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WASZP UK Swarm Isle of Wight GP at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club

by Martin Evans 31 May 06:48 PDT 24-26 May 2024
WASZP UK Swarm at the Isle of Wight GP © Ollie in the Sky Photography

On 25th & 26th May, the WASZP UK Swarm returned to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club on the glorious Isle of Wight for the second edition of the Isle of Wight GP.

In what is now becoming tradition, WASZP sailors from the mainland met across the water at Stokes Bay on Friday evening to enjoy a sunset sail across the Solent to kick off the weekend! They were joined by local boats and several junior sailors that came over by Wightlink ferry to make a holiday of the event during the half term week.

The fabulous volunteers of RVYC gave up their bank holiday weekends to facilitate a truly stunning event on the water and on the shore. RVYC is blessed with a unique and beautiful location and the competitors certainly made the most of it in the sunshine.

Saturday's racing got under way with sprint racing in marginal foiling conditions. Choosing whether to low ride or give up some VMG to try and foil was the deciding factor. In the first few races, the older heads of Dan Goodman, Peter Deming and Martin Evans fought it out at the front in the safe but comparatively dull low-ride mode whilst others went for glory on the foils but consequently sailed too much distance. As the tide strengthened, the wind dropped and racing became light and tricky. After four races, just when it felt like time to call it quits, the wind filled in beautifully and the race committee ran four NASCAR races (predominantly reaching with lots of laps) in perfect full-foiling conditions. Islander Ben Anderson, fresh from a win at SailGP Inspire in Bermuda, shone in the NASCAR with faultless manoeuvres. Evans and Goodman followed before Evans found something extra to take the final two race wins.

Eight races in a day left some very happy but sore bodies! Cue a delicious BBQ on the lawn to refuel.

Sunday's forecast was for big breeze, and building. The race committee promptly fired off four championship races. Martin Evans stood out from the beginning in what he would call his perfect conditions. He took all four race wins. Super Masters Dan Goodman and Adam Raeburn James made some appearances near the front, as well as juniors Ben Anderson and Merryn Attridge.

After racing, with the wind gusting in the mid to high twenties, the return Solent crossing was doubtful, so as a world first, the WASZP mainlanders wheeled their boats by foot onto the Wightlink ferry to get back to the mainland. A huge thanks to Wightlink for helping the sailors get back safe!

Also thanks to sponsors Rooster and Mermaid Gin for their valuable contributions to the event.

The Isle of Wight foiling scene is growing and the class looks forward to an even bigger return to the island next year! Follow WASZP UK on socials to keep up to date as the season rolls on.

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