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Look Sharpie, here it comes

PUBLISHED: 11:41 29 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:58 13 July 2010

NORTH Norfolk sailors' attention will be focused on Wells Sailing Club as it hosts the British Sharpie Championships on June 6, 7 and 8 with over 30 boats taking part.

NORTH Norfolk sailors' attention will be focused on Wells Sailing Club as it hosts the British Sharpie Championships on June 6, 7 and 8 with over 30 boats taking part.

Top British boats include the current European champion, plus six previous national champions with top crews competing from Holland and Germany.

This is a most prestigious occasion for the class and the newly-extended and refurbished sailing club.

Sharpies are one of the oldest classes. Built for the Berlin Olympics, most boats date back to pre-1940 and many have been carefully restored and cared for.

The championships is a showcase which helps to keep this class alive with many of these boats sailed in north Norfolk clubs.

Early starts are the order of the day for the championships.

Tide times mean the fleet will be launching at 6.15am to reach starts in the Holkham Bay racing area of 7.30.

This parade of beautiful old boats should be quite a spectacle for holiday-makers on the Wells beach - or at least on their return.

Reigning British and European champions Chris and Tim Gibbs in Windspiel (GBR125 - Wells SC) will be difficult to beat on home ground, but there is no lack of challenge.

The fleet boasts at least seven helms who have won their national championships.

It is expected that James Case will be pressing in Rockabye (GBR12 - Wells SC) having earned the runner-up spot in last year's Europeans.

Previous multiple winner Paddy Spink has returned to Annamarie (GBR9 - Wells SC) and should put up a big fight.

Champions of the 1960s onwards are still racing in Peter Scillitoe (Northern Lights GBR116), Richard Cracknell (Madrigal GBR129) and Gary Anthony (Redwing GBR78).

Both Anthony and Cracknell have returned to regular sailing in the last two years and Cracknell has been a most active sailor for 60 years and will be sailing with his grandson William Wynne.

Brother and sister Ben Cracknell and Sally Wynne (Tela GBR2) have been very fast in Wells this season and may be the dark horses.

In addition, there is a whole bunch of seven visitors from the front of the Dutch fleet using this regatta to tune up for the Europeans which are in Holland in late July.

This includes Richard Mulderij who has now settled down to work in England and is on 'home' ground at Wells.

The presence of Klaus Eisenblatter, the German champion and previous multiple European champion will mean no easy week regatta for Chris and Tim Gibbs.

They are usually very powerful in moderate winds, but early morning starts may signal lighter breezes to favour some opponents.

However, Chris Gibbs has shown the increased confidence to win in all winds and still remains the helm to beat.

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