Inevitably, there’s lots of adjectives for first day of a champs. Square or cube that when sailing, travel and events have been restricted by you-know-what. And there’s been no wind since forever, at least when it was of any use anyways.
But Brixham delivered; the fog cleared, we planed towards Paignton and Cunard’s mothballed Queen Victoria to race in a shifty, gusty F3-F4 SW, blowing off the shore (which always disorientates this sailor at least, surely a SW should come from the open sea?).
So which adjective to start with. Perhaps ‘rusty’ (no not my dad, for those in the know) but to describe Andy Jones who started the day with an 11th then remembered what to do and rampaged to bullets in the following two races to sit 3rd overall. Perhaps the same ‘rusty’ adjective, plus words of astonishment apply that twice champion Brett Aarons, after a typically assured race one win, capsized twice in race 2. Wha?
Then there’s Huw Powell. Assured? Consistent? Poised? Well he’s certainly king-of the hill, with a 3-2-2 and more of his favourite lashings of breeze coming tomorrow. But he may rue runs in races 1 & 3 where he found lulls on the right, particularly letting Andy past for the bullet in R3.
Huw’s 5 points clear of dark-horse James Ross who’s leading the Netley Massive’s (most welcome) invasion, second overall with a 6-3-3.
Next is ‘ungrateful’ ‘fast-learner’ Nigel Wakefield who a couple of weeks ago was asking your correspondent for advice, then seemed to spend today being that nemesis that you wonder if this is personal. Nah, it’s just blinkin’ fun racing. But pipping me at the last in race 3 for 5th having earlier fallen in on a gybe shows he’s trying.
A slight digression. A few champs ago, and more recently in his POSH report and his ‘runners and riders’ for this event my fellow RS100 journalist, Mr Wobbly-Blue-Stripe Smart pigeon-holed this correspondent as a pond sailing, light-weather ne’er do well. Perhaps that’ll be tomorrow David. Probably, but the pond sailor is currently 5th overall regardless.
Special mentions also go to;
- Steve Jones for his obstructive, blocking manoeuvre windward-capsize right at the windward mark
- Jeremy Troughton for his failed lassoing of the spreader mark with his kite sheet, hence narrowly dodging a spectacular debacle
- Mark Harrison for breaking a shroud halfway thru race 2, asking me if I had a spare, sailing in, fitting it. Then whinging we did not orchestrate a General Recall, meaning he was 3 mins late for the next start. Darn good effort, but all just to gain one place over a DNC
- Dedicated, taking-it-too-seriously-whilst-actually-taking-the-mickey John Elms, (unluckily) buddied with David Smart, for interrogating Screwfix et al as to whether they had wobbly blue tape. Understandable, they all denied such a product was even on their systems, or even a thing.
- Captain Calamity Mostyn Evans, for failing to bring the wrong sails and managing to rig his boat faultlessly, despite not having Pippa there to supervise
- The Netley team for finally breaking out of Southampton’s borders and coming out to play. They’re having a campsite BBQ tonight - think in terms of the chaos when the Death-eaters ransacked the Quidditch world cup site. Hopefully, this will slow some of them down for windy day 2
- And finally, but foremost, superstar Brixham YC’s Commodore and support team for spending the day in the oggin, launching and later catching the 600, 300 and 100 fleets. Thankyou.
All characters and events depicted in this write-up, even those based on real people, are entirely based on the writer’s perspective and imagination…
The 100 fleet stirred some aching joints for the expected Force 5 South Westerly. The heavyweights we’re looking forward to the fun, while others were hoping to survive the day while keeping their masts pointing skywards.
As it turned out, the Force 5 never quite materialised, although there were a few big gusts to be sniffed out.
What a difference a day makes! Andy Jones was basking in the glories of Day 1, but pulled the trigger a bit early so had to go back and started dead last. However his fellow Chew sailor Smart (your correspondent) went left and into some pressure to lead at the windward mark first. However some great sailing from Jolliffe spotting shifts correctly up the second beat saw him take the bullet from a fast charging Aarons with Smart 3rd.
