The RS classes made their first ever visit to Abersoch for a Racing Circuit event when RS200s and RS400s held round 2 of the 2004 Fat Face Racing Circuit last weekend
The RS classes made their first ever visit to Abersoch for a Racing Circuit event when RS200s and RS400s held round 2 of the 2004 Fat Face Racing Circuit over the Saturday and Sunday of Easter; it proved well worth the wait. Abersoch has a high reputation as a venue and South Caernarvonshire YC made an immediate strong impression on the RS fleets with a friendly welcome.
Unfortunately the weather did not play ball on the Saturday. Unusually for a Bank Holiday in the UK it was not raining and it was relatively mild but there was not a faintest hint of a ripple on the water. Sailors contented themselves with beach cricket, tweaking boats and body boarding; just as the first pints were ordered a faint breeze filled in and a course was rapidly set. As the first boats reached the race area the inevitable happened, the breeze disappeared and the fleet had to be towed ashore. Luckily SCYC showed they could run a bar and short people had a fun filled evening.
Sunday morning and if anything the weather seemed worse. Just as people started to think this was going to be a wasted weekend a light breeze from the south-west filled in. PRO Mike Crompton quickly announced that the Race Committee was going to set a course and the fleets should launch. It was a pretty dubious fleet that went to change; little did they know how good it was going to get.
Race 1 started in a light 5-6kt breeze on a port-biased line. Lee Sydenham and Ann Vaudrey flew off the line to lead straight away and went on to win the race from Steve Dunn, with Sheena Craig making a guest star appearance as crew. Ian Pickard and Noelle Vidal were in close company in third.
The breeze was now building to 10kts with the sun starting to break through the clouds this was becoming a very pleasant day racing. Jon Lewis and Millie Parsons started near the committee boat and went further right to lead. Sydenham and Vaudrey worked their way through to be a close second with Dunn and Craig third.
Abersoch was seen at its glorious best for race 3 with 12-14kts of breeze and sunshine. The fleets could not believe their luck; all the waiting around had really been worth it. Pete Vincent and Eluned “Tiny taff” Jones won the committee boat end and led at mark 1 from Dunn and Craig. The race quickly developed into a close romantic match race between Vincent and Jones and James Stewart and Sam Littlejohn but boat rules prevent me reporting further except to say that Stewart won from Vincent. Dunn and Sarah Taylor and Simon Fell had a close fight for third until Sydenham again pulled through to claim third.
PRO Mike Crompton had set excellent courses and also turned racing around very smartly so there was plenty of time to run a fourth race which was to prove the closest of the day. Vincent and Jones again worked the right side of the first beat well to lead with Dunn and Lewis in close company. A lead they held for a lap before Dunn took over moving him into an overall winning position. With Sydenham now joining in the four leading boats were now very close and it was any ones race. Dunn led at the start of the final run but Sydenham gybed straight away and gained the decisive advantage to win the race from Lewis, Dunn and Vincent to win overall. In an equally close finish Trudie Danbury and Bert just got water on Sarah Allen and Veryan Ridler and Sarah Taylor and Simon Fell at the final mark to be first lady helmsman by a point from the two Sarahs. Ian Pickard now has a vice like grip on the Duckhams award with a consistently high performance at events so far after getting his car and double stack stuck on the beach.
Race 1 began with a general recall as the fleet all struggled to bag the pin end of a heavily port-biased line. After a slight adjustment and with the hoisting of the black flag, a second start got away cleanly. Roger Gilbert and Toby Lewis laid down the challenge by working the shifts up the right hand side of the beat to lead at the windward mark from where they sailed on to win unchallenged. Nick Craig and Keith Bedborough followed in second, with Craig Burlton and Andrew Bonsey in 3rd.
In race 2, Mike Budd and Arline Couch found their form and, after notching up a 10th in the previous race, they made the best of a strengthening breeze to take the win. Gilbert and Lewis were not far behind however, and consolidated their earlier win with a 2nd. Chris Jennings and Ed Nicklin scored their best result of the weekend to finish 3rd.
By the start of race 3, the wind had swung to give a slight starboard bias to the start line. The black flag was hoisted and, after deciding they didn’t fancy the next race, The Brothers Grimm shot off the line about 30 seconds early, taking five other boats with them. It was therefore a slightly reduced fleet that got away at the second attempt. Again, Gilbert and Lewis were on the pace and took another win, effectively winning the event although the battle for second remained wide open. Budd and Couch continued their good run by bagging second in the race, closely followed by Burlton and Bonsey.
With the event already won, Gilbert and Lewis might not have bothered with the last race, but as if to underline their dominance of the event, they sailed on to win race 4 as well. Craig and Bedborough won the tight battle for second place, enough to give them 2nd overall, while Budd and Couch’s 6th was sufficient to secure them 3rd overall. A consistent scoreline of 3 3rd’s gave Burlton and Bonsey 4th overall.