard and Fergus Pye.  The order

stayed this way for 2 laps, but series contenders Jeremy Davy and

Ethan Plank continued to apply pressure and eventually got through the

Huetts and the Pyes on the final lap to stay in touch overall with a 2nd.


Race 7

The breeze had built to around 15 knots for race 7.  Once again Mettam and Phillips lead to the first mark, this time followed by Nick & Indigo Smith and Davy & Plank.  The Smiths applied pressure to Mettam and Phillips but weren't able to break through.  By the end of the final beat, Davy and Plank had closed right up to the Smiths and got through on the reaches to take their second 2nd of the day.

With the evening designated a free evening and no official social event, an informal skittles evening was organized, where the odd sail numbers, led by Caroline Noel from Draycote Water, beat the even sail numbers, led by multiple national champion Dave Southwell from Leigh and Lowton.

Day 5 – Thursday – Races 8 & 9

Mettam & Phillips secure the title with a day to spare

The 2013 nationals is the first time an international competitor has entered the event, and therefore before racing a special presentation was made to Marcel and Giulia Neuteboom as unfortunately they had to leave after racing on Thursday and will miss the prizegiving,.

 The scene was set for some close racing as Sam Mettam and Geoff Phillips needed either 1 x 1st place or 3 x 2nd places to secure the title, whilst Davy and Plank needed to win the last 3 races and hope they got a boat in between them and Mettam and Phillips.

The day's forecast was for 15-20 knots of wind and sunshine. The first part of the forecast was almost right, and Race 8 started in 22 knots of wind but with grey skies.

Race 8

Mettam and Phillips lead to the first mark followed by

Dave Butler & Ross Fleming and Ally & Harry Jones. Mettam

and Phillips made the most of the now dropping breeze to

extend their lead by the bottom mark. Unfortunately for Butler

and Fleming, one of the final gusts before the wind died hit

them at the gybe mark and Dave showed the rest of the fleet

that he didn't just build boats, but was also an accomplished


The race progressed with Mettam and Phillips putting a loose

cover on Davy and Plank with the latter battling through to take 2nd place on the final lap, but they couldn't catch Mettam and Phillips who had, therefore, done enough to secure

their seventh title.

Race 9

                                                                Race 9 started in 12 knots of wind with Davy and Plank leading to the first mark followed by

                                                                the Jones and Mettam & Phillips. With the welcome return of the sun, a building breeze and

                                                                some very close racing the term 'champagne sailing' could probably be used.  As tends to

                                                                happen when these 3 boats have got together, the lead changed hands several times but

                                                                Mettam and Phillips led at the top mark on the final lap and managed to extend down the

                                                                reaches.  Davy and Plank came under sustained pressure from the Jones but managed to

                                                                hang on to secure 2nd overall. This will be Jeremy's second 2nd place at the same venue this

                                                                year after a good performance at the Flying 15 Nationals.


                                                               Day 6 – Friday – Race 10

                                                               With the top 2 places already secured, the focus shifted to who would fill out the rest of the

                                                               top 10.


                                                              Race 10

                                                               The final points race started in around 20 knots of wind with national champions Sam Mettam and Geoff Phillips leading to the windward mark followed by former national champions David & Michelle Raines and Ally & Harry Jones.  Once again second overall Jeremy Davy and Ethan Plank showed their ability to pull through the fleet and managed to catch the Raines and the Jones.  Some very tight racing ensued with Davy and Plank taking second from the Raines and the Jones. 3rd place was enough to give the Jones 3rd overall from Martin and Abby Huett.

Days 5 and 6 – Thursday and Friday –

Non-spinnaker, Single-handed and Youth races

On Thursday evening, Ross Fleming and Dave Butler won the crews' race and before the final race on Friday a combined Non-spinnaker, Single-handed and Youth race took place, with Ally and Phoebe Jones winning the Non-spinnaker race, Jon Willars winning the Single-handed race and James and Paul Robinson winning the Youth race.

