The Magic Marine RS500 World Championship has now completed its first day of racing and Weymouth didn’t disappoint. As the wind built, so did the anticipation in the boat park; there were some nerves as well as a fresh south-westerly blowing across the dinghy park.
Crews from around the world had come together to take part in the second championship for this young class with entry numbers doubling from 2010; 52 boats hit the water representing eight nations...it made for a spectacular start line.
Two windward-leeward races (with a windward spreader mark and leeward gate) were held on a large course set in Weymouth bay. The waves were significantly bigger on the ocean than in the shelter of the harbour, and added an extra boat-handling challenge on top of the gusting force five winds.
The first race got away with just an individual recall and it was clear that Dutch crew Barend Hiltermann and Max Blom meant business as they flew up the first beat. Brits Alex Taylor and Bryan Mobbs were hot on their tale, and then came a gap before the following pack. Close racing was had in various groups throughout the fleet. The downwind legs were hairy and claimed a few victims, but made for some high-adrenline, high-performance sailing. The Dutch safely sealed their first place with Brits coming second and third – Phil Highfield and Tamsin Butcher put in an impressive performance and held off the three other boats chasing them down in their pack.
The second race saw a general recall and everyone was called back to the start line for a second try, and race officer ‘Arky’ didn’t miss the opportunity to fly his enormous black ‘Guinness’ flag (which stands in for a normal black flag). It wasn’t long before he had everyone battling up the first beat again, and the leading two teams once again showed the way; this time it was GBR Alex and Bryan heading the charge, taking a commanding lead which they held until the end of the race. Mike Saul and Meg Fletcher finished in third to seal off a good, consistent day of racing for them.
Competitors gathered back on land after nearly four gruelling hours on the water and, needless to say, all were physically worn out and in need of some liquid refreshment, amply provided by Spinnakers bar in the impressive Olympic venue. Perhaps the highlight of the day was being a part of, and looking back on, 53 black spinnakers belting 3.3 nautical miles down to the start line.
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