RS700 Europeans and Nationals this year took place at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. The sunshine and a force three in Portland harbour delivered a fantastic start to the championship but on the course, it was snakes and ladders for the leaders.
Jon Heissig won the first in style only to put in a sixth due to the kite sheet going through the mainsheet block. Jerry Wales took second only to find he was OCS but then made up for it with a win in race 2. Ian Nolan lucked into a second in the first race due to Jerry's OCS and then managed to drop it on the first run, sailing a good recovery race to limit the damage with a 13th. Here's hoping conditions continue like this, champagne sailing deluxe.
Day two for the RS700’s began cold and rainy, but the RO was kind enough to postpone until the sun came out and the wind settled down. The first race got underway (after three generals) in a pleasant force two with Jerry Wales starting where he left off on day one with a commanding lead at the first mark, followed by Andy Holland. Both headed out left on the second beat, allowing Steve Powell to luck in on the wind swinging a long way right, taking a narrow lead from Jezza. The wind gave up down the final run allowing Jerry to regain the lead and take the bullet, with Nick Miller flying through to take second from Rob Jones.
After a prolonged postponement the wind sorted itself out enough for a second race. Steve Powell and Mike Dencher came out of the pin end and hit the left hand side to take first and second at the windward. Once again Powell showed is ineptitude with the big colourful sail that comes out the front, giving Dencher an unassailable lead.
Thankfully the race was being shortened at the second top mark. The left continued to pay, leaving Holland to make up for his misfortune in the first race and take third place. Due to happy hour at the bar approaching and the wind not playing ball, the third race was postpones till Sunday when we all hope for better breeze.
Day three greeted us with rain, rain and more rain and with a 11.30 start and four scheduled races the thought of a 60 minute sail to the harbour left many bemused faces in the boat park. Happily by the time the fleet all met at sorebones (start boat) we were met with a clearing sky and building breeze.
RS700 Action - Fotoboat
Race one was F2-3, a blinding start was made by Stuart Riches who cleared the fleet on Port however couldn’t hold the position as the fleet split. The left side won the battle and this repeated on second lap. Final position was a Junis Rindermann first with Jon Heissig second.
Race 2 was F3 and the fleet split again with Jerry Wales, Steve Powell, Tony Dencher and Stuart Riches meeting at windward mark. After some changing places thoughout Jerry Wales took line honours with Tony Dencher second.
Race 3 was the most exciting race with a good F4 and an excited fleet. Many racing incidents, lots of upside hulls made a busy race track. Simon Letten took a big tumble and lost the battle with the rudder blade but the good news is the RS Doc has given him the all clear and is sporting a big bandage! Line honours Tony Dencher again
Race 4 was much the same with a falling breeze but the highlight was RS guru Alex Southon finally making an appearance at the front end with a well deserved fifth. By the way Alex now sails for Outerbagdad Sailing Club. Why?
Last Blast Tuesday for the RS700’s: The final days racing finally served up some wind allowing the boats to show their speed and the helms to finally stretch their legs. As a result the leader board for the days racing looked very different again.
Race started in a strong F4 and it was Alex Newton-Southon who powered out of the start line, went right up the beat to lead the race from start to finish. Steve Powell who still had a mathematical chance of taking the championship, followed at a respectful distance but ahead of Jon Heissig. Championship leader had an uncharacteristic swim and ended up in fifth place. The other podium contender Mike Dencher suffered a kicker failure and had to retire from the race to make a jury repair.
The second race started in a strong but weakening F4 breeze with the championship still mathematically open with Stephen Powell snapping at the heels of a very in form Jerry Wales.
This time going up the middle appeared to play but once again it was Alex who lead at the windward mark a short length ahead of Ian Nolan. These two shot off downwind and pulled some distance on a chasing Mike Dencher. Alex was going higher and faster than the rest of the fleet but still looked good to cross ahead on the first gybe, if only he hadn’t dropped it at the wrong moment. This left Nolan with a small lead which he protected through to the finish, with Mike Dencher second, Jerry Wales third and Mark Pollington fourth.
Stephen Powell unfortunately tried to bang right on the first beat which proved the wrong tactic and left him in mid fleet guaranteeing Jerry Wales the championship. Mike Denchers second in the last race moved him onto third overall by one point from Jon Heissig fourth.
Thanks go to Sailboat deliveries for sponsoring the event and to WPNSA for putting on a great event.
RS Association website