by Mark Cooper
RS600 Gul Grand Prix was held at Lymington Town SC over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd July.
Despite what looked like a forecast more suited to laying on the beach rather than sailing the RS600 fleet arrived in Lymington early on Saturday morning.
The race area was set to the East of Lymington and shared with the 800's and 500's, with the wind settling down to a 8 knot south westerly. The race officer set an unconventional starboard hand rounding course to get the fleet back in shore and away from a fierce easterly tide. Given the strength of the tide it was little surprise that the race officer decided to use the round the ends rule from the start.
Andy Hessig, back in the boat after a long lay off proved, like last year, that he's lost none of his speed to take victory in the first race; only this year he has improved his consistency and kept it all together for a whole race. A quickly improving Tom (one to look out for later in the year) finished the race in second, with Pete in third. The effect of the tide seemed to turn the usual distances at the marks on their heads with the bunch getting compressed at the windward mark and spread out at the leeward mark.
Race two seemed to be defined a little by luck at the leeward mark with the 600's being on the blunt end of the fast approaching 800 and those that made a clean round certainly benefiting. Pete Started his winning, with Andy keeping the pressure up and Dan posting his best circuit result so far with third.
Race three started as a tight affair with the first six boats all within a few boat lengths of each other for the first two laps. Andy managed to capsize on top of the windward mark, which made finding it difficult, but he recovered well and it was back to what turned out to be normal proceedings with the top three making the most of the difficult conditions to tighten their grip on the leader board ahead of what looked like being a very light wind affair on Sunday.
Following an evening supper at the club and retiring to the clubhouse to an acrobatics display by a De Havilland Sea Vixen, the most was made of the club's happy hour, although seemed to be lacking in participants from the classes - are they taking themselves too seriously? After some discussion and banter about boat names and Pete's encouragement, anonymous boats are now being named after My Little Pony characters; so it’s with delight that we welcome Lulu Luck and Fizzy the Unicorn to the fleet.
Sunday dawned as forecast with barely a zephyr of wind and a postponement. There seemed to be a general air of inevitability that sailing wouldn't happen leaving time for an impromptu weighing-in session, but after bacon sandwiches and a few cups of coffee were consumed we were instructed by the Vice Commodore of the club that, those in the know could tell that as the wind had shifted to 223 degrees, the magic sea breeze number in these parts apparently, we were in for a some decent wind and a sail.
As it turned out he was spot on and a south westerly breeze around 12 knots filled in, along with beautiful clear skies means that conditions were perfect.
After a heroic start to race four by Dan who came blasting into the line flat out and hoped for a last minute duck before racing away upwind only for the individual recall to call him back - afterwards we found out that he was unaware of what the black ball on a yellow flag meant; lesson learnt! The race stayed tight throughout with less leeward mark shenanigans with the asymmetric boats - although due to the tide the trapezoid has turned into the marks 1, 2 and 3 all being in line with each other.
Race five started the lessons in lap counting. The first three boats finished the race - decided it was a false finish and went off to sail another lap under the illusion they hadn't finished. A confused Richard quickly sheeted in and set off after them while Dan and Mark decided against it and consulted the race officer to find that the others were on a wild goose chase.
Race six turned in to the most eventful. Tom obviously getting tired/ giddy from his improvements this year manage to keep capsizing downwind until on the second lap a 500 called starboard on him and Richard. With little choice but to emergency gybe, giving little room for Richard to keep clear his wing tried to brush Tom off with race ending consequences. Andy, perhaps seeking retribution for Tom's incident then interacted with a 500; the result being that he ended upside down with a 500 pole trying to probe his boat; luckily the boat escaped damage. This race was the first to be four laps long and it appears that 4 is too many for most 600 sailors as the fleet sailed off for a fifth lap - much to the consternation of the race officer 50m away. Joe demonstrating that not all blonds can be stereotyped could count and sailed straight for the finish to take his first and deserved win on the circuit.
The event was very close with any mistake being punished by a lost place and when the scores where finally tallied Pete finally took the event on count back from Andy with Tom a deserving third.
Thank you very much to Lymington Town SC for hosting a great event and here's looking forward to Aldeburgh at the end of July.
|1st||920||Pete Nelson||Northampton SC||920||(3.0)||1.0||1.0||1.0||2.0||3.0||11.0||8.0|
|2nd||Uncle Honkey||984||Andy Heissig||LTSC||920||1.0||2.0||(3.0)||2.0||1.0||2.0||11.0||8.0|
|3rd||Baxter||768||Tom Gall||Netly SC||920||2.0||4.0||2.0||3.0||3.0||(9.0 DNC)||23.0||14.0|
|4th||Love Gun||960||Dan Saltmarsh||Blackwater SC||920||4.0||3.0||5.0||(6.0)||5.0||5.0||28.0||22.0|
|5th||867||R Broughton||Grafham SC||920||(6.0)||5.0||6.0||4.0||4.0||4.0||29.0||23.0|
|6th||Danger Boy||963||Mark Cooper||Burghfield SC||920||5.0||(6.0)||4.0||5.0||6.0||6.0||32.0||26.0|
|7th||898||Joseph Salsbury||Hill Head||920||8.0 DNF||(9.0 DNC)||9.0 DNC||7.0||7.0||1.0||41.0||32.0|
|8th||Truly Scrumptious||904||Will Davies||Grafham SC||920||(9.0 DNC)||7.0||7.0||8.0||8.0||9.0 DNC||48.0||39.0|
UK RS Association website