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RS300 class contemplates the past, present and future

by Paul Watson 19 Dec 2018 09:46 PST
RS300 Nationals day 2 at the RS Games © Alex & David Irwin /

2018 has been another fantastic year for the RS300 class with more than 40 sailors competing across a range of events throughout the year. With thoughts now turning towards Christmas and beyond, what better time to get nostalgic and read through the past, present and future of the ultimate hiking single-hander.

The Past A round up of the Rooster National Tour

To start 2018 we had the 2017 Inlands at Stewartby Watersports, an event rescheduled due to too much breeze the year before fell on an even breezier and definitely colder weekend. Remembered by six gruelling races, several excellent pints of homemade beer and an excellent chilli with additional thermonuclear sauce. Steve Bolland took home the chocolates, the rest of us just happy to regain feeling in our extremities.

On next to the Springs at Bowmoor. With the country covered in snow the week before it was a pleasant surprise for the fleet arriving at Bowmoor's Mediterranean blue waters and shimmering sun terrace (although this wasn't completed at the time...). This time the racing was a little less gruelling but much closer. Home-made beer replaced by cakes, chilli by curry. Steve's winning ways were not to be affected as he won the event he wasn't even planning on attending...

Then came the fleet annual trip to the RS Sprint Championships at Rutland. Ten races, no discards and a trip to The Wheatsheaf. What more could you ask for? Except for a bit of breeze to go with it? Fortunately, Rutland delivered and the breeze although light on the first day turned up properly by the second. Lady luck was on Paul Watson's side this time, allowing him to at least match his wife's achievement in the RS Aero class from the day before.

June bought events at either end of the country, the Scottish fleet competing in their championships at East Lothian while the slightly less hardy amongst us stayed a little further South for the Summers at Parkstone. Both weekends would find the wind not quite playing ball. Dave Acres won the summers, reminding us that South coast chop was his play ground, while Ian Bailie sailed a consistent series up north to win the 2018 Scottish Championships.

The Nationals. Well as I'm writing the report... The Nationals started on Day 2, Race 2, and what a race it was. A performance Sir Ben would have been happy with! As for the rest of it, a cracking event run as part of the RS Games. Steve Bolland proved, that despite being pushed hard, he was still the man to beat and became a double national champion, having been part of the RS300 duo that showed the D-Zero fleet the way round a few weeks before.

Following the Nationals is always a tricky task, especially for a club who the fleet had not visited before. But what a job West Kirby did! 2 days, 1 on the sea in champagne conditions, 1 in a stadium style pond in a Force 5-6. All topped off by a live band in the evening! Class stalwart Richard Le Mare won having shown us all that years of practice was certainly going to help when approaching a concrete wall in 20knots.

For a bit of a change of pace we thought we'd run the 2018 Inlands in 2018. And a change of pace it certainly was, this time we were left praying for more wind than forecast and not less! Alton Water turned out to have ideas of its own, providing enough wind for the racing but so many shifts that it really was anyone's game. After the local boats showing most of us how to do it, it turned out to be Paul Watson who was the most consistent and took away with the trophy this year.

For our last event of the year it was back to Rutland, a massive pursuit race on day 1 followed by four class races on day 2. Matthew Pedlow's excellent result on day 1 was no match for Harry McVicar's almost unopposed sailing on day 2. Making him the 6th & final winner of the year.

The Present One more can't hurt?

Whilst the main racing season is over that does not put off your average RS300 sailor. Most of the fleet now spend the winter either racing at the club, taking part in one of the excellent winter events or getting in the early morning gym sessions whilst keeping strictly to our keto/paleo/sausage rolleo diets.

The Future Book in now, ask for permission later!

With the 2019 series dates published there really is no good excuse not to get your boat on the water and come and join in the fun. The fleet are running an early season training event at Thorney Island in Feb, which is not only an excellent way to blow out the cobwebs but also makes for an excellent last-minute Christmas gift! Space available here!

Also, keep an eye out on the water next year for at least one interesting new colour scheme on a boat from the Boat Yard at Beer. Whilst I can't give away too many details now it may not be too late to start your 2019 with a shiny new toy!

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