8 July 2017: Close racing and beautiful conditions at RS200 Open Day
Published 14:23 on 8 Jul 2017
The 45 RS200s that descended on Itchenor Sailing Club on 8-9 July couldn't have asked for a more beautiful weekend, or a more stunning setting, for a weekend's racing.
Race 1 started in a nice 10-knot building sea breeze with the tide already ebbing and pushing boats over the line, which rather inevitably led to a general recall. True to his word the PRO Chris Darling brought out the black flag for the next race putting pressure back on the fleet to behave. Merlin cross-code sailor Olly Turner, and Rheanna Pavey, led the way with Alan Roberts and Emma Best in hot pursuit. Matt Mee and Emma Norris worked their way up through the fleet to finish third on the water and after 7 black flags were handed out, they took the first bullet of the event, with George Yeoman and Sophie Ormsby in second after finishing sixth on the water and Dicken Maclean and Hannah Young third.
The fleet were much better behaved for the start of Race 2 even though the tide was starting to run stronger. The wind had also picked up which led to a tough choice downwind between going high and trying to plane, or pushing low. It was Maria Stanley and Rob Henderson who took the initiative on the first lap taking the lead down the first run and not looking back. George and Sophie, and Dicken and Hannah made the most of the new breeze coming down and jumped the rest of the chasing pack to take second and third again.
Race 3 was Itchenor in full swing. 15 knots with wind against tide made the beats hard work but worth it for the blast downwind. George and Sophie got a jump on the fleet from a mid-line start to allow them to tack for the tide and lead at the top mark. Arthur and Mary Henderson rounded next closely followed by Dicken and Hannah and a crew of Ben Palmer and Claire Walsh. These three boats battled it out for two laps until Dicken and Hannah finally broke free and screamed down the last run hunting down George and Sophie but not quite having enough runway. Ben and Claire came through to take third place.
The final race of the day saw a couple of fresh faces lead the charge. Andy Shaw and Pippa Horne and Stewart and Jack Bowen got the best starts and along with Dicken and Hannah led the fleet around the top mark. Dicken and Hannah took off in a ball of spray and were not seen again whilst Andy and Pippa took a solid grip of second place. On the last lap George and Sophie managed to get a jump down the run to finish behind Andy and Pippa. Unfortunately for Dicken and Hannah their start had been a bit too good as they crossed the line to silence, meaning Andy and Pippa took their first race win of the weekend with George and Sophie in second, followed by Maria and Rob in third. This left George and Sophie leading from Dicken and Hannah and, with big scores already on the board, anything could happen going in to day two.
The beautiful weather continued on Sunday, which started for many with a full cooked breakfast as teams prepared for another big day of sea breeze hiking. But this time the sea breeze failed to supplement a south westerly gradient of about 6-7 knots that swung round to the south-east through the day.
In the first race of the day, a shifty first beat allowed five boats to separate themselves from the pack, with Rob Struckett and Kate Robinson leading at the first mark. Left was the only way out of the flooding tide on the beats but it was a tough call whether to take the shifts or get further out of the tide. In the end, a mixture of the two paid off as Maria Stanley and Rob Henderson took the race on the line from Owain Mathews and Rosie Sibthorp.
The committee boat and windward mark moved further out into the channel in Race 6, which led to a split fleet up the first beat. Those that escaped from the pile-up at the committee boat end were rewarded, though, as the right hand side paid more and more with each leg of the course. Arthur and Mary took the win from both Andy and Pippa, and Jack Holden and Alex Warren.
Race 7 was completely different as the tide started to flow up the course. Suddenly, boats were struggling to stay down-tide of the line and the leaders could come from all sides of the beat. George and Sophie regained the form that had won them day one to take the bullet, with Maria and Rob as well as Matt and Emma in hot pursuit.
The last race brought further challenges as the breeze dropped and tracked round to the left. Owain and Rosie took advantage of the light conditions to finish off with a win. It was all to play for at the top of the leaderboard, with three boats still in with a chance of victory. Matt and Emma and George and Sophie fought back from tough first beats, but it wasn't enough as Maria and Rob held their nerve to take second, and the win overall.
A very proud home fleet took first, second and fourth on the leaderboard but particular congratulations to winners Maria Stanley and Rob Henderson for taking home the Itchenor Burgee trophy.
Last updated 16:24 on 5 August 2021