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RS Feva Grand Prix at Grafham Water SC - Gusty testing conditions

by Debbie Darling on 24 Apr 2012
Grafham Water SC - RS Feva Grand Prix 2012 Digital images
RS Feva Grand Prix, the first Bollé sponsored Grand Prix event and fourth qualifier for the 2012 World Championship, was held on 22nd April at Grafham Water Sailing Club. 90 RS Feva’s joined Flying 15’s, Scorpians and Larks for the multi class event set on two courses.

On Saturday the boats made it to the start line with thick black storm clouds looming. Race Officer Peter Saxton and team gave the fleet time to arrive and settle with a five minute AP and after a general recall and black flag start the fleet got away. With the wind tending to pull right to the clouds and 6 – 10 knots of breeze it was Lauren Miles and Esther Fenton-Jones who battled with Tom Darling and Will Dolin (caught black flag) all the way round. Arran Holman and new crew Josh Haynes were hot on their heels to take two points whilst Chay and Stirling Taylor climbed through to gain the three points at the finish.

A big wind shift caused the AP flag to be hoisted 3O seconds before the second start but the race got away with three boats black flagged. James Hutton-Penman and Thomas Jayasekara led convincingly from start to finish in the gusty testing conditions. The battle continued behind with Elliott Wells and Jake Todd climbing through the fleet to finish second whilst Flynn Davies and Daniel Lewis pulled through from fifth to third.

By late afternoon the clouds built further and a short postponement was signaled allowing a 25 knot squall and huge right shift to pass by. At the fourth attempt and after 16 boats were caught black flag the fleet got away in a sublime 5 knots! At the windward mark it was Arran and Josh leading from Will Robinson and Joe Hills in second with Jenny Smallwood and Jamie Webb in third. The fleet coasted down the run in 3 knots of breeze with a huge black cloud heading straight for the middle of the course. As the leaders Arran and Josh followed by Will and Joe then Tom and Will arrived at the leeward gate the Race Officer made the decision to abandon the race before things got silly. The boats were close to shore as lashing rain and 30 knot gusts from every direction ripped through the fleet.

Sunday brought brighter conditions and perfect 6 – 10 knots + sunshine but with the threat of more tricky cloud conditions. The Race Officer was keen to get started on time and the rescheduled race three got away at the first attempt on a black flag with 16 boats left on shore due to yesterday’s BFD. Jenny and Jamie led from start to finish with Chay and Stirling pulling up to second by the finish with Jess Hammet and Hattie Lucas-Clements in third

The wind had now increased slightly and moved left. A clean start saw James and Thomas flying again but it was Jess and Hattie on form who took the win with James and Thomas second and Jenny and Jamie third.

With the wind still building to 15 knots the boats started to ‘heat up’ downwind resulting in lots of place changes as the boats fought for the fastest angles downwind. Race five saw Will and Joe overtaken by James Curtis and Harry Phelps. Arran and Josh in third then struggled with a broken kicker. At the finish it was James and Thomas in third.

The final race was going to be quite a show down with anyone of 10 boats able to win the event. The wind increased with gusts of 19 knots resulting in one of the leaders capsizing on a gybe to the gate. James and Harry were leading again but were overtaken by Elliott and Jake who took the win when the race was shortened whilst Jamie Jobson and Eve Gadd stormed through the fleet to take third.

With different winners and such a depth of fleet it was too close to call who had won the event but when results were published it was Jenny Smallwood and Jamie Webb who had clinched victory by the narrowest of margins. Three points separated the top six boats.

A huge thank you to GWSC for running such a great event and Bolle’ Marine for their sponsorship in the form of Bollé sunglasses as prizes.

Top ten results:

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Rank

Sail
No

Helm
Name

Crew
Name

Club

R1
   

R2
   

R3
   

R4
   

R5
   

R6
   

Total

Nett

1st

2383

Jenny Smallwood

Jamie Webb

Wraysbury Lake SC

8.0

(35.0)

1.0

3.0

13.0

11.0

71.0

36.0

2nd

4355

Anna Prescott

Jess Eales

Hayling Island / Royal Lymington / Lymin

(14.0)

8.0

5.0

4.0

5.0

14.0

50.0

36.0

3rd

1518

James Curtis

Harry Phelps

Island Barn Sailing Club

(25.0)

6.0

17.0

11.0

1.0

2.0

62.0

37.0

4th

3120

Lauren Miles

Esther Fenton-Jones

Papercourt SC

1.0

9.0

(19.0)

5.0

7.0

15.0

56.0

37.0

5th

4344

Chay Taylor

Sterling Taylor

Burnham Sailing Club

3.0

5.0

2.0

(20.0)

15.0

12.0

57.0

37.0

6th

4332

Elliott Wells

Jake Todd

HISC

7.0

2.0

7.0

21.0

(25.0)

1.0

63.0

38.0

7th

4627

James Hutton-Penman

Thomas Jayasekara

Burnham Sailing Club

18.0

1.0

(92.0 BFD)

2.0

3.0

17.0

133.0

41.0

8th

4251

Robert Masterman

Marcus Payne

Hayling Island

(21.0)

13.0

12.0

8.0

4.0

5.0

63.0

42.0

9th

3750

Jamie Smith

Piers Nicholls

HISC

11.0

4.0

10.0

13.0

(26.0)

9.0

73.0

47.0

10th

783

Jack Nunn

David Brand

HISC/Papercourt

10.0

11.0

4.0

10.0

(24.0)

16.0

75.0

51.0