GUL kindly sponsored the last large RS Association event of 2006, the RS Sprint Championships at Rutland SC on 4 November. The event was a departure from the standard two-day six-race format:
- fifty-one boats across six RS classes all racing on a single course
- single-class flights of up to eight boats each
- crash-and-burn fifteen minute races
- high-points scoring with no discards
- a qualification series in the morning followed by class finals in the afternoon
This was a challenging format for organisers and the sailors alike, not least running 45 separate starts on one of the shortest days of the year! The course consisted of beat-reach-run-reach-beat (in the shape of an 'S' on its side) with a separate start and finish. The RS800s performed an additional beat-run in the middle to give everyone similar length races.
Rolling starts were at three minute intervals with the slower boats starting first. Once the last fleet was away, a short postponement permitted the race committee to reset before starting the entire sequence over again.
This challenging format was a resounding success, due largely to the hard work and enthusiasm of Rutland’s PRO Ralph Tingle and his team, and the pre-event preparation and liaison led by Jon Lewis from the RS200 fleet. A three-race qualification series took place before lunch and, while the sailors enjoyed Rutland’s excellent hospitality, the fleets were re-seeded for the afternoon three-race finals series.
The new format proved to be a great success and will surely be repeated sometime next year. The top two boats in each flight of each fleet received prize vouchers from sponsors Gul: RS Class winners and runners-up:
RS200 Gold 1 - Tom & Jo Hewitson 2 - Geoff Carveth & Sarah Allan
RS200 Silver 1 - Emma Johnson & Caroline Wiltshire 2 - Claire Booth & Ian Martin
RS400 Gold 1 - Tom Halhead & Chris Bishop 2 - Roger Gilbert & James Stewart
RS400 Silver 1 - Sam Parker & Anna Ludgate 2 - Chris Harris & Tracey Harris
RS800 1 - Spod & Jane Olive 2 - Rob Watson & James Holmes
RS300 1 - Tim Keen 2 - Greg Barton
RS Vareo 1 - R Willows 2 - Brian Castleton
The Gul RS Sprint Championships was followed by the RS Ball at the Barnsdale Lodge Hotel on the northern side of Rutland Water. This was a great venue for the Ball which included a fine meal, prizegivings and giveaways from circuit sponsor Fat Face, and dancing until the early hours to a live band.
This successfully rounds off another fantastic year for the RS Association, with record-breaking turnouts in many fleets, some great new venues visited along with old favourites, a welcome resurgence in the RS300 fleet, and the addition of the new RS500 to the RS Association fold.
With circuits and championships being finalised for next year (and beyond) we look forward to a bumper 2007!