At total of 17 RS700 made the journey to Chew Valley Lake SC for the first event of the season

The first event of the 2003 RS Fat Face Circuit welcomed 17 RS700s to a sunny and warm weekend of close racing. Chew Valley hosted a total of 56 RS600s, RS700s and RS800s racing on different courses but using the same start and finish lines. The race team managed the fleets with alacrity and style. As far as we know no one got lost!

Saturday’s breeze was from the east, Force 2-4 and shifting through thirty degrees all day. These conditions tested the sailors’ boathandling, tactics and boatspeed skills to the full. The first race was dominated by Andy White, who had Tim Johnson and Tony Freer snapping at his heels but neither were able to get ahead of White. In the second race Stuart Speer led around the first mark but in the changeable conditions was soon overtaken by the pack. White was on the right side of the shifts again and won by 5 metres. Jerry Wales sailed well to finish second just a metre ahead of Johnson who had recovered from a dreadful first lap. With the wind increasing for the third race White led the pack again until capsizing at the final mark! Andy Irons capitalised on the mistake to take the third gun. White limped home in second just ahead of Carl Vining and Andrew Peake. White had won the day by a handsome margin with the rest of the fleet struggling for consistency.

Sunday’s breeze was shifty once again and the fourth race started promptly at 10.40am. Freer went left on the second beat and sailed from 7th to 1st. He held onto the lead until capsizing on the final run. Jerry Wales, sailing consistently, won, with Johnson and Irons close behind. The fifth race was heavily contested in the first lap, but Johnson found the right shifts downwind to win by a leg from Peake and the speedy 69Kg Jon Emmett. The tight competitive racing and variable conditions meant that the open meeting was still winnable by any of the top 5. The sixth race was sailed in the lightest winds of the weekend. Wales sailed a brilliant first lap and took a hundred yards out of Neil Sanders who took another hundred yards out of the pack. The pack with all title contenders (except Wales) was parked up at the windward mark. Escape routes were tried by many but clear air was hard to come by. Dave Aston, Nigel Walbank, Dave Merchant and Johnson all got clear early to chase Wales and Sanders. Their lead proved to be unassailable but Johnson managed to clinch third and the regatta. White sailed to a second in the regatta after being on the wrong side of too many shifts on the Sunday. Wales clinched third with 2 firsts and a second. Freer, in his first regatta in a RS700. finished fourth. With Peake, Irons and Vining close behind.

Overall Results

1 762, Tim Johnson 11

2 741, Andy White 14

3 841, Jerry Wales 17

4 822, Tony Frer 22

5 750, Andrew Peake 24

6 823, Andy Irons 28

7 716, Carl Vining 29

8 718, Tim Garvin 34

9 775, Nigel Walbank 41

10 721, Neil Sanders 44

11 839, Jon Emmett 45

12 834, Dave Merchant 48

13 843, David Aston 57

14 855, Loopy 58

15 753, Eddie Gatehouse 64

16 803, Tim Dickinson 66

17 777, Stewart Speer 83