James Ross may be in the silver fleet, but those in gold need to keep a close eye on him. He sailed an exceptional race to take the bullet. This was going to be ahead of Jolliffe, but a port/starboard infringement on the run meant Jolliffe had to do a turn before the finish, letting through Andy Jones and Smart again third on the line.
A big gust and shift meant the first attempt at this race was abandoned on the final approach. That let the gust blow through, leaving some lighter patches to swallow up the unsuspecting. Aarons and Jones went right and gained handsomely over the rest of the fleet who went left into a header. They led at the top mark and went right down the run, but a small gaggle behind spotted a humongous gust on the left and quickly gybe into it. Jones tried to gybe, but slipped leading to an expletive rich capsize. By the leeward gate, Aarons was well ahead with Eplett second and Smart gaining most from the big gust with Powell in hot pursuit. A hole gobbled up Eplett, while Powell sneaked past Smart on the run to take second behind the distant Aarons.
After six races, Aarons and Powell are on the same points and opening up a gap over Ross in third who has Jolliffe and Jones close behind.
Special mentions to Matt Johnson who succeeded in capsizing on the way to the start while trying to put on his sailing gloves (maybe put them on before going sailing?). While Duncan Barr took the genius tactical decision to hoist his kite before the spreader mark, to gain a few metres on those around him. However, realising he was going to struggle to make the spreader, he didn’t fully hoist the kite, meaning the hull went to starboard of the mark, while his spinnaker went to port, catching the offending mark in the middle and providing many new expletives for those in ear shot. Oops!
Weary limbs were revived in the bar with sausage and mash and a very entertaining pig racing evening with an exceptionally energetic host. Whatever he was on, I want some for the four races planned for Saturday.
Somewhere below, there is a proper(-ish) race report. Which might be a first for this correspondent.
But before that, the prologue.
There seem to be a group of people here in beautiful Brixham living under the misapprehension that there’s an RS100 National Championship in progress.
History, however, is actually defined by whatever the writers of the time document. In the absence of his sorely missed greatest rival Greg Booth, my co-correspondent and new class chairman David Smart, has decided that all that really matters is which of us beats the other. Obviously, this is pretty egocentric, but his rules. What’s weirder is that for five minutes of race 10 today we actually raced each other for the first time this week.
Obviously, this is tosh, so back to the Nationals.
The sail out to the start for four scheduled races (bringing one forward as the forecast for the final day is looking precariously light) finally delivered the big breeze promised for yesterday. Happily for those of us with leaden legs from day 2, it dropped off to the actually forecast F3-4 westerly – more big shifts off the land, gust lanes and soft patches To add to the fun, Cunard’s Queen Vic was (unavoidably for the race team) in play if you went hard left down the run.
First shout out and “we’re not worthies” go to Nick Shuttleworth for his first at the first mark in race 1 of the day. One of my sailing heroes once said to me that success is just three things, getting there, staying there and doing it consistently. You’re a third of the way to success, Nick.
To bookend the special mentions, Nigel Wakefield was so desperate after racing to be first up the club slipway, he hoisted his kite in the harbour, where the wind does very interesting pirouettes. We assumed he must be on a hot date, but he was later in the bar with the rest of us. I’ll leave alternative explanations to the readers imagination.
Back to the racing. As race 1 of the day progressed, the more usual suspects (and your correspondent) found their way to the front, headed by Brett Aarons, yours truly (Clive Eplett) and Andy Jones. On the last run, Brett strategically put himself in the middle, Andy stayed right and found pressure, with Clive between the two. Andy was flying, Brett in the Doldrums. As it unwound, Clive crossed first, with Brett just rescuing second from Andy, followed by a whooping Steve Main and Huw Powell.
Race 2 of 4 was an ‘after-the-Lord-Mayor’s show for the previous race winner, who gave up and stopped for lunch half-way thru. More big shifts and gusts spread the fleet hugely. Andy was again on fire, winning by a big margin from David Smart, equally comfortable in second, Huw third and Brett fourth. Getting tight at the top.
