A total of 21 boats turned out for the Gul RS300 national championship at Brixham
The Gul RS300 national championship held from 29 May-1 June at Brixham YC, was attended by 21 competitors who enjoyed the breezy conditions and the superb hospitality of the host club. Starting into sunny Force 3 south-westerly, Ian Baillie posted his intentions early in race 1 by leading the fleet at the first mark from class coach Matt Sargent and Steve Bolland, with his better downwind speed keeping him ahead of these two to take the first gun.
A windshift just as race two got underway saw Chris Hart port tack across the fleet, but Steve Bolland took better advantage and had an unassailable lead by the first mark. Rob Eastwood headed the chasing pack but Sargent and Nick Bolland soon took up the running until Baillie used a late shift to claim second.
The next day gave similar conditions but with rain squalls to make things interesting. Baillie used his downwind speed to move into the lead on lap 1 of race 3 and was not caught. Steve Bolland was second ahead of Sargent.
Baillie continued his winning ways in race 4, leading from off the line. Steve Bolland finished second again but subsequently retired when it became apparent he had sailed the wrong course. This moved Sargent up into second and Neil Beveridge into third.
Ben Yeats was the early leader in race 5 but he was not able to stay with the pace of Steve Bolland and Baillie, who had a great tussle before Bolland emerged victorious.
It was raining and the wind was rising on Day 3. But Baillie enjoyed the bigger waves to record another win, with Steve Bolland edging out Sargent on the last lap. The wind and waves continued to rise as race 7 got underway. Baillie was first round the windward mark but a mis-timed gybe sent him swimming. Sargent took the lead and was pushed hard by Beveridge throughout, with Steve Cook third.
The final day looked like a nerve jangler, with the gradient and thermal breeze competing to make it light and fickle. Steve and Nick Bolland, Yeats and Baillie took up the running and swapped places until Baillie caught the best shift to take the lead just as the shortened course flag went up. Nick Bolland, Yeats and Steve Bolland finished close behind, but Baillie had done enough to secure his first RS300 national title.
A shortened race 9 was restarted into a sparkling Force 4 with Steve Bolland winning. Sargent capsized within swimming distance of the finish line letting Baillie and Yeats through.
The final race was held in sunshine and Force 5. Baillie stormed up the first beat to lead from Sargent but with his mind heading for shore he suffered a short capsize at the final mark which allowed Sargent to pass and hold him off to the finish. Yeats capped an excellent day with another third.
So Ian Baillie emerged as the clear winner in a hard fought championship to become the 2004 RS300 National Champion. Eddie Griffiths was the top youth and Silver Fleet winner in ninth position and Paul Barker was the first master in tenth.
1. Ian Baillie Dalgety Bay SC 11pts
2. Steve Bolland Bristol Corinthian YC 19pts
3. Matt Sargent Royal Artillery YC 20pts
4. Nick Bolland Draycote Water SC 34pts
5. Ben Yeats Chanonry SC 35pts