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Volvo Noble Marine RS800 Nationals supported by Hyde Sails at Eastbourne Sovereign SC - Day 2

by Ralph Singleton 6 Sep 11:00 PDT 5-8 September 2019

Day two of the RS800 Volvo Noble Marine National Championship 2019 supported by Hyde Sails at Eastbourne Sovereign Sailing Club dawned with local hot shots Andy Jefferies and Paul Jenkins suggesting it was "proper" windy and could get worse if the sun came out (the 22-28knt Westerly breeze could be enhanced by some sea breeze). Just the sort of encouragement that the fleet needed.

The start line was sufficiently close to the shore that the RS800s could wait to see what happened to the RS700s before their start and to watch last year's champions Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore test their modified boat after yesterday's running repairs.

Luckily there was no need to rush out of bed as racing wasn't scheduled to start until after midday.

The RS800 sailors all gathered for the class AGM and then prize giving for day one. Every race winner gets lucky this week winning one of the daily sponsors' prizes and also, adding some extra strategy to the finish line in the mid fleet, every 20th place boat will also pick up a great prize too! After all it is the 20th anniversary championships. Rooster are sponsoring day one and day two.

Day one's race winners were Chris Catt and Chris Martin, Ben Palmer and Amy Seabright, and Peter Barton and Chris Feibusch. The other lucky Rooster prize winners were Tim and Fin Dickinson, Martin and Alex Orton and would you believe it Mr Rooster himself Steve Cockerill and Dan Henderson!! Getting a prize for what is currently his discard is taking pot hunting to a new level !!! Day 2 is also being sponsored by Rooster so thanks again to Steve and his team.

Once all the on shore activities were complete I would usually have reported that the fleet were keen to get out and get the scheduled three races completed but on this occasion as it was "proper" windy there was a certain amount of trepidation and the fleet slowly made their way to the start. One gust of 30 kts wiped out many of those afloat which was enough to persuade half a dozen boats to give the race a miss.

With the wind blowing with the tide the waves were not as bad as they can be at Eastbourne but the fleet was rather tentative on the first start. Was it the wind and conditions, or the fact that the fleet was described as being "uncouth " yesterday (I think the race team meant " too keen") or the U flag or just some lethargy following the party the night before?

Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore, Rory Hunter and Steph Orton, and Stevie Wilson and Harvey Hillary all blasted off on a fairly long beat to Eastbourne pier. Some of the fleet even got close enough to play the slot machines.

The leaders rounded and set their kites and went out to find the real waves out to sea. Some over-cooked the lay line as they were enjoying the blast in the direction of The Eastbourne Sovereign platform and then needed to drop early and come into the leeward marks under two sails. Some place changes occurred with Tom and Guy breaking a mast, Rory and Steph going down the mine and Andy and Allyson Jeffries searching for the large jelly fish that have frequented our shores this Summer.

After two laps Luke and Emma McEwen triumphed in the epic conditions with Stevie and Harvey second and Peter and Chris third. After a short wait to enable the race committee to assess the situation regarding boats with broken masts, broken rudders and a few torn sails the decision was taken to abandon the racing for the rest of the day. This was made easier by the decision to hold an additional race yesterday on day one meaning that the fleet is only one race behind schedule.

So overall Luke and Emma lead into the second half of the event with the next four boats all separated by a point.

The evening (well early afternoon in reality) kicked off early with another cool beverage waiting for us on the beach on our return - thanks again to RS Sailing for re-hydrating us!

Tonight could go many ways... we've been gearing up to "Party Like it's 1999" for many months... some even want to go back... back to 1999... apparently! So with a fancy dress theme, yes you've guessed it, '1999' and live band Double Standards setting up in the club house now, hopefully even those of us that weren't yet born in 1999 will wish they'd been there. We've got RS Sailing to thank for bringing us the music; it's in the company ethos to party; so we're sure a few of the RS team will be making an appearance on the dance floor tonight. Although after today's carnage Stevie and the team may be busy helping mend boats tonight as well.

Whatever happens we still need to be standing at 9pm when the music stops (briefly) for the awesome prize-draw for a brand new crisp and crinkly spinnaker, generously donated by Hyde Sails in honour of the RS800's 20th birthday. Mind you the lucky winner won't be able to use it for the event unless they have torn their current one as being a strict one design we all have to use the same sails for the whole event. Who's going to be the lucky winner?.... You've got to be there to win... Thank you Hyde Sails!!

So onto tomorrow when the forecast looks a lot kinder and when we will be joined by those just taking advantage of the weekend discounted entry fee. There are a few in that contingent that could get in amongst the leaders including Tim and Fiona hot foot from the J70 worlds at Torquay. The likelihood is that with a major wind direction change forecast on Sunday that the fleet may have a long day on the water with 4 races being a possibility.

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