'Now I know what everyone means when they talk about the RS family' commented one first timer. When all the RS classes get together there is something very special about it. Old friends, new adversaries, tons of enthusiasm – you could not wish to spend the weekend with a better bunch. And Champagne was the key word.
Fourteen years, fours months and three days since the launch of RS Racing seemed to the RS Association like a good enough excuse for a party! The Fat Face sponsored 10th Anniversary multi class event, also brilliantly run by Hayling Island SC, had been such a popular success that everyone wanted to do it again – and the May Bank Holiday in 2008 was the first opportunity when such a big event was feasible.
Saturday kicked off in Hayling Bay with three class races on three courses in Champagne conditions. That would have been enough to make most events seem good, but it was just the beginning.
Back ashore ten Fat Face RS Tera dinghies were rigged and ready on the beach for the Champion of Champions showdown. The Le Mans start and finish were on the balcony steps below crowds of spectators who bet on their favourite in a Sail for Cancer sweepstake.
The course was a maximum of 20 yards from the beach and commentary was provided by the inimitable Pete Vincent. Who will forget the cheers as nine year old Jack Parkin (RS Feva) jumped back out of his boat after leading on the water and sprinted up the beach with Spiderman Ian Marshall (RS600) closing him down yard by yard as they raced for the podium. It was a proud Jack who popped his first ever Champagne cork, sprayed the crowd and even stole a crafty swig! He will go far in the RS world.
Absolutely no pause for breath and the steel band kicked off the Caribbean party night. Fewer people than normal made it into fancy dress simply because there was barely time to get out of sailing gear. The party carried on until some sailors should have know better, with mal de mer a surprising complaint in Sunday morning’s calm conditions.
On Sunday the weather let us down a bit. Four classes were scheduled to sail short course Sprint racing in the Bay, with the others competing in a Harbour Dash. The wind shut down and the Dash boats fared best as the course was shortened and a chilled afternoon on the beach followed. The classes in the Bay had a long trip back but all bar the 400s completed their series. Black ties and posh frocks came out as hundreds of sailors scrubbed up. Speeches by some key RS sailors and the directors of RS resulted in more Champagne awarded before another top band kicked off.
Monday’s giant RS pursuit race in the Bay was postponed an hour so the 400s could determine their Sprint final winner and then was again sailed in…wait for it . . . Champagne conditions. OK the breeze shifted but it built to a flat-out reaching finish under warm blue skies.
In a determined bid to wreck the 200 start, a K6 took very careful aim at the committee boat and wrapped his anchor round their mooring chain during the start sequence producing a very, very biased line!
Some of the 800s completed the party feel by competing in jacket and ties. The race team were very impressed by the best dressed sailors they had ever seen on the water. The perfect finale to another top RS weekend.
Massive thanks to Fat Face, Hayling Island SC and the RS Assoc team.
Who won? Well for anyone who cares the results are all at www.hisc.co.uk