by James Date
The RS800’s gathered at Castle Cove Sailing Club, for the third round of the Grand Prix series. The restricted entry event was combined with the Weymouth Dinghy Regatta with 120 boats across all the classes making for a very sociable weekend, and the weather gods delivered.
Quickest out the blocks in the 12 knot SW breeze with wall to wall sunshine on Saturday were Tim Saxton/Sam Littlejohn with two bullets backed up with a fifth in the final race of the day. Place changing at the front was a theme for the weekend with each race having a different race leader on pretty much every lap, and any one of 10+ boats currently capable of pulling off a race win. Pete Barton/Chris Feibusch were an impressive second in race one eight weeks since Chris broke his collarbone. James Date/Toby Wincer in RWO had a steady day with 3, 5, 1. Completing the overnight podium were Roger Phillips/Will Crocker with 5, 2, 2, closely followed by Dave Hivey/James Barlow with RET, 3, 3.
After a long sail in, some well-deserved drinks on balcony were the order of the day, which then degenerated into bar games. These were unsurprisingly won by a sober group of 10 year olds, apart from the balancing on your hands picking up increasingly smaller bits of card off the floor with your mouth game, which was won by Hugh Shone. Paella and more beers preceded a night out in Weymouth with some impressive avoiding of Rendezvous in favour of some of the more classy establishments on the promenade...
Sunday dawned with a bit more breeze that was further round to the NW, with big shifts and variations in pressure as it backed round to the SW throughout the day. As the fleet waited for race 1 to commence, they were awoken from their hangovers by the sound of snapping carbon fibre. The automatic reaction to this sound in the RS800 fleet is to look towards Pete Barton, and sure enough their regatta had come to a premature end. An afternoon of sunbathing, tea, and cake on a spectator yacht ensued.
Date/Wincer launched off the pin into a big lead in race one, only to remember three quarters of the way up the second beat that they had forgotten to go through the upwind gate, dragging Tom Halhead and Stu Jagger plus Seb Bacutt and Alex Farral with them, much swearing and hoisting of spinnakers followed. This left Philips/Crocker, Phil Walker/John Mather, Dave and Louise Steed and Hugh Shone/Hannah Tattersall all taking turns at leading before finishing in the aforementioned order. Saxton/Littlejohn returned to winning ways in Race 5, followed by Philips/Crocker and Date/Wincer, setting up a final race showdown for overall victory.
Shone/Tattersall won another closely contested final race, with the first four sharing the lead throughout. Andy and Alyson Jeffries were second, followed home by Luke and Emma McEwen and Saxton/Littlejohn doing enough to take the event on count back from Philips/Crocker. Date/Wincer rounded off the podium in third.
Thanks to the race committee and all involved in running a fantastic weekend, it was a great advert for our next trip to Castle Cove for the 2015 RS800 Nationals.
With every RS800 event this year having the podium places resolved on count back or by a single point, more reflection on the balcony with slightly less alcohol than the night before followed, and concluded that the racing this year has been amazing. The fleet can’t wait for Garda in two weeks’ time, and it’s exciting to be heading into the business end of the season having no idea who might win the European or National titles in 2014. See you in Riva!
Click here for results.