Race 3 of 4. Clive, rested, won the pin, accompanied by Andy and Tim Hulley. At which the rest of the fleet to windward got a massive private lift. Andy bit the bullet and cut his losses. Ouch. Clive kept going and it came back. Nils Jolliffe led, Brett was extracted at the windward mark for a U-flag infringement leaving Clive and Andy after a huge recovery again battling. At the last Andy dumped the mainsheet, sailing higher between gate and line to steal second. Rude words might have been uttered. The ever present, consistent, Huw 4th and Ian Gregory next.
Race 4 of 4; Huw led reasonably comfortable from the outset, pursued by James Ross and Clive who had a battle royal up the last beat (he likes tacking on you, does James). Clive got his revenge on the run by hoisting early and rolling him, then setting off in pursuit of Huw. Error. Too busy match racing. 50 yards from the gate, they look up and see Brett and Nigel Wakefield planing in 4 times the pressure – those two grab first and second, with James fifth. More Anglo-Saxon ensued.
At the end of the day, the scores show Brett leading, three points ahead of Huw but carrying a 14th and UFD as discards.
Andy in third cannot catch Huw who is 6 points ahead but discarding a fifth (I said he was consistent), but Andy needs to look over his shoulder at Nils, 4 points behind but with much better discards.
James is a further 2 points behind and one ahead of Clive, safe in 6th, followed by Nigel and David.
With one race to go, the forecast is for barely enough to race and veering 180 degrees, N to S. Hence, the only sure prediction for Sunday is that there will be early packer-uppers and a game of ‘chicken’ for others wondering whether to do the same.
Final word is a round of applause, 3-cheers and huge thankyou from the whole RS100 family to Mark Harrison who has been acting as Class Chairman for, nearly, ever, but stood down at the AGM today. He’s done a fantastic job and we are all really grateful. Some act to follow Smartie. No pressure.
Sometimes, I hate it when I am right. Mind you my wife says she "married Mr Right, well, Mr Always Right”
As predicted in the Day 3 report, no sailable wind turned up for the final race (11) of the 2021 RS100 Nationals at Brixham YC and a wise early call was made by the powers that be to can it for the day.
Another aside; if this is what wind-conditions are going to be like under the new Class Chairman, Mark Harrison will soon be back in the hot seat, whether he likes it or not.
Consequently, Brett Aarons retained his title from 2019 held at Porthpean, from Huw Powell, Andy Jones (also first master. Chairman; we need to revisit the age limits here!), Nils Joliffe and James Ross (also Silver Fleet winner). Steve Jones won the Fidelis Trophy and, with no help from his buddy (yours truly), Andy Trickett of Netley won the Endeavour Prize.
With Team Netley in seventh, fifth, fourth and 50% of second (Huw also sails as Red Wharf Bay SC) it was great to have them travel. The campsite owner agrees; contrary to my earlier exaggerations, they did not ransack the place. Hence they really ought to come out to play more often. Please.
The Chew fleet is reported now in the teens too, led by the Jones brothers and David Smart, but with John Elmes having his moments as well.
Hence the class continues to prosper with those who have seen the light - competitive but fun sailing and a great social atmosphere.
Congratulations to Brett, commiserations to Huw (who has already started a campaign for no discards) and thanks to the whole team at Brixham YC for hosting a great event, on and off the water. I for one would jump at the chance to return one day.
Thanks also the our title sponsors Noble Marine and Allen, who provided vouchers for the top three sailors; to Rooster for providing buffs to all sailors and Fernhurst books for the Endeavour voucher, presumably so the winner can buy Clive’s book!
Also thanks to Sally Campbell from the RS Association who, thanks to Covid, organised about 20 versions of this championships before the rules settled and we could finally sail. Thank you Sally.
Photos: Gareth Fudge, Boatographic. Full gallery and photos to purchase: day 1, day 2
Competitors arriving at Brixham Yacht Club were greeted by rain, light winds and fog, leading to questions as to whether we would actually be racing. Just in time the fog burnt away and the fleet of 18 RS600s headed out, watched with interest by the resident seals. After a brief delay while the wind settled, racing got underway in a perfect 10 knots with slight chop.
