RS200 Nationals - Sprint racing action at Hayling
by The Windward Mark on 19 Aug 2014
If it wasn’t for the sand, Hayling Island would be hard to beat as a championship venue. As a result, it is the chosen venue for the RS200 Championships, otherwise known as the 'Clash of the Titans'. The roll call of talent lined up on the beach here reads as a mixture of a Who’s Who in dinghy sailing and a Who Will be Who. As ever when there is some serious racing to do our old friend the Windward Mark likes to play his part. We managed to catch a few words with him at the end of the day.
So, where have you been recently?
Sailboat Trailers RS200 'National' Sprint Series © Richard Janulewicz / www.fotoboat.com
Well, after a spending most of last summer in San Francisco giving Sir Ben something to race around I popped down to Rio for the recent Olympic Test Event. They let me play with the Nacras there though I really wanted to be out there with the Laser Radials. From Brazil I stowed away in Chloe Martin’s kit bag and came straight here.
What has been the highlight so far?
It certainly wasn’t Chloe’s smelly kit! I quite enjoyed watching the flying boats in the US but to be honest they just go past too fact to be fun and I get a little scared. All the sailors wear body-armour but I only get a little sponsor’s vest and those things go past at 40 knots! Give me a quiet evening on the Thames any day.
So what did you get up to today?
These RS200 sailors aren’t the bravest bunch so when there was a bit of breeze in the bay they all sat around the club wibbling on about how the waves might be a bit big and the sea a bit too salty. They even went as far as cancelling the racing for the day. I was a bit worried that with no exercise for my ground tackle I might get a little fat so I persuaded some of the fleet to do a bit of stadium racing in the harbour.
What do you mean by stadium racing?
Well, now that I am an international star, people come from far and wide to watch me perform so I took up position just under the club balcony and was able to strutt my stuff for the public. The little RS 200s performed a nice backing role by racing round and round me for a few hours.
How did that go?
It is a bit different to what I am used to. At Ranelagh when I give the boats a little bump they come round for another go. Here they just come rushing in, bounce me all over the place and then shoot off with their colourful sails up without so much as a thank you or even a cheery wave. Still it is hard to get cross because they are all such happy young people.
So did age and experience triumph over youth and enthusiasm?
Strange to say it did today. I was hoping for great things from Luke Patience but he seemed to be mostly focussed on keeping the salt out of his beard. He did manage to finish second but that was mostly because Ally Martin and Dave Hivey haven’t learnt that my colleagues on the start line have eyes like hawks and give no quarter when it comes to premature starts.
Anyway, you asked about age and experience and that Will Henderson is a wily old fox. He was sailing with his lovely daughter Mary and I can only assume that she was doing all the work as he must be too old to really push things. In the end they won the mini-event, pipping Luke on count back. I don’t know what the younger bunch were up to but he definitely showed them that a bit of cunning is worth a lot of hiking!
So what have you got planned for the rest of the week?
I will probably do a bit of bobbing in the bay, maybe bump a few people and I have also got a neat trick I learnt in Rio which is I flick my mooring line round rudders of boats that come to close. I love it when they take me for a bit of a ride downwind. I will probably save that trick for some of the young kids, the look of surprise in their eyes is priceless. What I am really looking forward to is the Jamaican evening. I have been practicing my Bob Marley impression for months and have a great costume.
Thanks for your time, good luck for the week and please try and be nice.
No problem it has been a pleasure as ever. I have to go now as there is a hot little gate mark who is cooking my Click here for results.