United Kingdom

RS Fat Face Eurocup Aquavitesse, Bruinisse

It was a comparatively small group of competitors – 24 in total – who made the journey to the beautiful Zeeland region of The Netherlands for the final RS Eurocup event for 2002. There were, however, a greater proportion of competitors from mainland Europe, making a pleasingly cosmopolitan group. The field was still very open for several fleets, with 5 of the 7 RS200s and 3 of the 6 RS400s still in with a chance to take the RS Fat Face Eurocup title outright. The location – new to the RS fleet – is on the edge of the Oosterschelde, centered around a holiday camp, with excellent sailing and après sailing facilities, offering fantastic value for money. It is a short-ish drive from Calais, unless you are Ian Pickard, who resorted to using his new tac-tik (in the dark) on passing the same service station for the 5th time. Day 1 dawned overcast with very light airs. A briefing was held by John Callaghan, who explained that the tokens for free beer vouchers each night was not a group hallucination. The 2 scheduled races were held after a short postponement in force 3 winds and some sunshine, and saw some very close racing indeed, particularly in the RS400 fleet where gybing & tacking battles amongst the top 3 were decided when Giles Chipperfield took a step too far on his 30th tack and fell in. Robyn Kenyon/Toby Lewis established an early lead, winning both races, with Greg O’Brien/Melissa Storey in 2nd place. The competition for the RS200 Eurocup title was still open after Day 1, with Craig Burlton/Pippa Williams, and Ollie Holden/Sarah Freestone winning a race each. In the RS600 fleet, Alex Southon led throughout race 1, whilst Mathijis den Berg, sailing on native waters, took race 2, when Southon and Ian Jubb re- crossed the line (unnecessarily, as it turned out, in Jubb’s case). The club, good to its’ word, laid on free beers and a massive bar-b-q, with a video running of the day’s activities on the water. Day 2 looked unpromising from the start, and racing was finally abandoned in early afternoon, when the wind failed to rise above a couple of knots. Rather than being disheartened, the fleet enjoyed the facilities of the holiday camp, bowling and swimming, went sightseeing, or took siestas. The evening’s entertainment was a boat trip with Chinese buffet, more free beers in the sailing club, and dancing at a local bar. Day 3 could not have been more different. The locals were confidentially forecasting a force 5-6, which was laughable in the morning sunshine. A flutter at 1130hrs, however, built steadily, until race 3 was sailed in a force 4. Again, more close racing with Kenyon staying at the front of the 400 fleet, Ian Pickard took his first bullet in the 200s, and Southon taking the first of 2 bullets for the day in the 600s. Christian Brandt from Germany took his second bullet of the weekend in the RS700s, and Alexander Misset from The Netherlands continued his unbeaten record of the weekend in his 800. The wind continued to build, and race 4 was sailed in a building force 5. Towards the end of the race, more hulls were visible than sails. Burlton took the event title by beating the other 200s by a whisker, and Kenyon completed his full set of wins in the 400. Awaiting the start of race 5, a 40kt squall hit the fleet, blowing across the flat landscape and building the ‘sheltered’ area of the North Sea into immense rollers. Everyone capsized, and before the Race Officer could pull the relevant flags out of his pile, the fleet was running for shore (with the exception of Burlton/Williams who were whipping around with their spinnaker up asking if people thought the next race might be abandoned, and O’Brien who had his mast firmly rammed into the mud next to the beach). Outstanding. Prize-giving followed, with warm food for the battered fleet, and prizes of wonderful cakes and, unbelievably, flick-knives for the winners. A superb long weekend, racing and socially, extremely well organised by John Callaghan, Eurocup Rep, and Richard, Aquavitesse Manager. We look forward to returning.
1st Alex Southon 3pts 2nd Ian Jubb 6pts 3rd Mathijs den Berg 8pts 4th Elaine Turner 8pts 5th Marco Keysers 15pts
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