In race 1, Jamie Mawson port tacked the fleet and headed inshore in an attempt to beat the tide. Unfortunately this did not pay off due to a large shift to the left, with the rest of the fleet arriving in a tight bunch at the first mark. George Smith and Mike Izzatt pulled away from the fleet to finish in that order, followed by Adam Watson.
Race 2 saw the breeze increase to 12-15 knots and settled in to a more consistent direction. George and Jamie engaged in a private battle, stretching out a good lead on the rest of the fleet. After changing places several times, Jamie took the win by a few seconds from George, with Alex Piggott third.
In the final race, George took an early lead and took his second win unchallenged, with Jamie second along with Chris Haslam.
A long beat home was rewarded by a hard working beach team fetching our trolleys and complimentary ice creams, before the fleet headed out for much deserved pizza.
Thanks for a great day Brixham YC!
Day 2 of the Noble Marine Allen RS600 Nationals dawned rather damp and overcast but we had a good forecast and left the slipway with 3 races scheduled.
The wind had headed round to the west and increased slightly from the previous day giving some great 600 conditions in the 15 to 18 knot winds. With the shift to the west the breeze was now off the land giving generally a flatter sea state to the previous day.
The first race followed a very similar pattern to day one with George Smith showing the fleet the way round with Jamie Mawson always in close contention to finish in second.
The second race saw a perfect port end flyer by Ian Montague to lead at the first mark by some distance. George, again showing his great upwind speed pulled his way through to take the lead and win and Ian second.
Race 3 got underway in much the same conditions, with very close race between the top 4 of Jamie, Mike Iszatt, Chris Haslam and George, with this being the finishing order.
Notable mention must go to Jamie Watson who drove to Plymouth (twice!) in search of rudder fittings having broken a pintle the day before. He managed to just make it out in time for the second race and go on to get the better of his brother too.
The Brixham race team are doing a great job setting excellent courses of just the right length and angles. Again Brixham pulled out all the stops with help on the slipway followed by cakes and donuts handed out to the competitors. Thanks to all.
The evening do was bangers and mash followed by ‘hog racing’ which was nothing if not entertaining! The daily rooster prize winners were Jamie Mawson in the gold fleet, Jon Heissig in Silver and Paul Patrick in bronze. T
We are now just over half way through the racing with everything still to play for.The forecast for Saturday looks slightly more moderate and with four races based on a light wind outlook for Sunday. Lets hope the next two days are as good as the first two.
Ian Montague and George Smith
Day 3 – classic Torbay Conditions and tight racing
The 3rd day dawned with some hoping the breeze from the last 2 days would moderate somewhat and we might even see some sun in the sky. Due to the forecast for Sunday looking very flat a potential 4th race was on the cards, which was bad news for those who had sampled the Torquay night life and then posted the video on the WhatsApp group at 3 AM!
As it turned out the breeze was very similar to yesterday, but with more West and South in the direction it was very much a day for keeping the head out the boat and an eye on the compass.
The first race of the day got away cleanly with the fleet mostly heading to the left hand side. Those that went most left looked good coming into the windward mark but left themselves a high risk tack to complete in the face of the starboard-tacking George Smith who came in on the layline. Alex Piggott was first round but rolled at the mark by George. A nip and tuck reach left a good group to battle down the first run. George went too far left with eyes on the wrong mark at one point allowing the battling group back through. Jamie Mawson came through best and lead for the rest of the race, chased down by George and Ian Montague and Alex Piggott (transferring his nightclub moves into boat handling).
The second race had a slightly more moderate breeze, allowing the lighter sailors advantage on the reaches and runs. George managed to hold off the attacks of Mike Iszatt, Jamie and Chris Haslam, but the racing was getting tighter and the mental arithmetic had begun.
Race 9 was again more moderate and Jamie sailed fast out to the front. George couldn’t hold off the ever-fast Chris downwind and had to follow him across the line. Matt Potter sailed a very good race and defended hard on the reaches to hold his position from those chasing behind. Another close race and another win for Jamie meant the scores in the gold fleet were getting tighter and tighter. The silver fleet was also up in the air as Alex Piggott had an uncharacteristic 11th meaning it was tight between him and Jon Heissig. Jamie Watson was having a very consistent day to sure up his position at the top of the bronze fleet and his newly acquired rudder fittings seemed to be holding firm.
