Royal Torbay YC was the host club for last weekend's (18-19 May) GUL RS Grand Slam series
The second leg of the GUL RS Grand Slam series rolled into Torbay on May 18/19 for a real action- packed weekend. With the RS300, 400, 700, 800 and K6s being run on three courses by the Royal Torbay YC and the RS200 and 600s on a separate course run by Paignton SC there was incident packed racing wherever you looked in Torbay. On Saturday the mean wind was 18-20 knots but with regular big lumps hitting the race courses there were some white knuckle runs for many. Sunday saw almost perfect conditions with a much steadier 12-14 knots allowing almost every boat to enjoy good racing. If this was not enough the RS Racing Ball was held in the Riveria Centre at Torquay on Saturday night with 270 people making it the best ever attended RS Ball. A highlight of the evening was the competition for a Caribbean holiday for 2 racing on board one of their Farr 65s, donated by Formula One Events. Both host clubs responded extremely well to the challenge of running such a huge event with 170 boats spread over the four courses. On the late Sunday afternoon the M5 was full of various RS sailors heading home, totally shattered but very happy.
The first race on Saturday started in 20-25 knots of breeze, and Graham Sanderson was an early leader followed by Steve Cook and Nick Bolland. After several capsizes and place changes the eventual order was Bolland followed by Mawson. The next race saw Steve Cook go hard right to take the race from Bolland, with more capsizes and nosedives behind them. The wind increased to 27 knots for the last race, which prompted some of the fleet to call it a day, leaving Bolland and Mawson to fight it out. In a shortened race of just one round, it was Bolland first and Mawson second. Despite forecasts of 30 knots plus for Sunday, the racing was held in a more reasonable 15 knots, allowing for proper racing to take the place of the survival tactics of the previous day. Bolland took first place again, with his brother Steve making an appearance in second place. N Bolland took the lead again in race two, but on the second beat, Mawson took advantage of a shift to the right and took the lead at the windward mark and held it to the finish. Another race was scheduled, however no-one in the fleet seemed to have read their sailing instructions and sailed in after the second race, resulting in the whole fleet scoring DNC for the last race. Ooops! This left the results unchanged with Nick Bolland a worthy winner having shown consistent speed in all conditions. RS700s
With the forecast of a windy weekend an eager fleet of RS700s gathered in Paignton for a test of boat handling and racing skills. The dual of the weekend started straight away with Paul Bayliss and Andy White tussling for the lead, before White capsized in the gusty conditions leaving Bayliss to romp home, with White in second and Tim Johnson in third.
The wind increased for race two, with gusts of 30 knots being record by the committee boat. The racing began with a much-depleted fleet; the most notable absentee was Carl Vining who broke some ribs in the first race. Bayliss and White again fought for the lead, but it was Bayliss who faulted to give White the win, followed by Paul Bartlett. Sundays racing got underway in a gusty Force 3 which promised to build. White led down the first run, before being overtaken by Johnson who went on to win, while Bayliss tried to get his capsizing for the day out of the way.
Bartlett led race four, but the late starting Bayliss carried his spinnaker across the first reach in to first place. Bayliss was later over taken by White to take the race, and win and the event with a race to spare. The promised strong winds arrived for the final race. White again led up the first beat, but was unable to tack in a huge gust, this enabled Bayliss to grab the lead which he held to the finish followed by White and Johnson.
The strong winds of the Gul RS grand slam event at Torquay provided some very exciting racing for the RS K6s, which are so well suited to this breeze. No one in this class was sitting on the side saying “maybe it’s too windy”. The race officer set good windward/leeward courses which provided plenty of scope for changing places, both upwind in the shifts and downwind in the gusts. Upwind, the K6 tacks relatively quickly despite being a keelboat so it was largely a question of who picked out the shifts best. Two races were sailed on Saturday, with Martin Wadham, Amanda Davies and Michelle Henry slugging it out with Richard Sullivan and Roger Aldershaw at the front. Both races were won by Wadhams and his team, but he nearly gave the other boats a chance when he overstood the leeward mark in race two. The rest of the fleet thought their chance had come, but slick boat handling saw the leading boat get away again despite the error. Three races on Sunday saw very close racing at the front with very well matched speed between the front few boats. Somehow though Wadhams always seemed to be at the front when the gun went and he took all three races. The pecking order at the front of the K6 fleet is yet to be firmly established after Sullivan/Aldershaw walked away with a win at the previous open meeting.