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Volvo Noble Marine RS300 Nationals at Exe Sailing Club - Day 1

by Steve Bolland 9 Sep 2016 02:34 PDT 8-11 September 2016

The forecast for the four days of the event has been changing on a daily basis over the last week so it really should have come as no surprise when the weather, itself, couldn't make its mind up what it wanted to do on day one. The day dawned brilliantly sunny, much better than the fog of the day before, but with not a breath of wind. However it picked up nicely as the morning progressed and there were some meaty-looking gusts coming through by midday.

Out on the race track conditions looked superb – sunshine, 16-17 knots and just fantastic waves. However, the weather had one last trick up its sleeve; as race one progressed it soon became apparent that the breeze was up and down and moving left and right quite dramatically. This resulted in four boats - Martin Harrison (Royal Victoria), Ian Clark (Warsash), Harry McVicar (Draycote Water) and Richard LeMare (Bartley) - being miles clear of the fleet by the end of just the first beat as they picked up a nice lift off the beach.

There was a bit of compression when two of the leaders went to the wrong leeward mark and further compression when a big lefty at the end of the second beat brought a few more boats into play. By the end, Steve Bolland (Bristol Corinthian) took the gun from McVicar, LeMare and Steve Sallis (Hykeham).

As we sat around for the second race to start the breeze went up a notch and Bolland noticed a new crack in his mast where one shouldn't be. Would it last the race?

If the wind was up, at least it had steadied down in direction so the beats were less of a minefield. The reaches and run continued to be superb. Bolland led at the first mark and had opened up a bit of a gap as he approached the leeward mark for the first time. This is when his mast basically said, 'That's it, I'm done mate' and, in a splintering of carbon, went over the side. Pete Ellis (Stewartby) went by with a foolish grin on his face, closely followed by Iain Horlock (Exe).

As the breeze continued to rise there were quite a few more breakages (no more masts thankfully) and at the finish Ellis held on the win from Horlock, Tim Keen (Sheffield Viking) and young McVicar.

Champagne moment of the day (and a bottle of fizz to celebrate) goes to Ellis for his first ever championship race win. There were quite a few wooden spoon contenders but Martin Harrison edged it by throwing away a race-winning position in race one by heading to the wrong mark. Bad luck, mate – sailing instructions are a wonderful thing if you read them.

Leader after day one, and picking up a foil cover courtesy of The Boat Yard at Beer, is Harry McVicar.

More wind forecast tomorrow? Will everyone have fixed their boats in time? Will we sail at all?

Results after Day 1:

PosSail NoHelmClubFleetR1R2Pts
1st523Harry McVicarDraycote Water SCGold246
2nd555Richard Le MareBartley SCGold369
3rd328Tim KeenSheffield Viking SC/Nefyn SCGold7310
4th500Pete EllisStewartby Water Sports ClubGold12113
5th527Ian ClarkWarsash SCGold6915
6th480Rob JonesWarsash SCGold8715
7th481Martin HarrisonRoyal Victoria YCGold11516
8th414Iain HorlockExe SCGold16218
9th337Paul WatsonBowmoor SCGold91019
10th476Steve SallisHykeham SCGold41721
11th315Ben GreenLymington Town SCSilver14822
12th341Nick BubbRoyal Lymington YCGold131124
13th336Mark TaylorPrestwick SCSilver151227
14th411Steve BollandBristol Corinthian YCGold1DNF30
15th373Richard HargreavesStewartby Water Sports ClubSilver171330
16th321Stuart WoodgerPlymouth SCSilver181533
17th524Matt SargentASA Thorney Island SCGold5DNF34
18th417Dan TreloarStewartby Water Sports ClubSilver201434
19th5Luke PepperHykeham SCGold191837
20th490Alistair McLaughlinPrestwick SCGold10DNF39
21st342Ian HopkinsSouthport SCSilver231639
22nd422Alastair WoodBough Beech SCSilver221941
23rd318Gary MorrisSouth Cerney SCSilver21DNF50
24th515John PetersHykeham SCSilver24DNF53
25th479Julian GunnellStewartby Water Sports ClubSilver25DNF54
26th544Dave AcresEmsworth & Thorney SCGoldDNCDNC58
26th317Martin HutchingsWarsash SCSilverDNCDNC58
26th457Ben DeaconBawdsey Haven YCSilverDNCDNC58

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