Schneider Electric Hunter Nationals 2007

The last of 10 races to be sailed. Positions one and two, and positions three and four, for the 2007 National Championship event would be decided by the outcome of a single race!

This was the position on Saturday 24 March as Race Officer, Austin Daly, led the fleet of 31 Hunters out on to Witbank Dam to set the course and start the final race of the event. The mid-afternoon south-westerly wind settled and all was set for a fitting finale to a championship event of the highest order.

The action had started on the Wednesday with the weighing of entered boats and the event registration process. A no-nonsense briefing in the clubhouse was followed by the usual bustle of activity associated with last-minute racing preparation. This preparation was to prove invaluable as the winds to be experienced during the event would soon be seen to test sailors and equipment alike. Many of the more seasoned campaigners were heard to comment, at conclusion of racing, that they had never experienced such consistency of wind strength at Witbank for the duration of a major Hunter class event.

Two races on Wednesday followed by four races on Thursday saw the result sheets reflect the closeness of the racing out on the water. A further three races in challenging conditions on Friday, coupled with the toll on bodies and boats, had a total of nine races completed. Result sheets were again studied at some length, with accompanying speculative debate, as crews prepared themselves for the challenges of Saturday’s final race. Much was at stake in all the categories of the event in which performance would be formally recognised.

An absorbing tussle developed soon after the start of race ten between leading boats,‘Copadaph’(John Bruckman/Dave Martinson-WYAC) and ‘Essex Girl’(Paul Changuion/Tim Duguid-HMYC). It was ‘Essex Girl’ ahead until ‘Copadaph’ caught the wind under spinnaker on an outside line to the leeward mark. From there on it was the local boat covering to finish the race ahead of her rival and to clinch the title. The result makes it two-in-a–row for John and Dave who took the title in 2006 on ‘Guesswho?’

Recovering well from a bad start was ‘BB’(Craig Millar/Mike Surgeson-HMYC) , who slipped inside closest rivals and oldest boat in the fleet, ‘Odin’s Eye’(Tony Cockerill/Hank Pike-HMYC), at the final mark to claim overall third position.

The Hunter Class AGM was held on Thursday, the Hunter Class Dinner (sponsored by ‘Schneider Electric’) on Friday, and the Prizegiving held on Saturday evening. Also generous in their sponsorship of aspects of the championship programme and contributing to the success of the event was ‘AMTEC Project Management’.

Credit must go to all, especially host club WYAC and their members and helpers, who contributed to make the 2007 Hunter Class National Championships one of the most successful class events to date.

Apparently, the year 2008 will mark 40 years of the HUNTER class in South Africa. Entries in the National Championship event have been in excess of 30 of these wonderful little keelboats for the last nine championships. Class members have undertaken to work hard in all the regions to achieve an entry of 50 boats at the Hunter Class National Championships to be held at LDYC on the Vaal Dam from Friday 21 March to Monday 24 March 2008.


2007 National Championships-Results:

1 ‘Copadaph’ (J Bruckman/D Martinson-WYAC)
2 ‘Essex Girl’ (P Changuion/T Duguid-HMYC)
3 ‘BB’ (C Millar/M Surgeson-HMYC)
4 ‘Odin’s Eye’ (T Cockerill/H Pike-HMYC)
5 ‘Mickey’ (L Johnstone/V Owen-LDYC)

1 ‘Odin’s Flirt’ (Anthony McMillan/Lauren Ross-HMYC)
Youth sailors and 12th overall
2 ‘Donatella’ (C Hay/G Brown-WYAC)
3 ‘Caliph’ (R Hill/L Clark-WYAC)

*Youth Trophy
1 ‘White Ice’ ( Luke and Steven Wagner-HMYC)
9th overall

*Club Trophy( 5 boats’ scores to count)
1 HMYC ( who trailed 7 boats to the event)

Chairman’s Trophy (for Outstanding Service to the Hunter Class)
Inaugural award in 2007 – Simon Farrington


17 Hunters lined but for the 2007 Hunter provincials held at Midmar from the 15th to the 17th of December. An outstanding entry considering that there were a number of sailors competing in the J22 World Championships held in Durban. The fleet was predominantly made up of Henley Midmar Yacht Club members with visiting boats from Witbank, The Vaal Dam and Durban.

The weather was mostly cool with cloud and occasional rain. The winds were consistent and fair making for a great event sailed over 9 races with the final race being abandoned due to very thick fog. Henley Midmar again proved to be one of the finest sailing venues in the country, not only did it not fail to produce great breeze for the event but also enjoyed impeccable race management by Race officer Rob Bell assisted by Dave Wagner on the mark layer. There is nothing better than getting out and sailing in races that are swiftly and accurately managed. The entire race management must be commended.

The racing was tight and the results showed a mixed bag of results. Paul Changuion and Mathew Fleming emerged winners with fellow HMYC members Tony Cockrill and Hank Pike finishing second. Michael Coburn teamed up with Dean Gafney on a boat kindly borrowed from Craig Millar to finish in a very strong third position. Having not sailed much in recent years they were slow to find their speed but once they had the hang of the boat they proved to be a real force to contend with. Previous 2005 champions Chris Frost and Mark Stockousen showed there ability to win 3 races but lacked consistency and ended up 4th. Closely following them was Rob Samways and Duncan Keir. Luke Wagner sailing with William Crocket tied with Anton Ellens and Peter Metcalf for 6th position. The rest of the results can be found on

The next major Hunter event is the Mpumalanga championships to be sailed in Witbank from the 8th and 9th of March and the National at the Vall dam from the 21st to the 24th of March 2008.


Craig Millar takes it