A foggy start welcomed the strong RS700 fleet for the winter championship at Oxford Sailing Club last weekend

A foggy start welcomed the strong RS700 fleet for the winter championship at Oxford Sailing Club on 16-17 February. However, as the morning went on the sun came out and competitors were blessed with warm sunshine and light breeze. All the races were extremely closely contested with a very busy windward mark, and places changing throughout all the races, but it was Tim Johnson from Chew Valley SC who took line honours in all but one of the races.

Race one saw Tim Johnson (Chew Valley SC) and Andy White (Stokes Bay SC), current inland champion, zoom off the start line and away in a battle for first place, closely followed by Tim Garvin (Queen Mary SC and newcomer to the fleet, ex-Contender sailor Nigel Walbank (Lymington SC), and Carl Vining (Datchet Water SC). Line honours went to Andy White.

Race two again saw Johnson finish first, with White second and Charley Merchant (LDC) third.

Race three was won by Johnson again, with White who was in second place for the whole race, being pipped at the post by Garvin, closely followed by Walbank.

On Sunday, the fog was there to greet them again, but the forecast was for sunny and light winds later on, so the race officer waited and was rewarded by perfect sunshine, and a good breeze in which to run the last few races.

Race four saw Garvin take the left-hand side of the beat to round the windward mark in first place followed by Johnson, Walbank and White. Garvin lengthened his lead by flying his kite early on the tight reach to the spacer mark and opened up the lead on the fleet, only to head for the wrong leeward mark, boats through. After a long battle, which saw Vining, Johnson, White and Walbank fight it out for second place, line honours again went to Johnson with White second, Walbank third Vining fourth and Garvin fifth.

With first and second place overall sewn up, the battle for third was on for the final race, which saw Johnson and White take first and second, and Walbank pulling out the stops to claim third place, followed by Vining and Garvin.