Brilliant sunshine, F4-5 winds, large waves and the spectacle of the Round the Island Race greeted the 18 competitors as they gathered at HISC this weekend for the first of two Gul RS200/RS500 Youth Championship events, also sponsored by Hyundai.
Several top 29er + 420 sailors recently returned from success in Kiel week joined the regular teams in the RS200s whilst Frances Peters, crewed by Ollie Spenley-Corfield, showed why she is the lady 29er helm to beat, being totally dominant in the RS500s.
Three back-to-back races were held just inside the East Hayling Bar on a compact windward-leeward course as the tide flooded in and the waves on the bar grew. In the background the kite surfers were out in force and flying off West Wittering, it was a spectacular sight seeing the boats in both fleets fly downwind in the waves.
In the RS500s and setting the pattern for the weekend, Frances and Ollie took three comfortable firsts. In Race 1, Matt Johnson and Tom Weatherhead caught Frances downwind and had the chance to take a win, but miscounted the laps and finished too early leaving them chasing in second place! Bex Dawkes and Emma Mackley were a deserved third. Nathan Ackroyd and James Patience were second in race 2 and 3rd in race 3 behind Matt and Tom in second.
Racing was much closer in the 12 strong RS200 fleet, with many place changes and some spectacular capsizes downwind. James Peters and Ed Fitzgerald finished the day on top with 1, 3, 1, however they were hotly pursued by Ben Saxton and Kate McGregor with scores of 6, 1, 2. George Yeoman/ Georgie Akin-Smith (4, 2, 3) and Dicken Maclean and Nicola Groves (2, 4, 7) were pushing hard for a top 3 ranking along with Andrew Shaw and William Kalderan (3, 7, 6). On Sunday three more back-to-back races were held in East Hayling Bay. Frances and Ollie took two more impressive firsts in the 500’s and were able to sit out race 6.
Competition for second overall was fierce between Matt and Tom and Nathan and James each having a second and third in the first two races of the day. In the end Matt and Tom won race 6 after Nathan suffered a major wipe out chasing Matt downwind in the building waves and wind.
In the 200’s Ben and Kate were dominant on the day, with three solid firsts to win the 200 event. Overnight leaders, James and Ed fought hard achieving scores of 5, 2, 2, finishing in second place overall. George and Georgie narrowly held onto third after a strong second day from Dicken and Nicola who counted a 2nd and 3rd but finished fourth overall and Andrew Shaw crewed by Jeremy Williamson also had a good second day finishing fifth.
The first all female combo in the 500’s was Bex Dawkes and Emma Mackley from Grafham, who sadly broke their mast in race 5. In the 200’s first ladies were Sarah Tuppen and Thea Crawshaw from Alton Water in Suffolk.
The next Gul RS Youth event is at Grafham Water on 21st + 22nd of September.
Full results at www.hisc.co.uk