A total of 34 RS200s enjoyed some close racing at Paignton SC's open meeting last weekend
The GUL RS Racing Circuit hit Torbay in a big way on 16-17 June with three courses spread across the bay. The RS200s and 600s launched from Paignton Beach with Paignton SC running their course. The RS300s, 400s and 800s launched off Torre Abbey Sands in Torquay and the Royal Torbay YC managed their two courses. With the sunshine and fresh breezes of Sunday the boats were a spectacular sight downwind from the shore with multi coloured spinnakers everywhere in the bay.
The weather was some of the most varied imaginable. As the fleets rigged on Saturday morning there was a steady moderate breeze from the north-west. As the fleets launched this wind started to drop and it soon became apparent that something big was brewing to the south of Brixham. As thunder started to rumble under very large, very nasty and very wet looking black clouds, the fleets prepared for a huge downpour. Luckily the clouds took one look at Paignton and rumbled off out to sea causing mayhem with the wind in the process.
Race Officers Ken Falcon, John Haslam and Peter Rumbelow then spent over an hour moving the windward marks round every compass point as the wind continually shifted. Eventually the wind settled down around a mean direction of north-west around a Force 3-4. There were though some big slants and patchs in the wind, which gave some snakes and ladders racing.
Sunday was a lot kinder, the wind stayed in the north-west all day, built slowly so that full on racing took place in Force 4-5 under generally blue skies and plenty of sunshine. It was a blistering good day and many very tired but happy bunnies left after prizegivings at 1600.
The leading helmsmen of the 34-strong RS200 fleet were as one in raving about the racing and conditions at Paignton. Although two boats dominated, Tom Hewitson and Jon Lewis winning all six races between them, they were both keen to emphasis how hard they had been pushed by a fleet that is developing more depth with every event.
Lewis/Lizzie Humphries gained the initial advantage by winning race one from father/son team of Mark and Samuel Littlejohn. Simon Gillow/Vicky Smith read the first beat correctly to lead race one but lost out to Tom and Jo Hewitson downwind, Lewis recovered to finish second with the Littlejohns third and Gillow fourth. Lewis rounded off a good day with another race win with the Hewitsons second.
Sunday’s racing started on time, which caught out quite a few people. Normal service was immediately resumed when Lewis just gained the overlap at the final mark to win from the Hewitsons. The Hewitsons victory in race five set up a tense final race showdown. Lewis held the early advantage but the Hewitsons got through downwind and never looked like giving up their lead. Steve Dunn/Lucy Davey in a new boat were by now finding real boat speed and claimed second with Lewis slipping to third giving overall victory by a point to the Hewitsons. The Littlejohns in third overall are obviously going to be a force in 200s.
Paul and Caroline Fisk slipped a little on Sunday but are well in contention on the GUL RS Racing Circuit.
The Hewitsons have four points counting three out of four events; the Fisks are only just behind with six points.
1. 655, Tom Hewitson Jo Hewitson 7pts
2. 654, Jon Lewis Lizzie Humphries 8pts
3. 520, Mark and Samuel Littlejohn 16pts
4. 700, Dave and Nikki Derby 19pts
5. 626, Paul and Caroline Fisk 28
6. 696, Steve Dunn and Lucy Davey 29
7. 264, Chris and Rachael Jenkins 35
8. 553, Paul and Adam Fox 47
9. 622, Ian Pickard and Trudie Danbury 48
10. 417, Ralph and Sophie Singleton 57