Following the light conditions of the previous day, exciting racing was anticipated this morning (8 August) as the sailors were greeted with a steady 20 knots. Anticipation turned to disappointment for the RS700 and RS800 fleet, however, as the wind increased to 28 knots and the race committee made the decision to postpone until 1400 hours, before finally abandoning. Nevertheless, serious competition ensued on the beach in the landyachts. Fastest time around the America’s Cup style course went to Matt Critchley!
Today’s conditions were a complete turnaround from yesterday for the RS400 national championship, the fleet turned up to the dinghy park in the pouring rain with the breeze blowing. The presence of the breeze was a great relief to many of the fleet who had performed badly the day before, however, conditions were to prove trickier than expected and the results posted were not quite what everyone might have wanted.
Launching was to prove lively and the run out to the course exciting, with a number of the fleet sacrificing their packed lunches to the sea early. Out past the mount a full foaming Force 5 directly from the west greeted the fleet with associated big waves, which were to prove the downfall of many.
The first race was kicked off by David Brown and Sheena Craig as pathfinder, unfortunately their race was to end with a retirement as their main halyard broke just 20 seconds after being released by the gate boat! The vast majority of the fleet was looking to start late except for Colin and Tony Prince, renowned for their upwind speed in a breeze, who were first out of the gate and subsequently first to the windward mark. Stewart and Ben Robertson also had a good first beat and were second round but both the leading boats were to capsize and not return to the top ten.
Mark Needler and Sarah Allen rounded the mark within the top five and gybed early in a large gust, one awesome run later and they had a clear lead at the leeward mark. Mark and Sarah’s lack of weight proved a disadvantage over Chris Jennings and Ed Nicklin who stormed up the second beat to take a lead which they solidly maintained to the end of the race. Needler was to remain at the top of the fleet until a rudder failure caused him to capsize on the last run and put him out of the running. Second on the water was Richard Catchpole and Alan Woosey, a result that would have left them looking very shining, however a navigational error on their behalf resulted in disqualification and handed the position to Craig Burlton and Andrew Bonsey who returned to their more consistent ways. Third was Richard Cain and Alan Hickman, fourth Greg O’Brien and John Blundell, fifth Ian Robson and Alice Johnson.
Jason Pyke and Ian Gregory wove their way down through the upturned hulls on the last run to finish 10th and therefore they were pathfinder for the second race. Their first run was aborted as they were knocked heavily and much of the fleet was caught to windward. On the restart Colin and Tony Prince were again first out of the gate and again first to the windward mark. They maintained a top position throughout most of the race, unfortunately for these fast guys the last run was to prove their undoing and a capsize took them out of the top five.
Dan Vincent and Adrian Lynham also had ballistic speed on the first beat and rounded second. Dan claimed that he needed the upwind speed to allow time for the swims one of which followed shortly after the start of the first run, he used his speed well to drive back up to sixth. Greg O’Brien and John Blundell rounded third but a capsize was to leave them in 15th. Roger Gilbert and James Stewart finally found their form and after a tight battle with the Prince’s for most of the race they took the bullet. Steve Venebles and Richard Brown also finding their form, came in second from Craig Burlton, who won the day with five points. Fourth was Phil Jackson and Gerard Barron, who had a v