Olly Straker wins RS600 Winter Championship

Fifteen RS600s descended on Datchet Water SC for the 2007 GUL Winter Championships. Saturday provided some superb conditions with 15ish knots of breeze. It was a bit chilly, but there wouldn’t be much point in having a winter championships if it wasn’t!!

Race one got under way with the fleet splitting to both sides of the course on the first beat. About halfway up the beat a blue haze descended on the reservoir as Olly Straker (983) snapped his halyard. We are sure that the Queen, overlooking the lake from her castle, was most displeased at the language drifting in the wind.

David Annan (815) took an early lead but was caught by Jamie Mawson (982) down the run. On the second upwind leg, Mawson was involved in a collision with an RS800 as it came downwind under spinnaker. This allowed Annan back into the lead which he maintained to the finish, helped by the RS800s holding up the rest of the fleet at the leeward mark. Local sailor David Nunn (826) finished second with James Sainsbury (827) in third. Mawson recovered to fourth place after his collision and newcomer to the fleet, Miles 'Rocky' Woodhouse (797), finished in fifth.

Straker returned to the fray for race two with his sail firmly tied to the top of the mast. He led from the start with the rest of the fleet chasing hard. Straker won with Mawson second, Sainsbury third and Nunn fourth. The top three were unchanged at the end of race three. Annan took fourth with Jon Powell (954) fifth.

The Saturday night party never quite happened, possibly due the massacre of 15 Englishmen at the hands of the Irish. However, the RS600 boys upheld the RS name by being the last in the bar. There was even a music quiz won by Tony and Chris Mitchell, with Olly being awarded the prize for doing the most cheating.

The wind was slightly lighter on Sunday morning. Probably just as well since there were a few sore heads. In race four it was Sainsbury’s turn to break his boat. The screws holding his mast step onto the deck sheared off. Fortunately his mast stayed standing long enough for him to get back to the shore and make a hasty repair. Straker won race four with Mawson second. Nunn took advantage of Sainsbury’s breakage to finish third and class rep Mark Duckworth (717) was fourth.

Race five was abandoned after racing due to the wing mark becoming separated from its anchor and drifting rapidly towards the leeward mark causing confusion within the fleet.

The start line for race six was so biased towards the pin end that the fleet could barely lay the pin from the committee boat. This prompted the first recall of the event as several boats attempting to start on port were over the line. After the restart on an equally biased line Straker continued to dominate the event by winning the final race. After a lot of changing of places Sainsbury took second having screwed his mast step back onto the boat with Duckworth third and Annan fourth.

Thanks go to Datchet Water SC for running an excellent event. A good mix of familiar faces and new ones can only bode well for the rest of the season, with everyone agreeing that the standard of sailing in the fleet is much higher than this time last year.

RS600 Final positions :
1 RS600 983 Olly Straker Weston SC 4pts
2 RS600 982 Jamie Mawson Pennine SC 10
3 RS600 827 James Sainsbury Grafham Water SC 11
4 RS600 815 David Annan Grafham Water SC 15
5 RS600 826 David Nunn Datchet Water SC 16
6 RS600 717 Mark Duckworth Burgfield 18
7 RS600 954 Jon Powell Portchester 26
8 RS600 676 Martin Fear Bristol CYC 27
9 RS600 888 Paul Champion 31
10 RS600 918 Tony Mitchell Oxford SC 34
11 RS600 921 Damon Bower Oxford SC 37
12 RS600 981 Alan Williams Grafham Water SC 45
13 RS600 797 Miles Woodhouse Datchet Water SC 47
14 RS600 893 John Archer Datchet Water SC 57
15 RS600 917 Dominic Hurndall Datchet Water SC 64
http://www.sail-world.com/31421