Ajax National Championship 2005 (17-19 June)
Sixteen Ajax 23 ft keelboats competed in the championship organised by Royal Harwich Yacht Club in Dovercourt Bay. Three boats (Athena, Aquilla and Troy) travelled up from St Mawes, Cornwall, and the other thirteen were from the home club. David Liddington and his crew took the trophy home to St Mawes in Athena, regaining the championship he last won at Harwich in 1997, and ending seven years when the champions have come from the East Coast.
The first race on Friday brought a fresh south westerly. Staying left was quickest on the first beat. Apollo (Frank Norman and Jeremy Prosser) got to the mark first, pursued by Thunderer (John Williams) and Goosander (Malcolm Mackley and John Pack). Goosander worked her way through to lead halfway through the race, but Athena gradually got into contention, and on the last triangle, overtook the leading boats to leeward on the reach to the wing mark. She won from Apollo and Thunderer. The wind had eased as the race progressed and the weather got hotter. Race two was sailed in a force 2. Avocet went left, led at the weather mark and pulled away from Mandalay (Peter Nicholls) and Puffin (David Pearce). Once again Athena recovered from a moderate start and took second place from Puffin, who edged out Mandalay for third.
Saturday was fine and hot, with a light south easterly. The tide sweeping along the start line led to a general recall. After the restart Apollo once again got to the front with Thunderer and Avocet. These three finished in this order after a close battle all the way round a shortened course. On this occasion Athena had to be content with fourth. However, in the afternoon, in similar conditions she led all the way round the course to make an overall win almost certain. Behind her, Thunderer, Mandalay and Apollo took the next three places. With one race to go, only Apollo could prevent Athena from winning overall.
Sunday morning brought the same conditions and a light breeze. Guillemot (David Mayne) led at the first mark from Aquilla (Lindsay Thomas) and Sirius (Ewen Stamp and class captain Ken Stowe). After two difficult reaches in light airs, Guillemot led from Aquilla and Puffin. Athena slipped past Puffin and Aquilla on the second triangle to take second place, but could not get past Guillemot.
1 Athena (David Liddington) (SMSC) 6 points
2 Thunderer (John Williams) (RHYC) 12 points
3 Apollo (Frank Norman/Jeremy Prosser) (RHYC) 13 points
4 Puffin (David Pearce) (RHYC) 17 points
5 Aquilla (Lindsay Thomas) (SMSC) 19 points