Sam Mettam


Overall the class has been staggered by the facilities,

professionalism and friendliness on the team at

WPNSA. Hopefully the class will be back again in the


Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the fleet and

a special Nationals at Hunstanton. The class is

aiming for 40 new boats and maybe even 100 at the

Nationals with as many former Miracle sailors as

possible. If you want to get involved, please contact


One of the strengths of the class is that it allows

parent and child teams to compete against

lightweight adult teams.  Many of the children are

reaping the rewards and are found at the top of the

junior fleets.  However, it is good to see that last

year's national champion Martyn Lewis crewing for son 13-year old Daniel (2nd crewing for his Dad at the 2011 Miracle Nationals)  put in a top performance at the RS200 Nationals.

Sam Mettam

Jon Willars and Rachel Day

David Herbstritt and Josie Airns

Silver fleet report

Jon Willars

Bright sunshine greeted the Miracle fleet to the sailing academy in Portland Harbour for what turned out to be a fiercely contested event right through the fleets in a variation of conditions.  Many of the top sailors from each fleet made the journey to Weymouth and the silver fleet particularly looked like it could go to anyone.

 At the onset it was close between Brian Jones with John Green, Ashley Southwell with James Wilkinson, Simon Reddicliffe with Mark Atherton and Jon Willars with Rachel Day, all fighting for positions and even after going to opposite sides of the course on the beat they seemed to keep greeting each other at the windward mark and trading places throughout the reaches and runs.

 New additions to the Association this year saw Yvonne and Brian Mumford join the silver fleet which proved to raise the standard further and they began their nationals campaign by dominating Silver and having several top 10 finishes. As the wind and chop increased later in the week the fleet started to spread out a little

more although the conditions appeared to favour the Mumfords and Jon and Rachel, with both teams giving some of the Gold fleet something to think about.

 The Mumfords, however, did enough early on to secure the title in the Silver fleet and sailed the

 remaining two days in comfort

while remaining

consistent with

their results.

 The race organisers

did a first class job

setting some of the

best start lines many

of us have seen and

gave us plenty of room

which helped in k

eeping the black flag

from making an

appearance.  Also, the rescue teams where quickly on hand when any team decided to show off the underside of their hull which created some well needed reassurance when the weather changed.

It was great to see the event organiser Sam Mettam and his crew Geoff Phillips displaying some top class sailing at the front of the fleet and maintaining the standard that was always expected of them in the run up to the event. Sam has put many months of hard work into getting this event organised and together with the staff at Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy provided the Miracle fleet with something really special to remember.

Bronze fleet report

David Herbstritt & Josie Airns

Wow! What a week at WPNSA for the Miracle Nationals.  Everyday full on 'sailing' weather of Force 4 to keep us all on our 'tippy toes straps'!  I was delighted to see such a broad age range in both helm and crew competing.  Very inspiring indeed.

 What a privilege too, sailing on the same waters as the Olympic teams and being led by the same Race Officer too!  Start lines spot on and the course, safety RIBs and tally system so well managed.  Many thanks to the whole team.  Excellent tight reaches, flying the spinnaker for over a kilometre, planning all the way – what an experience, and a luxury we don't get on our puddle at Shotwick lake!

 Bronze racers are no less brave than the top guys.  The most memorable being a start registering 32 knots and near abandonment.  An adjusted line and restart sent us off to sailing a strenuous but exciting 2 races.  Only 4 of the 15 Bronze racers stayed ashore.  The rest went for it including our eldest helm at 73 (Rene Savelli) and 2 younger crews at 11 and 12 (Giulia Neuteboom and James Robinson).

 Young Robinson went on to enter the youth race in even stronger conditions the next day – well done James – a future Gold in the making!

 The week saw our first ever international entrants from Holland, father (airline pilot) and daughter 'dubbed' the 'Flying Dutchman' Marcel and Giulia Neuteboom.  With

   our Association's family ethos I hope we will see them

      again next year.  Giulia will be going home to tell the

       tale of her first capsize!

        Thanks too to Gemma Gibson for the training nights –

         fun and very valuable.  Gems of tips from video

             footage taken of the racing that we will take away

               and keep practicing with.  We will be back for


                    Having competed in 3

consecutive nationals now,

we appreciate



and bond,

both on and

off the water

from the Bronze

fleet to the top

sailors who always

make time and

space to give you

tips or a helping

hand.  We are now

moving up to the silver fleet, but we will be watching our tail and look forward to next year's 40th anniversary nationals.

Results Part 1

Results Part 2