RS Vareo National Championships, part of the RS Games, were held at Weymouth and Portland from 20th August 2011.
Day one - The fleet go out with high hopes on a lovely sunny afternoon but once at the start area it becomes apparent that the wind has dropped considerably. Pace one started with a port biased line which caused some OCS queries. The fleet was fairly evenly spread at the first mark with Andrew Wilson narrowly in the lead. The wind continued to die on the first run and then shifted 180 degrees and refilled from behind. The course was shortened with Wilson first, Mark Somerville in second and Chris Moore third.
There was a short delay before race two whilst the course was re set. As before gains on either side of the beat were evened out by the first mark. Wilson narrowly led Richard Willows until the second beat when Willows took some good shifts to pull through. The wind started to drop and the pursuing fleet closed the gap but Willows held on from Wilson with Somerville third.
Racing was abandoned for the day when the wind completely died.
Day two - The day started with rain and the wind performing gyrations in the harbour area. As the rain eased the wind settled and the fleet were released. The port biased line resulted in clean start . Good speed allowed Wilson and Willows to lead the way. Willows took the lead on the second beat by taking a lift up the shore. As the wind increased Willows extended his lead downwind to win comfortably from Wilson and Ian Jubb (Jubby).
The second race of the day was almost a carbon copy of the first race but with Willows in front and Wilson overtaking on lap two with the inside shift and Geoff Shaw took third.
Jubby was a contender for the Duckhams prize after a toestrap breakage took him from the front to the back of the fleet.
The wind freshened to a good force three for the next race. Wilson and Sommerville lead the fleet whilst Willows gained downwind to get back to third. Sommerville fell out of his boat and let Willows through to second. At the finish Mike Cowan missed the gate whilst disputing water/room, then capsized and finished whilst hanging onto the transom of his boat with the kite still flying!
For the next race the committee boat moved further along the breakwater to reset the course as the sea breeze filled in. Somerville and Wilson came out good form the port end of the fleet. The wind dropped again as the sea breeze fought the gradient. The committee boat finished the fleet at the windward mark. Sommerville convincingly won from Wilson and Jubby.
Day 3 - A bright sunny morning with a light SE wind, race seven started promptly with Willows and Yardley tacking off quickly to lead up the right side , but Ceri Thomas (333) found good speed up the middle along with Symons and Wilson. Willows rounded the first mark alongside Thomas, but both were overtaken by Symons on the run. On the next beat Symons held his lead, just followed by Willows and Wilson at the windward mark and Somerville closed up to 5th just behind Thomas. On the run, Wilson and Willows were neck and neck, but Willows gybed off to protect his position as Somerville came up fast with a puff, so Symons, Wilson, and Willows at the finish.
Race eight: A clean start in a slightly lighter breeze, with fleet evenly spread across the course. At the first mark Wilson had a narrow lead over Symons and Mike Cowan, with Thomas and Somerville close behind. At the end of the beat, Wilson still held a narrow lead over Symons, but Somerville had closed to third and Willows to fourth. In a light wind final run, Somerville crept past Symons to take second.
Wilson's win ensured he would win the Championship, but Willows and Somerville were very evenly placed for second and third overall.
Race nine: After a small delay, race nine started in increased wind. Willows spotted a port end bias and was able to back up a number of boats at the committee end to give himself a good gap. Nick Crickmore executed a clever port tack start to clear the fleet, Willows tacking shortly afterwards to find himself being lifted in increasing breeze to give a 100yd lead at the first mark, followed by Crickmore and Wilson. On the first run, Crickmore lost out by going shoreside, and Willows and Wilson were able stretch away over next two laps. Symons came in third ahead of a tight gaggle of Thomas, Jubby and Crickmore. Willows' win ensured a comfortable second place with two Grandmasters taking first and second overall.
Many thanks to the Sailing Academy for letting us come to such a great event, the race team led by Peter Aitkin who got us through our programme with efficiency and good humour and our class secretaries Heather and Debbie who have worked tirelessly during the event to make sure it all happened smoothly, very many thanks.