by Derek Ness
Racing for the RS500 Grand Prix at Gurnard Sailing Club was held over the weekend of the 6th-7th July. The hottest weekend of the year with the temperature up to 27 deg C. The wind was 8-10 knots on Saturday 'peaking' at eight knots on Sunday.
The racing format was planned to be six races on the Saturday and a further three races on the Sunday, with a novel scoring system giving double points for the races on Sunday.
A small, but competitive, fleet of six RS500s entered.
The first race was won by Tim Wilkins crewed by Heather Martin, followed by Derek Ness and Ben Symons, with third being taken by James and Lucinda Tanner. Tim and Heather similarly took the second race from James and Lucinda, however after that it became apparent that Tim's tactics would have to be geared around breast feeding breaks and available baby sitters for their young baby, which accounts for their rather erratic series! Tim even resorted to taking a volunteer from the beach to crew for one race. Halfway through the racing on Saturday the sea breeze finally overcame the gradient south easterly and the wind came in from the south west, and the race officer managed to get 6 full races ( and one aborted race which was a bit disappointing for Derek and Ben as they were well in the lead on that ).
On the Sunday it looked as if we would struggle to get any racing, but the easterly came in and two races were held in a tricky 0-8 knots breeze full of small puffs and rather large holes -best avoided. There was a lot of placing changing in these races, with the danger of getting stuck in a hole with no wind and the rest of the fleet sailing around you being always there. Derek and Ben won both of these and with it managed to seal the series, with James and Lucinda second and the all-female crew of Ella Symons and Ellie Ness third.
All in all, a great weekend's racing in some demanding conditions. Great credit must go to the race team for managing to get so much good racing in, despite the difficult conditions.
1st Derek Ness and B Symonds
2nd James and Lucinder Tanner
3rd E Symons and E Ness
4th Tim Wilkins and Heather Martin
5th F and A Battison
6th P Wright and J Saeger