Mike Lennon leads the RS800 nationals at Weymouth
The RS800 national championship fleet once again chose to race within Portland harbour yesterday and with the northerly winds still blowing, this probably resulted in steadier racing than out in the bay under the cliffs. To say that the wind was stable would be misleading as the northerly breeze slowly dropped while shifting and gusting all day. By the end there was precious little trapeze action, but the fleet still had the same nip and tuck tight racing.
It was not however, a day to lead around the windward mark, as in both races the eventual winner pulled through from a first mark rounding of usually in the first half dozen. Just as in previous days, the black flag had to be used to get this ultra competitive fleet away and once again some of the front-runners were caught out. Seven boats jumped the first start of the day including Barry Edgington and Chris Howarth. Steve Irish and Martin Gotrel were fourth round the first mark, but by the end of the second beat had wrestled their way into the lead with overall leaders Mike Lennon and the ever consistent James Date in close attendance. With the race shortened to three laps after about 60 minutes racing, Irish held on to move up the overall rankings with his first race win.
The second race of the day got under way in marginal one wire trapezing, again after the black flag was introduced. The group on the left-hand side had good pressure out from the start and lifted as they tacked onto port. Sailing in better pressure, they lifted into the windward mark where a group of six had a slight advantage. Once again the gusts were the key downwind with more gybing than usual and by the leeward mark Ricky Tagg and Rob Andrews were leading from Lee Sydenham and Adam Brushett. Tagg went hard left and Sydenham hard right, by the top mark Tagg had extended his lead to 200 meters. In the decreasing wind, Tagg held on to win with Mike Lennon doing his championship aspirations no harm by climbing to second via an escape route on the left-hand side of the course.
Overall Lennon and Nicky Griffon still lead from Geoff Carveth who is tied on equal points with James Date. With another discard due, it does look as if the championship winner will come from these three or even Steve Irish, although he does have much more to do.