A totalof 27 RS600 sailors charged down to Paignton for what was to be an epic weekend's racing with the results only decided up the last beat of the last race

The second leg of the GUL RS Grand Slam series rolled into Torbay on 18-19 May 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 two 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.

RS600 A totalof 27 RS600 sailors charged down to Paignton for what was to be an epic weekend’s racing with the results only decided up the last beat of the last race. As the fleet headed out to the racecoursre for the first race on Saturday, excitement turned to nerves and uncertainty in the gusting 25 knot winds. Ken Falcon’s impeccable race management quickly got race one underway. The trapezoid course saw the 600s at top whack and screaming down the reaches with Alex Southon taking control of the fleet with York’s smooth style taking him to second with Brian Greensmith third and Andy Peake fourth.

Alex Southon was on fire again in the second race leading the boats on the left comfortably and tacking just inside Greensmith coming in from the right. Hitching into an enormous gust, the two leaders disappeared away from the fleet down a fast broad reach. Greensmith slipped through on the tricky bear away onto the run but then went for a swim at the gybe leaving Southern to take a second confident win. Peake climbed up to second with York third and Greensmith fourth

Southon was hot off the blocks once again in the third race but was pressurised by a determined Peake. On the second round, it was Peake’s turn to disappear away to a huge win, while back down the fleet fatigue began to tell and with 50 per cent retirements. However, Greensmith emerged from the mêlée in second with York third and Pete Sanders wrestling his way up to fourth.

Going in to Sunday’s racing two points separated the top four boats. With Forece 7 forecast a worried fleet reassembled on Paignton green and tentatively rigged their boats with the main players sticking with full rigs. A big shift just after the start of race four saw Greensmith and Marshall tack away from the fleet and Greensmith lead round the windward mark comfortably only to park up in a hole across the reach. York hooked a fabulous gust and trapezed straight over the top and was never troubled again. A better course with a longer run made life more interesting behind. Big holes had half the fleet congratulating themselves on their skill and guile while the other half counselled their boats in a rage. Greensmith clung onto second but Marshall and Freer were all over him taking third and fourth respectively and Southon fifth..

The fifth race was a regular street fight with exceptionally tight racing. With the course closer to the cliffs the right hand corner boys headed for the shore bend while the rapid tacking club of Chapman, Greensmith and Bean picked the shifts up the middle. Greensmith got away but then made the school boy error of not going the same way as Marshall down the run and dropped to sixth. Marshall, York, Freer and local hood Proctor scrapped away less than boat lengths apart but Southon was finding his form again, stealing an emotional first and now back in the hunt for the title. Freer piped York for second with Marshall fourth and Proctor fifth.

Going in to the last race there was everything to play for with York, Greensmith and Southon all in with a chance of taking the overall win. However, Southon took a black flag and headed for home leaving York and Greensmith to fight it out. An early capsize for Greensmith put York in a strong position and after a five-boat battle up the last beat his nerve held and he took second by half a length and with it a well deserved overall win.

Overall Results

1st 946 Anthony York, Northampton

2nd 734 Brian Greensmith, Calshot

3rd 967 Alex Newton-Sothon, Hayling Island SC

4th Andrew Peake, Bough Beech SC

5th 909, Peter Sanders, Datchet

6th 870 Paul Procter, Paignton