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RS800 Spring Championship and Rooster National Tour Round 1 at Queen Mary Sailing Club

by Bryan Ormond 19 Mar 04:40 PDT 16-17 March 2024

Twelve intrepid 800 crews were eager to shake off the end of Winter at Queen Mary Sailing Club for the (slightly early) Spring Championships. Evidently, the committee also made sure they booked the season early, ensuring a delightful gentle breeze and sunshine to kick-off the 2024 season.

After a friendly postponement to allow any stragglers to play the shifts on the M25 closure, Anna Ormond and I were hot off the starting blocks, attempting (and failing) to execute a port flyer. All the teams soon realised the M25 closure was not the only shifts they would have to play with this weekend, with Queen Mary delivering some predicably unpredictable gusts and shifts. Special mention to new-joiners David and Rowan Copse, who showed 1144 still had some magic to give crossing the fleet (and especially ahead of Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore who were enviously looking at the transom of their old trusted boat). After much debate as to where to go, I eventually decided to keep quiet and do as my crew was telling me, leading us to play a risky yet impactful left corner breeze, edging us into the lead at the last windward mark and clinging onto that win with Tom and Guy hot on our heels.

The wind picked up in the second race, which saw Tom and Guy find their usual pace, despite a lot of positions shuffling with Maria Stanley and Rachael Potter, and Monique Vennis-Ozanne and Hugh Shone close behind. Across the fleet, the smallest mistake was unforgiven, with battles for every position on every leg. Many thanks to Nick Charles and Dan Goodman who, seeing us coming in on port, decided to capsize in the middle of the RS200s spreader mark, ensuring a suitable gap for RS800s to sail through the cloud of RS200 and RS400s.

The race committee were very quick to get the next race going, and the fleet was soon lining up for a third race in now 10-15 knots. Maria's boat decided two races was enough, and elected to part ways with its rudder. Monique and Hugh took the win, making sure a different boat won every race that day.

The sailors then gathered around a valuable debriefing led by coach Simon Hall (and assisted by Maria's indisputable memory of every other boat's decision rationale), analysing videos, tracking data and strategies of the day, before heading out to a well-deserved curry.

The second day saw a little drizzle (soon to be called off, thanks to the organisers excellent dealings with the weather man), but some solid 10-15knts winds.

My recollections of race four are somewhat blurry, but I am sure it involved a careful balance of shifts, gusts and a maze of RS200 and RS400s, which (with careful planning, positioning and a sprinkle of luck) could be used as an ingenious weapon in any close battles against other RS800s.

Race five saw about as many boats in the lead as there were marks to round, with close battles throughout the fleet for each position on every leg. Winning the start off the committee, Anna and I were delighted to hold our lane out to the middle-left, only to find that every boat that bailed and went right came back into the mix (or in the lead) by mark one. In their generosity, Tom and Guy decided to give the fleet a head start, starting a few boat lengths below the line sag, but somehow still managing to come back, delivering unmatched speed and cunning on every manoeuvre, and claiming pole position again on the last lap.

In the final race of the event, for some reason the fleet decided to line up on the starboard end of the line, creating quite some traffic on the start line, only to realise the wind had shifted back left 30 degrees. Ralph Singleton and Dan F-H were, of course, true to form with a perfectly executed port flyer. Yet, by this point, Monique and Hugh had sussed the first beat tactics and were (once again) rounding the first mark in first, doing their absolute best at keeping Tom and Guy behind for as long as they could... But Tom and Guy were not sharing any first places today.

A massive thanks to Queen Mary for putting on such good racing in some very challenging conditions, and for all the competitors across the fleet from some intense, close and incredibly fun racing! Thank you also to our RS800 National Tour sponsor Rooster.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1248Tom MorrisGuy FillmoreHayling Island SC‑2121116
2nd1Monique Vennis‑OzanneHugh ShoneSwanage SC‑43122210
3rd820Bryan OrmondAnna OrmondQueen Mary SC1‑5533416
4th1204Martin OrtonIan BrooksChichester YC/ Hayling Island SC‑64355320
5th1188Nick CharlesDaniel GoodmanLittleton SC3‑6464522
6th1166Ralph SingletonDani F‑HRYA‑88646630
7th862Anthony ParkeAlejandra GutierrezQueen Mary SC79(RET)78738
8th1144David CopseRowan CopseQueen Mary SC97889‑1041
9th1234Maria StanleyRachael PotterQueen Mary SC52RET(DNC)DNCDNC44
10th985Angus MarshallNiall FergusonDalgety Bay SC‑10107910945
11th1057Toby FreelandMatt WrightQueen Mary SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC7854
12th1211Rob MawdsleyOscar Morgan‑HarrisHayling Island SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC65

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