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.
An eager 18 boat RS600 fleet arrived in Paignton, keenly anticipating some good breeze, top competitive racing and good prizes that the Gul Racing Circuit is now renowned for. After chasing the wind and committee boat around Torbay for three hours and the passing of a few rain clouds, the wind settled to a nice, if slightly shifty, 13-15 knots with a few stronger gusts.
Race one commenced with those that went left sailing off and those that went right never really recovering. Paul Craig led into the first mark but a small tacking problem and a bit of reversing saw Tony Freer take up the lead, from where he was never really challenged, with Brian Greensmith showing some blistering speed to secure a well deserved second.
Race two and everyone went left with Alex Southon showing the fleet a clean pair of heels, as a tightly fought race for the lower positions developed. Greensmith again confounded the fleet with his boatspeed to finish second.
Race three and Greensmith got a good start and cruised round for two and a half rounds, until Southon got the bit between his teeth and sailed a very fast last run, with a ferocious gybing duel ensuing for the advantage round the last mark. With only a short reach to the finish, Southon succeeded in gaining the inside line and won from Greensmith. Mark Sempers who sailed a tidy race and picked the shifts well up the last beat to gain his first real result of the weekend in third.
Sunday morning, and another pleasant 12-14 knots and race four was started on time. This confused some competitors, as some were still near the windward mark making their way to the start area! The first beat was a Portchester SC benefit with Matt Huphreys having found the ‘on’ button for his new boat leading from Alex Davies, this continued until the last round where Sempers and Southon pulled through to second and third and Davies finishing fourth.
Race five, with the breeze building and the new boat magic was still working with Humphreys trading first place with Greensmith with the lead swapping an alleged eight times. Huphreys held the lead from the last windward mark to the finish, Greensmith again took second, Freer was third and Southon finsihed fourth.
The last race, in a bit more breeze saw Davies leading into the windward mark, when a slight misjudge