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Noble Marine RS700 National Championship at Brightlingsea Sailing Club - Overall

by John Booth 13 Sep 2023 21:56 PDT 7-10 September 2023

Carrying on the completely non-existent tradition of starting with alliteration, I will sum up this event, as the light left leaning lake-like event... with tide, rivers and barges... so not lake like at all really.

Many of us rolled up early enough for the Wednesday night meal to enjoy a pleasant evening catching up with friends, admire the scenery and whinge about the forecast... but in wholesome positive way of course. Some eager beavers even got there early enough for a pre-event sail to check out the racing area and take note of the shallow bits.

Day One: Donning our Summer wetsuits as late as possible to avoid sweating off too many pints and taking as much water as we could carry in our new Rooster dry bags, we pushed off into the ebbing tide and set sail towards the windfarm to locate the committee boat and discover how many things we had rigged incorrectly.

Unbeknown to us at the time, this day was to have some of the strongest gusts of the event clocking in at a howling 10 or maybe even 11 knots.

In a faultless display of decision making that would run for the entire event, the race officer decided to heed the warnings of the forecast and make full use of the champagne conditions by running an extra race. By the end of the day the sailors had learned that left pays (no idea why) and therefore getting a clean start and holding your lane was paramount... which is a problem, because that is no mean feat amongst 26 of the finest competitors sailing has ever seen. But then, no one buys a RS700 thinking it is going to be easy so we only have ourselves to blame.

In the battle of the clubs, those flying the flag for Chew Valley showed their class in the results taking the top spots but the real kudos (at least in the bar afterwards) goes to two representatives of Stokes Bay who held their kite for the entire final tight reach to the finish (needless to say I was not one of them).

That was a wrap on day one and with all the sailing cobwebs shaken off, all that remained was to watch from the club house as the sun set over the sand bar, enjoy the lovely meal and engage the brain for a quiz before trundling off to bed and dream about a day when the kite halyard works perfectly.

Day two and the wind blew from a similar direction but with a bit less oomph. Two pleasant races were sailed on the inner loop but I think most (if not all) were ready to go in having drunk their water supplies dry and with aching legs from the awkward positions that must be held in such conditions! The Stokes Bay massive managed to chip away at the dominance of the Chew Valley massive with the points remaining very close across the fleet.

Day three will go down history (I assume) as patchy day. A postponement allowed time for a walk along the sea front to see the tidal pool, catch up on some of the history of Brightlingsea and learn a thing or two about oysters.

Although there were glassy patches dotted around the course, there was a fairly steady wind to be had, unless of course someone to windward was stealing it. Upwind was spent mostly staring at tell tales and putting your feet on parts of the boat that definitely weren't designed to be stepped on. Downwind was about soaking low with as much speed as you could gather from the large main and kite. Points remained tight at the top with special mention for our Czech counterpart Marek Dudak, who utilised clean starts and bold independent strategies to launch him into the top five.

Day four and we were on schedule for a full series of races which was more than many had hoped. In a fitting send off, the wind arrived hitting 10 knots or so in the gusts. The tide was under us for the first time shoving us upwind and extending the lovely downwind legs planing over the sun kissed waters off Mersea island. By now we were all getting the hang of this sailing malarky and despite the sore muscles, it was evident from the smiles that everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves.

With the points so close, prizes remained open until the final race but now the competitors could relax and enjoy a nice blast back into the mouth of the river Colne dodging the unseasonably large number of swimmers.

As always, our RS700 Class Association Secretary Clare Sargent was there to greet the incoming sailors with her eternal smile and coupled with the temptation of a cold soft drink or beer (thanks RS Sailing!) we were drawn towards the tally board like moths to a flame to tally off for the final time. The prize-giving table was already set up and with just enough time to shower and mostly pack up our boats, we gathered in the club house to collect our wonderful prizes from Rooster, Noble Marine, Spinlock and Fernhurst Books and give the thanks that was due in ample measure for the sterling efforts of Clare, Brightlingsea Sailing Club's race and shore teams, and of course the competitors for bringing their A game!

Overall Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10Pts
1stGold1058John BoothStokes Bay SC32‑9111213‑514
2ndGold1029Rob HigginsChew Valley Lake SC131‑1122134(OCS)17
3rdGold762Richie ThurlbyHill Head /stokes Bay/CCSC24‑1224444‑6327
4thGold765James ClarkChew Valley Lake SC47287‑10‑1371137
5thGold951Marek DudakYC Cere66‑1335752‑20943
6thGold725Jack GroganWMYC5‑93936‑1465845
7thGold1055Tom PorterHISC & Emsworth SC‑1315‑10951092647
8thGold1042Pete PurkissBrightlingsea SC7575‑10‑19788249
9thGold1062Matt CarterLancing SC8‑1147‑1289510758
10thGold710Nathan SteffenoniWeston SC1088‑1914176‑187474
11thSilver970Philip HighfieldGT Yarmouth & Gorleston SC11‑17‑184614310141577
12thGold966Michael BanksDabchicks SC‑1514612811‑151191283
13thGold1073Richard AllenCarsingtion SC91015‑16113‑1712131487
14thSilver861Richard GoldklangBrightlingsea SC‑181214‑20159814111093
15thSilver855Dave BridleBrightlingsea SC1216‑176‑19121113151398
16thSilver939Sam CaslinDabchicks SC16‑21161313‑2518161811121
17thSilver1043Jiri KuthanYC Liskovec‑2018191416‑2019191617138
18thGold1068Roland SmithHISC171311151716(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNC145
19thGold720Richard WadsworthRNSA/Stokes Bay SC14151017(DNS)15(DNC)DNCDNCDNC155
20thBronze761Thomas DuttonDabchicks SC191920‑211821212019(RET)157
21stBronze909Chris WrightYorshire Dales SC2120211821‑2323‑242116161
22nd 870Will HeadDabchicks SC(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC1316211218164
23rdBronze989James SparksDabchicks SC2222222220242023(DNC)(DNC)175
24thBronze801Stephen CarrBrightlingsea SC2323232322‑26‑24222219177
25th 778Oliver GroganWMYC(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC181215DNFDNF185
26th 871Curtis DrewHISC(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC22221717OCS190

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