Tom and Jo Hewitson win RS200 inland championship at Draycote Water 13/10/06
It has been a big season for RS200s, record turnouts for the nationals, biggest ever Eurocup, number one two man class in the country and it ended in a really big way at Draycote Water SC on 8-9 October. The GUL RS200 Inlands attracted a record entry for an RS Inlands with an entry of 111 boats.
Saturday saw totally clear blue skies and warm autumn sunshine and a mighty fine breeze blowing down the length of the lake giving great conditions, 14-19 knots of wind for the racing.
For the first time RS200s were going to race under a flight format. Everyone had to pre enter and the entrants were split into four equal fleets, two fleets raced together at a time with two separate starts per race with the fleets starting first going onto the outer loop with a separate finishing line.
Over six races every fleet sailed against every other fleet twice; there were no qualifying races to produce gold and silver fleets. This was a big ask for the race teams to organise but PRO Chris Avery supported by Bob Craggs and John Rhode rose to the task with great skill; good courses and managed the whole schedule very well as shown by the fact that in 12 starts there was only one general recall.
So enter the competitors who promptly did what RS200 do best, have a ball with some very tight racing. After three races on Saturday and Mike Saul/Sophie Hartley had put their poor Gul Nationals result behind them a fine 1.3.2 scoreline to lead. One point behind them were the ultra consistent Tom and Jo Hewitson with 2.2.3 with Lee Sydenham/Jane Willan in very close company with a score of 7.1.1. The surprise was that Geoff Carveth/Heather King was out of touch without a top ten finish.
Sunday and the wind was now across the lake starting off much lighter and much more patchy. The wind for the first race started around 8 knots but the breeze gradually built throughout the day to 14 knots; its patchy nature gave some real ladders downwind if you got it right.
Sarah Allan/Pete Rowley had three top tens on Saturday but hit real form with a 1.3 in races 4 and 5. Josh Gebhard/Ginger Jeffery matched this score with 3.1 but it was Carveth/Heather King who were the stars with two very emphatic race wins. None of this though could make an impression on the leading two boats, the Hewitsons and Saul/Hartley had remained consistently in the top four and entering the last round of races it was only these two boats that could win. The Hewitsons settled the issue by doing a blue horizon job to win their race and the Gul Inlands for the fifth time.