A straw pole discussion was had about the fourth race and the majority were keen. The race team turned the start around fast again as they had done all regatta. There was some pre-race cat and mouse between George and Jamie but Jamie managed to find a good spot at the committee boat once those at the boat end had slipped down a way. The left paid significantly and Ian Montague and Jon Heissig sailed well to get to the front with George chasing behind. Jamie went from broke and sailed fast but up the less favoured side and found himself in the pack on a long starboard layline. George overhauled Jon and Ian to get his nose out in front and managed to keep it there till the end. Jon Heissig sailed his best race of the champs to come 2nd and hold off Monti in 3rd. Chris Haslam and Alex Piggott had another good race and rounded out the top 5. Scott Holland, new to the boat this year, sailed fantastically well, especially upwind to finish 7th with his best result yet and a big smile on his face as he crossed the finish line.
The fleet made their way in with the promise of an AGM but more importantly fish and chips! The AGM welcomed Jamie Mawson onto the committee and also welcomed Jim Hood of RS sailing who updated the fleet on the current progress that has been made bringing the RS 600 back under the RS sailing wing. We are grateful for all the work that Jim and his team have done and are looking forward to seeing the boat back on the website with spares and sails in stock. A presentation (long overdue) was made to Ian Montague for all of his work as class chairman with a framed picture from the Weymouth nationals
Many chose to hedge their bets on tomorrow's light wind forecast and prop the yacht club bar up. The race officer has wisely decided to postpone an hour to give any breeze chance to fill in and settle.
Photos: Gareth Fudge, Boatographic. Full gallery and photos to purchase: day 1, day 2
When visiting the English riviera there is a certain amount of expectation when it comes to weather. The fleet were greeted with almost perfect sailing conditions on day 1 - if you ignore the drizzle and 300m of visibility.
Fortunately, by the time we'd got down to the start area, Torquay had reappeared and with it a nice F3 for the first race. Martin Harrison and Dave Acres had a good first beat, despite Dave having to bail out at the pin on the start. Probably distracted by the pod of dolphins that joined us in the final minute of the sequence. Martin and Dave held these positions until the finish, closely followed by Steve Bolland in 3rd, and then the rest of the fleet all within a couple of minutes.
Wind increased a little for race 2 and went slightly further west. Dave put the after burners on again and was never really challenged to the finish. Steve 2nd, Martin 3rd. Honourable mention must go to fleet newbie Chris Brooks for an impressive first beat rounding in 3rd. Once he has worked out the downwind part of 300 sailing, he will surely be one to watch.
A short break between races 2 and 3 gave a few boats an opportunity to wash off their sails. An idea started by the 600 fleet, if it works in their boat, it must be quick.
Final race of the day and the wind had built slightly again. Richard Le Mare went off from the pin end like a stabbed rat. Copying his low and fast technique, Paul Watson rolled a few boats and the 2 quickly had some clear water between themselves and the rest of the fleet. By the top mark it was Paul 1st with Richard hot on his heels. Dave and Steve quickly joint the party and after 3 laps of close racing, Paul held on for the win followed by Steve and the ever-consistent Dave.
Back to the club for ice cream, beer and some fairly unwelcome stairs to climb.
More of the same tomorrow, possibly with a little more breeze.
GOLD FLEET REPORT BY STEVE BOLLAND
If the forecast was to believed, day two of the Noble Marine Allen RS300 Nationals was going to be attritional with winds of 20 knots plus. In the end, to the relief of the lighter sailors, the beefy wind never materialised, remaining in the mid teens for the most part.
Overnight leader, Dave Acres, started race 4 by carrying on in the same vein as the previous day, leading the fleet around the first two laps of the trapezoid course. However, he was unable to pull clear of a gaggle of chasers including Harry McVicar, Sam Davy and others and when Steve Bolland and Martin Harrison hit the left on the final beat all hell let loose. With these two picking a lovely lay line, others over stood and at the finish it was Bolland, Pete Mackin and Acres. Bolland crossed the line to silence, however, as did Paul Watson who was also in the leading gaggle, promoting everyone one else up and leaving Harrison in 3rd.
