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Hyde Sails 2023 Wuzzos - LEADERBOARD

WASZP GP at Plymouth Youth Sailing

by Martin Evans 18 Oct 2022 08:14 PDT 15-16 October 2022
WASZP GP in Plymouth © Paul Gibbins Photography

Plymouth Youth Sailing did a great job over the weekend, hosting an event that WASZP sailors will always remember!

With Plymouth playing host to SailGP and the WASZP SailGP Inspire program, the sheltered waters of Plymouth Sound have been proven as an outstanding venue for foiling. WASZPs from throughout the southwest, west Wales, the Isle of Wight and London all gathered on Saturday morning excited to take to the Sound despite a very fruity forecast!

When the fleet arrived on the course, they were greeted by strong winds and a tricky chop. The tide was high and a big swell was running out in the channel, so some unusually big waves were sneaking around the breakwater. Nevertheless, the conditions were manageable...for the time being! Once the first start got away, the wind began to build in line with the forecast, which had predicted averages of 25 knots with gusts in the mid-thirties!

Upwind in big wind and waves isn't overly tricky in the WASZP as the foils cut through the chop nicely and smooth out the ride. Bella Fellows, Sam Whaley, Tom Pollard, Arthur Fry, Martin Evans and Hattie Rogers all arrived to the windward mark in tight competition before bearing away and promptly capsizing...every single one of them! From then on, with wind still increasing, nasty chop and gusts up to 30 knots, the capsizes kept on coming! Huge gaps opened between the competitors but with capsizes virtually a guarantee, the gaps soon closed and places changed. The race wouldn't be over until the competitors finally limped over the line. Whaley was forced to retire with a breakage, so the battle ensued between Pollard, Fry and Evans.

Heading into the final downwind, Evans had opened up a sizeable lead but Fry was chipping it away with each one of Evans' capsizes (there were a lot!). In the end, Fry snuck by Evans to take the win. Evans, who could have probably swum to the finish line faster than he sailed, came in second. During the break, the wind bumped up to an average in the high twenties, so the call was made to head home. Hats off to all the competitors for enduring some of the most extreme WASZP sailing ever! Massive smiles and plenty of bar chat ended one of the most memorable and exciting days of sailing for everybody. The boats (and sailors) came away without damage despite a cumulative capsize total of over 100 swims, showing just how bulletproof the WASZPs are.

Day two was initially a different picture, with light winds and blue skies as the sailors drifted to the race area. The breeze was forecast to build throughout the day. Races one to three got under way in comfortable foiling conditions. Everybody was flying around the whole course and for the most part, completing all their manoeuvres. Race 4 was a little windier and certainly suited the heavyweights and race 5 windier still, with competitors regularly topping 20 knots of boat speed. Sam Whaley, who recently took second at the WASZP International Games, took the win in all five races to comfortably seal the overall event, able to discard his retirement from day one. Pollard, Evans and Fry were in regular battle for second and third whilst Bella Fellows and Hattie Rogers contested the podium on numerous occasions during a fierce battle for the women's prize.

In the end, Evans took second place, discarding a UFD and counting four second places and a fourth. Tom Pollard edged out Fry by a point and Bella Fellows just got the better of Rogers, again by a single point. Adam Raeburn-James was the first master ahead of Bruce Allan, who put in a real shift in the tough conditions!

Thanks to Plymouth Youth Sailing and the Mount Batten Watersports Centre for providing one of the most enjoyable weekends of WASZPing this year! Next up for the class is the end of season championships in Rutland in November. Stay tuned!

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