If ever there was an ideal way to open a chapter in a new class’ national championship history then the conditions that 16 RS600FF competitors met at Hayling Island Sailing Club must surely be very close to it. 10 – 12 knots of wind, clear sunny skies and a very temperate 17 degrees C.
Although the Foiling 6s, as surely the mouthful that is RS600FF will be known, have had a number of official events this really marked the start of the racing scene and what a start it was.
Sam Pascoe is a name synominous with foiling moths and has also done more 6foiling than any one else having been working with Linton Jenkins in the development of the foil systems and new carbon boat, unsurprisingly he started the event as favourite but he wasn’t to have the event all his own way . . .
Alex Tobert was an early adopter of the airborne flying machine and had impressed on numerous previous occasions, whilst another Alex, the Knight in flying armour, with his new carbon boat had the potential to cause an upset.
Race one got away, under the able and watchful eye of race officer Simon Payne (Moth National Champion), with a clean start and was unsurprisingly led from start to finish by Sam. Not that far behind Sam the battle for 2nd and 3rd began in earnest. Tobert, Knight and Simon Hiscocks swapping places on each lap. Unfortunately Hiscock’s boat gave way with a lap to go leaving Knight to pip Tobert to the coveted 2nd Place a trend that was to continue for the rest of the day.
By race three a number of competitors had worked out what to do and Sam had his work cut out when Alistair Richardson powered off the line to lead the early part of the beat unfortunately he capsized on his tack leaving Tobert to lead around the windward mark followed by Knight, Hiscocks and lastly Sam. Good covering by this group kept Sam behind for 2 laps before his foiling gybes got the better of Knight to once again earn Sam victory in the closest Foiling6 race ever.
A pattern had been set with Sam winning, Knight second, Tobert third, Hiscocks and Richardson fighting for 4th and 5th. Meanwhile wily old dog Dave Smithwhite was keeping him self-together to lead the reminder of the fleet. However, with the Sunday forecasting big breeze how would this upset the form?
Sunday began lighter than forecast but quickly built to a gusty 18 – 20 knots. Sam really showed his class leading around every mark.
Gybing on his foils and seemingly sailing around in perfect control.
Tobert took on the second place mantle, but a late start meant he missed the first race of the day which handed the runners up spot to Knight.
Knight didn’t find it that easy with some spectacular wipe-outs winning him the 'Falling with Style' prize and also let Richardson in to the top three race finishers club. Smithwhite’s steady performance earned him 5th overall.
Henry Clark and Paul Noble won prizes for the 'Most Impressive Performance' with some dogged determination in the breeze.
Four new Carbon boats on display looked very good and took the top two places overall but with the exception of Sam there appeared to be little speed difference between the new and old boats. It’s also worth noting that Alistair Richardson achieved third whilst using the old sail. Competitive foiling racing is only 5 – 6k and a few weeks practise away!
16 happy and exhilarated sailors left Hayling all looking forward to the next racing opportunity. A proper circuit is planned for next season with a possibility of a winter racing program just like Moth sailing with out the blogs! RS600FF NAtionals - Leading Results:
1. Sam Pascoe (1000) Weirwood SC
2. Alex Knight (1002) WPNSA
3. Alex Tobert (5) WPNSA
4. Alistair Richardson (890) Christchurch SC
5. David Smithwhite (943) HISC
Event website - www.hisc.co.uk