Gill RS800 European Championships, Riva del Garda - Final report

Gill RS800 European Championships, Riva del Garda 2014
Paul Wyeth
Gill RS800 European Championships, Riva del Garda - Day four - As everyone reached the committee boat, the Ora (the Southerly thermal wind) came in and soon built to 13-15 knots, almost as if it was planned! We finally had the weather Garda is so famous for, sun and wind!

Off the first start the fleet headed inshore on the left towards the cliffs on the Torbole side of the lake. All except Tim Saxton and Sam Littlejohn who made their intentions clear, and took a risk by heading for the cliffs on the far right of the beat.

As the two sides came back together at the windward mark, Tim and Sam had a slight lead ahead of Dave and Lou Steed, James Date and Toby Wincer.

Saxton-Littlejohn held their lead to the finish, whilst Date-Wincer and Pete Barton and Chris Feibusch had an intense battle down the final run with Date-Wincer eventually sneaking second place meters from the finish line. The Steed's and Dave Hivey and James Barlow rounded out the top five.

gar14d4-329 - Gill RS800 European Championships, Riva del Garda 2014
Paul Wyeth

The second race began in a similar fashion to the end of the first with the fleet racing towards the cliffs on the hard right of the beat, with gusts pushing towards 20 kts. After clear starts Saxton-Littlejohn and Date-Wincer rounded the first mark in that order and extended to the finish. Barton-Feibusch and the Steed's again took third and fourth respectively with James Green and James Trewick showing great pace to round out the top five.

A small left shift before the final start of the day meant that the boats starting towards the pin, and crossing early on port had the advantage. Hivey-Barlow made the most of this to lead round the windward followed by Andy and Allyson Jeffries and Luke and Emma McEwen. However, Saxton-Littlejohn sailed a great run and second beat to lead round the next windward after Hivey-Barlow tacked just under the starboard lay-line and had to do an extra two tacks.

Saxton-Littlejohn again held out to the finish to round off an excellent day, followed by the Jeffries', Hivey-Barlow, Date-Wincer after a strong recovery and Barton-Feibusch.

The final race of the day brought in the second discard closing up the points at the top with Saxton-Littlejohn one point clear of Date-Wincer, themselves one ahead of Hivey-Barlow.

With two more races to finish the regatta tomorrow it will be a great finish, with Date-Wincer in a strong position with two fourths as discards and Barton-Feibusch able to challenge for the podium with a good day. Let’s hope for the same sun and wind as today!

Day five

The final day of competition was all set up for a grandstand finish, with the northerly dying off early and scorching hot temperatures, the signs were good for a big Ora day to finish off the week.

The first race of the day was led from the off by Andy and Allyson Jeffries with a trademark through the fleet on port start to lead the race to the cliffs in a building 18 knots of breeze. In second and revelling in the conditions were Pete Barton and Chris Feibusch. Also in the mix were the podium contenders with Dave Hivey and James Barlow leading Tim Saxton and Sam Littlejohn, with James Date and Toby Wincer in hot pursuit.

Date-Wincer managed to get involved down the run with a nicely timed gybe on Saxton-Littlejohn at the leeward gates nearly sending them swimming and pushing them back a few places. Whilst Andy and Allyson and Barton Feibusch extended at the front, Date-Wincer set about chasing down Hivey-Barlow. Despite catching to within a couple of boat lengths at the finish, the race finished in that order, with Saxton-Littlejohn recovering well to come in fifth.

And that set up a truly scintillating finale, Saxton-Littlejohn, Date-Wincer and Hivey-Barlow all tied on points, with a couple of nasty discards hanging over the heads of two of the boats, it was all to play for, but any resurrection of university team racing skills was out of the question. It was a final race showdown to decide the title!

To add to the occasion, the Ora decided to ramp up a few knots to be pushing and perhaps exceeding 30 knots at times. This was going to be a war of attrition, and what a way to finish the regatta.

And there is only one word to describe this final race. Epic! With nothing worse than a fourth on their scorecard, Date-Wincer went for a more high risk approach starting on port through the fleet. This went badly and resulted in swimming. Perfectly executed starts from Saxton-Littlejohn and Hivey-Barlow saw them first and second around the top mark. Barton-Feibusch were in the mix as usual, with Martin Boatman and Andrew Brown and James Green and Jamie Trewick also enjoying the conditions and putting in their best showing of the week.

And that was surely it, a straight out battle for the victory at the front between Saxton-Littlejohn and Hivey-Barlow with Date-Wincer spectating from the side lines praying to the Ora god that both of them ended up worse than fourth. This wouldn’t have been exciting enough for the script so Hivey-Barlow duly obliged by falling in the water on their gybe set. Date-Wincer powered past in full catch up mode before binning it spectacularly at the gybe at the cliffs. Saxton-Littlejohn merely had to hold it together for the victory, but that would have also been too simple, so a quick trawl of the kite and a swim at the next windward really threw everything up in the air again. Boatman-Brown were now out in front followed by Barton-Feibusch and Green-Trewick with Hugh Watson and Andy Watkins having a great race, and Luke and Emma McEwan also keeping it upright and fast.

gar14d4-384 - Gill RS800 European Championships, Riva del Garda 2014
Paul Wyeth

Lap two and it was looking good for Date-Wincer with Hivey-Barlow in sixth and Saxton-Littlejohn in seventh, a result that would have seen the European title retained. With the breeze really ramping up and the carnage increasing, it would all go down to the last run. Boatman-Brown swam at the windward mark leaving Barton-Feibusch to power away to a great victory, continuing their habit of winning the last race of every regatta they do. Saxton-Littlejohn had a fantastic last beat and run to move through into second. Green-Trewick took a superb third showing they are really getting to grips with the 800 and finishing the event on a high. Hivey-Barlow took two boats down the last run to move into fourth, just passing the McEwans within sight of the finish line.

