After the fleet training session on Wednesday it was time to put the knowledge gained into effect as the GUL RS300 National Championship kicked off on Thursday at South Caernarvonshire YC. Leader after day 1 is Steve Bolland of the Bristol Corinthian YC.
After the 50+ gusts which assailed Abersoch the day before it was a relief that the fleet was rewarded with bright sunshine and a pleasant 12 knot south-westerly. Almost like summer in fact.
A heavily port-biased startline caused some mayhem at the pin end and some choice language. However, Ian Smith (Craven) extricated himself better than most to lead the fleet away to lead at the first mark ahead of Steve Bolland (Bristol Corinthian) and Ben Yeats (Chanonry).
Yeats came through at the wing mark with a beautiful gybe and stayed ahead on the broad second reach as the rest of the fleet closed up. Showing unbelievable fitness, Bolland pulled through on the second beat, a lead which he held to the finish. Yeats finished second ahead of Will Crocker (Emberton Park/Beaver) in third just ahead of a gaggle of boats including Smith, Nathan Poulton (Dovestone) and Steve Fisher (Draycote Water).
Another port-biased line but everyone was much better behaved this time. Richard LeMare (Draycote Water) and Neil Beveridge (Prestwick) arrived at the windward mark together. By the end of the reaches, though, Bolland had shown the benefit of getting practice in on the lumpy stuff and had taken the lead. Andrew Ritchie (Hykeham) was also showing impressive downwind form to move into second place.
The top two positions remained the same over the final two laps with Bolland and Ritchie finishing ahead of Crocker, Smith, Poulton and Beveridge.
Slightly less wind for this one and slightly less line bias, too, saw a good clean start. Crocker took best advantage of the wind going left at the end of the first beat and led the fleet down the first, tight, fast reach ahead of LeMare, Yeats and Bolland in short order.
Bolland once again moved into the lead on the second reach using the waves to good effect with Crocker staying ahead of Yeats who had moved ahead of LeMare.
By the end of the race Bolland had pulled clear and finished ahead of Crocker, Yeats, Ritchie, Fisher and Tim Keen (Sheffiled Viking) who was finding it all a bit too windy for someone so slender!
With a 25+ knot easterly blowing directly onshore, an early decision was made to can racing for the day. However, the fleet is eagerly awaiting the AGM and the traditional curry night this evening. RS300 Nationals - Day 1 leading results
1st Steve Bolland 3 points
2nd Will Crocker 8 points
3rd Andrew Ritchie 12 points
4th Ben Yeats 14 points
5th Nathan Poulton 17 points
6th Steve Fisher 18 points