Mercifully, there were less shenanigans in race 5, although there was a coming together between Watson and Acres at the first mark. This allowed Bolland to escape and he made no mistake in this one after managing to remain on the correct side of the start line. 2nd was Acres, followed by McVicar and Watson.
After a slight delay as the course was reset, race 6 got underway in the lightest breeze of the day, the knots dropping below the teens at times. Watson led at the first but was unable to hold of that ‘bl£&dy lightweight’ Bolland downwind, Bolland going on to win from Watson and Harrison.
With Acres having one of those races and putting in a discard, Bolland now leads narrowly from Acres and Watson heading into a potentially four-race day with lighter winds forecast.
SILVER FLEET REPORT BY BEN HEPPENSTALL
Day 2 silver Fleet report - the view from the back! With a breezy forecast 3 races to look forward to. We left the slipway in and orderly manner and almost everyone made it out of the harbour without capsizing!
Race 1 was going well till Mr Bolland failed to gybe round the leeward mark pushing Mr sallis wide who bumped into the boat coming on on port... Which was unfortunately me. The turns dropped me from the front of silver fleet to the back, which gave me a great opportunity to see how many place I could recover.
Race 2. More wind, port biased line, port flyer.... Failed. Overtaken by a very rapid Paul Watson, so I thought I'd try and copy him, which was good. Spent the rest of the race practicing the 'low n fast' mode. Had a great baltle with Chris Brook, Mark Newton, Rich Packer and me finishing with 10 seconds of each other. The mid fleet could be quite competitive.
Race 3 - more wind. More capsizing I think there were about 8 boats upside as a squall came through on the first run. Another opportunity to catch up. Things of interest today: Sam Davy collapsed over Mark 4, Chris Brook having filled that little hole in the mast foot and wondering why the mast filled with water - he may be very fast now that's fixed!
After the Rooster prize giving and a bangers and mash supper, both gold and silver fleets enjoyed Brixham’s unique Pig Racing night, sadly no amount of sailing skills made them a match for the race officer’s son, who seemed to have the inside tips for every race!
GOLD FLEET REPORT BY PETER MACKIN
The forecast for day 3 suggested a lighter breeze, welcomed by many. Paul Watson, who was no doubt encouraged by the slightly stronger winds than expected, managed to get the first wooden spoon nomination of the day, with a swim on his way out.
Watson got his act together in the end, relishing the 15 knots across the race area and taking a bullet in the first race of the day. This race was close from start to finish. I lost track of what happened - it would be easier to get a hamster to break enigma than recall the place changing from this race! Watson led from McVicar, Bolland and Acres. McVicar putting together what would be his strongest day of the series.
For race 8 of the championship, the wind dropped slightly, shifts got bigger and holes in the course we're to be avoided. Much of the fleet opted for the left hand side, anticipating a prolonged left hand shift through the day. The first beat proved tricky, Ben Heppenstall led from Steve Sallis and Pete Mackin at mark one. Heppenstall had worked hard on the favoured left side to come out on top. Flatter water meant the runs were a little tricky too; some opting to head straight at the next mark, others to try and surf what little chop was available. The top 3 were still close round the following laps with Heppenstall making the most of the shifts and leading the approach to the final windward mark. Electing to tack above Mackin for the layline proved costly though and Pete snuck through to leeward and defended the rest of the lap to finish ahead of Heppenstall, Bolland, Acres and Sallis.
Race 9 was slightly breezier, (I think?). Another very close race from start to finish. McVicar sliced through the fleet to take and his first bullet of the championship, followed some distance behind by Mackin. Acres followed in third, bettering his 10th in the previous race and crucially finishing ahead of Bolland, who came across the line in 6th. This meant 2 points separated the leading pair of Bolland/Acres going into the final race of the day. The fact this was potentially the last race of the series added to the pressure.
