David Hitchcock and Ian Nicholson from Hayling Island SC win RSK6 nationals at Plymouth

The grey skies and forecast rain had several in the K6 fleet checking the cinema listings for ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ before the briefing for the fifth GUL K6 nationals, hosted by the Royal Plymouth Corinthian Yacht Club. But once out beyond the breakwater in the solid breeze and big rollers, thoughts of magic chocolate were quickly replaced by the real magic of stable 15 knot blasts downwind and close tactical upwind legs.

Race Officer Russell Gibbs and team laid degree perfect starts, giving the fleet the full line to choose from and good clear channels for the first beat. There was collective surprise at the top of the first beat when the fleet converged almost en-mass.

David Hitchcock and Ian Nicholson set the early pace, chased hard by the dynamic duo of ‘Scoobydoo’ (ex 505 world champion Bill Masterman crewed by Dan Mountfield) and ‘Shaggy’ (ex Fireball world champs Mark Darling and John Ironmonger). David and Ian managed to escape and took the first race. In the second race it was the turn of Myles Mence, Glyn Locke and Judith French in their well dressed ‘Italian’ boat ‘Artigiano’ to take-up the chase. ‘Artigiano’ looked good for a win but the prospect of two bullets on the first day was too tempting for David and Ian, and they clinched another win on the last leg.

Day two dawned grey again, but with more breeze. Ian and David were the first to spot that these rollers were particularly impressive down the right hand side of the course and used these to good effect to claim a third bullet in a row.

In a very congested first beat in the next race they got caught in the traffic, with Jonathan Calascione, Pyers Tucker and Libby Deegan (Take Two) breaking clear and denying the clean sweep. Final race of the day was ’round the cans’ back to the Mountbatten Centre with a couple of spectacular three sail reaches to keep the two photographers and spectators happy. The round the cans always has the potential to really mix-up the performance order, and John and Carol Dutton with David Peerless proved the point by swapping their mid-fleet performance for a third. The fleet then convened at the bar for a video debrief from Ian Pinnell who gave even the most experienced a good list of things to think about and work on.

The weather gods obviously decided the fleet needed a break and denied Plymouth Sound even the odd zephyr on day three.

A gentle north-easterly breeze arrived for the final day. The first race looked like it would go to Queen Mary pond sailors Peter Kirkby and Richard Barker (Pippi). However, they missed the last shift and David Hitchcock and Ian Nicholson recorded their fifth win and the overall championship in convincing style. The final two races were cancelled as the weather gods again sucked the wind out of the sound.

Overall Results

1st 155 David Hitchcock, Ian Nicholson – Hayling Island SC

2nd 160 (Artigiano), Myles Mence, Glynn Lock, Judith French – Royal Solent YC

3rd 101 (ScoobyDoo), Bill Masterman, Dan Mountfield – Hayling Isalnd SC

4th 148 (Shaggy), Mark Darling, John Ironmonger – Hayling Island SC

5th 126 (Pippi), Peter Kirkby, Richard Barker – Queen Mary SC

6th 102 (Fat Face), Martin and Amanda Wadhams, Claire Upton-Brown – Lymington Town SC

7th 156 (Take Two), Jonathan Calascione, Pyers Tucker, Libby Deegan – Queen Mary SC

8th 152 (Didactic Druid), Jon Dutton, Carol Dutton, David Peerless – Lymington Town SC

9th 108 (Jojo), Neil Austen, Giles Chipperfield – Mayflower SC

10th 124 (Djin), Frazer Elms, Georgie Smith, Tash Styles – Hayling Island SC