So, Saxton-Littlejohn very deservedly crowned European Champions by two points having sailed a superb week, with Hivey-Barlow doing the enough on the last run to pip Date-Wincer on count back to complete the podium.

Another classic RS800 regatta with six different race winners and a final race showdown of truly epic proportions, there cannot be a better class to be racing in at the moment. The chat in the Occa bar on Friday night after a great prize giving hosted by Fraglia Vela Riva was all of the Nationals in a few weeks’ time, and yet again, we have no idea how that story will unfold.

The fleet would like to thank all involved in putting together another great trip to Riva, which despite its best efforts the weather did not manage to dampen, and we can’t wait to go back in two years’ time.

Final Results      
1GBR 1203Tim Saxton, Sam Littlejohn, Grafham Water SC19,0(6)1(9)3511152
2GBR 1211David Hivey, James Barlow, RYA21,01(20)2125(12)334
3GBR 1195James Date, Toby Wincer, Port Dinorwic SC21,0231(4)32244(dnf)
4GBR 949Peter Barton, Chris Feibusch, HISC23,0(8)(18)32433521
5GBR 1129Luke McEwen, Emma McEwen, Royal Lymington YC45,0354(12)6(15)10665
6GBR 1212Andy Jeffries, Allyson Jeffries, Eastbourne Sovereign SC48,0(10)95699721(dnf)
7GBR 1180Tom Halhead, Stu Jagger49,05(16)671887(12)7
8GBR 1154David Steed, Louise Steed, Netley SC54,04281074415(18)(16)
9GBR 1138Martin Boatman, Andrew Brown60,0(28)678869(13)79
10GBR 1133Hugh Watson, Andy Watkins, Emsworth SC83,0(20)812(21)18716886
11FRA 897Gilles Peeters, Jean Rouillon, YC Carnac87,016111051014(33)1110(21)
12GBR 1163James Green, James Trewick, Beer SC91,0(21)7171416165(20)133
13GBR 868Joel Walker, Sarah Crossman, Lancing SC94,074161113(25)181411(24)
14GBR 1135Ella Morland, James Morland, Warsash SC99,09(19)(18)13121114101614
15GBR 1128Seb Baucutt, Alex Farrell, Essex YC117,01417(dnf)(dnf)2410229912
16GBR 1142Oli Woods, Jane Turner, Itchenor SC118,0(27)14(dnf)923241112178
17GBR 7Derek Buchanan, Elaine Buchanan, Oxford SC129,0131215202121(28)16(22)11
18GBR 1073David Conlon, Ed Gibbons132,011131915111232(ocs)19(dnf)
19GBR 1202Andrew Blundell, Maddie Fenner, Weston SC133,01224111614(26)1323(26)20
20GBR 1132Mick Whitmore, Sarah Smith, Eastbourne Sovereign SC139,01710211819221517(23)(dnf)
21GBR 1148Steven Greaves, Caroline Edwards, Rickmansworth SC149,015(27)242317206(30)2123
22GBR 1091Paul Jenkins, Peter Jenkins, Weir Wood SC151,0(26)152022221823(28)1417
23FRA 1130Julian Antier, Fritsch Boris160,022(31)2319(27)2327211510
24GBR 1185Stephen Brown, Philip Bairstow, Ullswater YC177,019(dnf)14(dnf)331320332025
25FRA 1161Jean-Louis Treguier, Camille Donnet Bart, Club Nautique de Viry183,029211325151730(35)33(dnf)
26GBR 1010John Warburton, James Clapham, Royal Torbay YC186,023(33)272725(29)21222813
27GBR 982Aaron Smith, Alec Rodgers, Wilsonian SC194,018282229(30)19242727(dnf)
28GBR 1072Jon Bennett, Guy Whittaker197,0(31)2226262927172624(dnf)
29GBR 1099Alistair Hodgson, Penny Hooper, Draycote Water SC198,025262917(31)(31)26183126
30GBR 1087Tim Palmer, Alex Nelson204,02429(31)242628192529(dnf)
31GBR 1005Ian Jubb, Sarah Martin210,0(dns)25303220303124(ocs)18
32GBR 1047Adam Knight, Nico Ozanne214,0(dns)(dnf)3328363325192515
33GER 961Stewart Patience, Felix Krause, Berliner YC248,0303425(dnf)28322929(dnf)dnf
34GBR 1122Grahame Smith, Nicola Smith, Wilsonian SC258,035(dnf)343434(37)36313222
35GBR 1121Paul Blackburn, Phil Burchell, Stokes Bay SC267,0(dns)3028313534(dnf)3236dnf
36GBR 1015Simon Payne, Fenella Williams, Oxford SC270,03432(35)333235353435(dnf)
37FRA 1100Jean-Francois Oger, Philippe Oger, CSAGS282,032(dnf)323037(dnf)373637dnf
38GBR 1066Clive Everest, Alex Everest, HISC287,033(dnf)(dnf)dnfdnfdnfdnfdnf3019
39GBR 932Brian Allen, Claire Allen, Brightlightsea SC287,03623(dnf)(dnf)dnfdnf343734dnf
40GER 1191Andrew Scoones, Lucy Scoones, Echinger SC323,0(dns)(dnf)dnfdnfdnf36dnfdnfdnfdnf
Programma per le Classifiche delle Regate Veliche ZW, 4.023.087Copyright 1986 - 2014, Leo G Eggink, Zoetermeer