The final race of the day got away clean in 12-15 knots. The left hand side had been the order of the day, but on this race more than most. Boats that had taken a risk on the right hand side after a bad start arrived at the top mark quite unhappily, ...so much so that I have no idea who got there first! At the front, Martin Harrison, Watson and McVicar had a good scrap over the full length of the race, noone every really breaking free. Bolland and Acres were inseparable, rounding the final windward mark together behind Rob Ford who was sailing brilliantly. Harrison took the bullet from Watson, McVicar and Ford. As for the series-leading pair, Bolland led at mark 3 with Acres a boat length or so behind. Dave tried to get above Bolland along the bottom reach but it wasn't enough. A few luffs were sufficient to break any overlap and secure 5th place ahead of Acres.
The scores on the doors show Bolland ahead (clearly there's no such thing as too much running). Dave Acres 3 points away and Watson a further point behind. With 3 boats in with a shot of the title going into last race and 6 boats with a shot at the podium, this championship had been exceptionally close - something that has become a habit over recent years in this fleet.
Back in the bar and tucking into a fish and chip supper, many hoped that the breeze wouldn't materialise for the final day which looked very light. Anticipating a slow and painful sail, if any, some elected to pack the boats early and get a front row start for the inevitable scramble for trailers in the morning. Let's see what the next day brings...
SILVER FLEET REPORT BY CHRIS BROOK
The third day at the RS300 nationals brought some fantastic sailing conditions.
Initially forecast with just 9kts of breeze the fleet were greeted with substantially more.
Around 15 knots of breeze and relatively flat water made the four race day idyllic conditions. Contending silver fleet in my first nationals on the RS300, these conditions allowed for some great use of all the skills the more than welcoming fleet have been sharing with me over the past two days.
Power reaches and really hardworking beats were the highlights of the day. The first legs weren’t always straight forward but with a backing breeze the left generally paid. Playing the waves seemed to accelerate the downwind legs followed by the second power reach of our trapezoid course.
Two days of wind gusting up to and occasionally above 20kts provided the perfect preparation to today’s conditions but now with the occasional lighter spot called for some very different skill sets and this showed in a set of the results that really upended.
With the help of fellow competitors racing in this great class I’ve managed to improve my results on the 300 but hats off to Ben Heppenstall who whilst contending silver fleet, managed to score a second place in race 3!
In the best conditions of the four day competition we managed to complete four races, bringing our total to 10 races.
Brixham yacht club have been an awesome host of the event and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning the rs300.
All that remains is to see if the 3kts forecast presents or if there is more wind to host the last race of the competition.
Final Day report, by Steve Bolland
Unfortunately, the forecast of zero wind for the final day of the RS300 Nationals supported by Noble Marine, Allen and Rooster was disappointingly accurate. With Dave Acres already packing up and Paul Watson sportingly declaring that he wouldn’t want the final result decided on the whims of any zephyr that might occur, the top 3, also including Steve Bolland, all shook hands on the result before the official abandonment was announced. Of the other main protagonists, Pete Mackin had packed up the night before and Harry McVicar was still in bed.
Despite the frustrating end to the regatta, the fleet had nevertheless enjoyed three days and 10 races in pretty much perfect conditions. Brixham YC were excellent hosts and the provision of ice creams, doughnuts and pasties as we came off the water was much appreciated, as were the evening meals. The sight of Commodore, Richard Spreckley, up to his neck in water catching boats as they returned to shore will also live long in the memory. It was very much appreciated, along with other members of the beach party and the efforts of PRO Sean Semmens and his team who put on excellent courses and turned round races quickly in some shifty conditions.
Thanks also, to the competitors, it was a joy to be back racing again after such a long break, and, as ever, to the great Clive Eplett.
Day 1 – Dave Acres
Day 2 – Dave Acres
Day 3 – Harry McVicar
Team trophy – Thorney Island SC (Dave Acres/Mark Newton)
Wooden spoon – Steve Bolland (a total travesty!)
Endeavour – Cheryl Wood
Fidelis – Richard Le Mare
Apprentice – Chris Brook
Lightweight – Harry McVicar
Buddha Trophy for heavyweights – Dave Acres
Master – Steve Bolland
1st lady – Cheryl Wood
Silver fleet – Chris Brook
Photos: Gareth Fudge, Boatographic. Full gallery and photos to purchase: day 1, day 2