by Claire Walsh
Day four of racing at the RS200 UK Nationals and the later start of 1pm allowed everyone to recover from a rum soaked evening at the Piranha bar. One esteemed old soak left with the bulk of the fleet at witching hour, only to realise he’d cycled too far when he hit the bridge to the mainland…
Volvo Noble Marine RS200 UK National Championships
With slightly lighter forecast some keen race snakes were seen moving rakes about in the morning, the less keen were found clutching bottles of water and ibuprofen. Everyone made it out to the course area to find slightly an unexpected 10-15knts, the famous Hayling bay surfy rollers, and some of the big right shifts left over from yesterday.
The race committee mutinied and vetoed gate starting after the omnishambles the fleet made of it yesterday (we blame Dave Jessop!) so line starts with 120 boats were the order of the day.
After just one general recall the fleet got away to some great racing with a nice oscillating breeze and marginal hiking conditions, in sunny Hayling bay.
Another win in the bag for Ian and Chloe Martin, puts them into the final day with a solid lead. Nick and Juliet Charles were back up to their usual form in second, Phil and Rob White with a massive silver fleet lead in third and Alan Roberts and Tom Pygall, and the Rusdens in fourth and fifth respectively.
With the wind dropping the second race went off first time with many of the expected contenders down the pan. A massive right hander half way up the first beat lead to many unexpected contenders dreaming of glory as they hoisted kites towards the windward mark.
Luckily for Ian Martin the race officer found his moth eaten checkered flag and honked heartily; someone was heard to say 'I’ll have to pay the race officer again tomorrow.'
With racing abandoned, we abandoned to the bar and for beach games, sponsored by Cofresh who provided plenty of delicious spicy snacks to get us in the mood for Geeta’s curry day tomorrow, though not so looking forward to our 11am start!
Final Day (5)
The RS200 National is over for another year, and on the way home I’m torn between feeling sad that there’ll be no surfing down some lovely Hayling bay rollers today but quite glad that I am not being asked to hike?!
It’s been a great week with the costa del Hayling treating us to a full range of wind conditions. Too much breeze at start the week delayed racing by one day and meant two three race days to start off the week. Monday had a lovely 15-17knts all day with the tricky shifty conditions testing tactical brains.
As if that wasn’t enough of a mental workout, Monday night saw the buddy quiz taking place with MJ Gifford MCing amazingly well (and claiming he knew all the answers!) a great evening to get everyone in the fleet taking and plotting how to take home the coveted buddy prize! Tuesday or gate start practice day as it became was a tough day for many in the fleet with the 200s showing that although a gate start is easy in practice- just duck the gate boat as it comes towards you, it is far trickier when the breeze shifts 30 degrees every few minutes, (a big shout out the the race officer and rest of the team for actually getting all the races off!)
After Tuesday over half the races were completed and the results were very tight at the top with only one point separating the top two, Hamish Walker and Emma Hivey, and Ian and Chloe Martin with the Rusdens in third with an incredibly consistent series stacking up.
Phill and Rob White had also managed to pull out an impressive lead for the silver fleet trophy and Bronze was led by James Hutton Penman and Thomas Jayasekara.
After two big days on the water needless to say the 200 fleet felt the need to match that with a big night in the Piranha bar for the Rum and Red stripe party. Much delicious rum punch was enjoyed and some great costume efforts including three Jamacian bobsleigh teams complete with bobsleigh!
Wednesday’s later start was a welcome relief for those that had enjoyed the rum punch quite a lot, and the lighter conditions gave a nice change to the racing dynamics.
After only one race which saw Ian and Chloe Martin take the lead from Hamish Walker and Emma Hivey, everyone headed to the beach for beach games social.
Even with Ed Whitehead being dressed as an oversized monkey (clearly he missed the memo about the fancy dress being on Wednesday) his team didn’t lift the volleyball crown, oh well Ed I’m sure the outfit will come in useful anyways…
Going into the last day Ian and Chloe Martin had a good lead but with one big score discarded already they needed two good consistent races to put them clear of the Rusdens in second and Hamish and Emma in third. Showing their class and some pretty great sailing they took a sixth and two seconds to secure the champs from the Rusden’s in second and Hamish and Emma in third.
Other important mentions in the fleet include the Silver fleet winners Phil and Rob White and Bronze fleet winners James Hutton-Penman and Thomas Jayasekara.
Ali Martin and Bethan Carden took home the coveted ladies trophy and Caroline Martin and MJ Gifford took first ladies helm and first masters, ensuring a good smattering of Martins in the prizes as usual.
So another great week of racing with something for all. Next year we head on up to Abersoch for another fabulous 200 nationals, hopefully we’ll see everyone there. Watch out Matt Mee and Emma Norris were seen heading up for a 'family weekend' in Abersoch post nationals, sounds more like a cheeky practice for next year to me!
For results, click here