The Wight Stuff: Hunts Sailors bring home honours from island race

SAILORS from Huntingdonshire last week excelled at the prestigious Round the Island Race on the Isle of Wight. Spaldwick s Brian Appleyard was part of the crew of Nordic Bear, who picked up the Silver Roman Bowl for finishing second overall in the interna

SAILORS from Huntingdonshire last week excelled at the prestigious Round the Island Race on the Isle of Wight.

Spaldwick's Brian Appleyard was part of the crew of Nordic Bear, who picked up the Silver Roman Bowl for finishing second overall in the international IRC ratings.

Steve Pearson, of Eaton Ford, was on board Min-o-Din, which won its class on the way to fifth overall in the ISC ratings.

The boats were competing against more than 1700 other boats in the race round the Isle of Wight. The race is sailed under handicap, which aims to level the relative performance of the wide range of boats entered.


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It took Appleyard and team-mates Tim Hemsley and Bruce Hill several hours before the scale of their achievement sank in.

"We didn't believe it for a while - no-one in the crew has achieved anything as big as this before," he said.

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"In all our sailing careers - and we have won races - there has been nothing to match this. This is the biggest.

"We knew we had the capability, because we finished fifth overall in 2007, but I don't think any of us expected to do quite so well."

Appleyard, Nordic Bear's owner and skipper, was the navigator in charge of plotting a safe route for his crew through the shipwrecks and needles near the island shore.

"There were some pretty big calls to make - we saw boats ahead of us hitting submerged reefs, and bouncing off them, so we knew we had to be careful," said Appleyard.

"We pushed our luck in a few places but it seems others had more trouble with the wind than we did."

Steve Pearson's vessel, Min-o-Din, finished fifth overall in the ISC handicap race recognised by the Island Sailing Club at Cowes.

His team of six defended the trophy they won last year, despite having to re-take the start line because of an infringement.

The 30-foot half-tonner passed over 1200 other boats on the way round the island, to claim a win in the ISC 8C class, and fifth in all ISC classes.

"If it had not been for breaking the start line, we could have had second overall," said Pearson.

"We weren't expecting to win again this year, but we knew we had a capable skipper.

As we were going through the pack, we couldn't see a lot of boats in our class around us, so we then started to get an inkling.

"When we went over the line, the cannon went off to signal that we were first in class, and we were so elated.

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