The RS500 Gul Grand Prix was held at Datchet Water Sailing Club last weekend, 21st and 22nd April. The water levels were high with lots of varied weather for sailing in.
RS500 action at Datchet
On Saturday coaching was laid on, and 10 boats took part in the programme of short races, focusing on race starts and boat speed in the light winds between squalls, and blasting around with big grins in them! Needless to say there was some swimming practice thrown in for good measure. A video debrief provided a chance to discuss the finer points of sailing technique, and to see who was looking good on film!
Sunday proved a good chance to put the newly honed skills to the test with the second round of the Gul circuit, and numbers on the start line were bolstered by some circuit regulars. Four windward leeward races were laid on in quick succession by DWSC, and once again race tactics were dictated by the big grey clouds rolling through the course every now and then bringing big windshifts and increasing wind strength to a fun force four from the light shifty stuff in between.
Fast out of the Blocks in race one were Ian Mairs and Tally Watson from Parkstone YC, who had a close battle with Matthew and Annabel Larkin from Weir Wood and locals Allan and Linda Fraser. On the last downwind leg the race could have gone to whoever hooked into the best pressure, but Ian and Tally held their nerve and position to take the race win. Behind them the next three boats converged from different sides of the course to a photo finish, with Matt and Annabel just getting a nose (or should that be pole) in front to rake second from Allan and Linda in third and Tim and Peter Wilkins from Great Yarmouth and Gorleston SC in fourth.
Race two saw a cloud move through and the 500s dramatically changed gear to go apparent wind sailing (aka blasting around having fun) downwind. In the changing conditions it was brothers Tim and Peter who found form, finding the best pressure downwind to take the race win from Ian and Tally, with Allan and Linda again taking third place.
In race three the wind shifted massively to the left just after the start, and it was Surrey University’s Andrew Wishart and Theo Howard who positioned themselves best on the start line to take advantage and lead the first beat, but over the course of the race the more experienced RS500 teams made the most of the huge gains to be had by finding pressure downwind to come through, with Tim and Peter again taking the win from Matt and Bel. The pattern was very similar for race four and Tim and Peter were able to stretch their lead after a good first beat to take the race win and the event. After another fast first beat Andrew and Theo were able to hold onto third place in this race, relegating Ian and Tally into fourth, while Matt and Bel were second.
A massive thank you to DWSC for providing such fun and interesting racing in challenging weather, and it was great to see old and new friends alike on the water after the winter break. Looking ahead we anticipate some hot competition and big parties at the first leg RS500 Eurocup in May in Holland, a nice warm up to international competition ahead of the World Champs at Lake Garda this summer.
|1st||625||Hickling Broad SC||Tim Wilkins||Peter Wilkins||972||(4.0)||1.0||1.0||1.0||7.0||3.0|
|2nd||538||Weir Wood||Matthew Larkin||Annable Larkin||2.0||(6.0)||2.0||2.0||12.0||6.0|
|3rd||508||PYC||Ian Mairs||Tally Watson||1.0||2.0||(4.0)||4.0||11.0||7.0|
|4th||624||Datchet Water SC||Alan Fraser||Linda Fraser||972||3.0||3.0||3.0||(5.0)||14.0||9.0|
|5th||545||Surrey University||Andrew Wishart||Theo Howard||5.0||(13.0 DNC)||5.0||3.0||26.0||13.0|
|6th||678||Datchet Water SC||Tom Crockford||Fenella Williams||(8.0)||4.0||8.0||8.0||28.0||20.0|
|7th||928||Parkstone SC||Jon Partridge||Ben Oliver||6.0||(10.0)||7.0||7.0||30.0||20.0|
|8th||826||Datchet Water SC||Michael Clapp||Sue Risbridger||972||7.0||8.0||(10.0)||6.0||31.0||21.0|
|9th||748||Gorleston||Anna Zmura||Keith Sykes||972||(10.0)||9.0||6.0||9.0||34.0||24.0|
|10th||544||Wembley||Sam Collins||Joe Illife||(11.0)||5.0||11.0||11.0||38.0||27.0|
|11th||865||Newham||Paul Phelan||Mandy Phelan||(13.0 DNC)||7.0||9.0||13.0 DNC||42.0||29.0|
|12th||575||Datchet Water SC||Ben Wells||Petra Carran||9.0||11.0||(12.0)||10.0||42.0||30.0|
RS Class Association website