2017 Volvo Noble Marine RS700 National Championship at Stokes Bay Sailing Club - Day 4

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Another fine day in paradise.   Who would have thought, as we approach the end of September we would be looking forward to a 4th day consecutive day of perfect sailing (and spectating) weather to conclude the 2017 RS700 Volvo Noble Marine National Championships?

With two races left to sail Jerry Wales had all but (but not quite) secured the overall win.  2nd to 5th overall was still very close, and there were other battles being fought right down the fleet, so we all had something to play for on the final day.

Was it nerves or just the Easterly flowing tide pushing us towards the line that resulted in the first start being called back?  There were a few relieved sailors to see the general recall flag flying from the committee boat rather than the individual recall!  The second start was a more orderly affair.   The line was heavily biased towards the pin but local hero Richard Wadsworth chose the committee boat end and tacked straight out into the favourable tide.  If the day turned out very badly for Jerry Wales, Richard could still take the overall lead so Wales chose to cover and they both lead the charge to the favoured side of the course.   Meanwhile Robbie Bell had pulled of a perfect port tack start (more on perfect port tack starting later) at the favoured end of the line and headed out into the favourable tide but with the benefit of a substantial lead, care of the line bias.  Robbie was followed round the top mark by Ian Nolan and these two classy sailors fought over first place for three laps with Robbie taking the win on the line.  Wales came home in 3rd followed by Richard Wadsworth.  This was enough to secure the title for Wales and all but guarantee a popular 2nd place for Richard.

The second race of the day and the concluding race for this year’s championships was also to be defined by a port tack start.  

For a perfect port start you need a well-timed approach to the line and a GAP!   In the absence of a gap; well you can guess what happened next.  It involved poor Pete Purkiss the innocent victim, being towed home followed by a tangled mess of mast, sail and broken rigging. 

Bell and Wales manged to avoid the carnage at the pin end but with no room to tack had to head inshore out of the favourable tide.  Richard Wadsworth having started mid-line was also heading inshore?    Of the contenders fighting for 3rd to 5th overall only Colin Dacey was heading out into the tide and if conformation was needed that this was the right thing to do, lead round the first mark by a healthy margin followed by Ian Nolan.  Those who had headed inshore were well down the fleet and faced a battle to get back to respectability.  After three laps of racing in perfect conditions Colin Dacey secured his first win to add to a couple of second places which lifted him to third overall.   It has been a good season for Colin. This result follows a third place at the last big UK event, the RS Summer Championships and a third place at the recent European Champs.   One of the nicest folk in the fleet, Colin quietly goes about his business and his reward is consistently good results.

Jerry Wales managed to climb back through the fleet to just pip Ian Nolan for second in the final race to confirm a fourth consecutive national title. 

Richard Wadsworth showed his quality to also climb back through the fleet to claim a 4th place and second overall for the championship.  Richard also adds this second place to his second at the Euro champs help in the Czech Republic.

This year’s event will be remembered amongst the best of recent years.   Four days of great racing in great condition hosted by a great sailing club.   Despite what the results show (I think more DNFs rather than DNCs) all bar one (boat maintenance issues aside) stayed out for the final race.  How often can you say that? 

There were 6 different race winners.  The newest boat in the fleet was followed home by the oldest.   The lightest sailor in the fleet weighed in at 70kgs and heaviest was, let’s just say North of 110kg and all appeared to be racing on as an even footing as experience allowed.    

We, the sailors are very grateful for all those that supported this event, so all those connected with Stokes Bay Sailing Club, the event sponsors:  Volvo, Noble Marine, Forward WIP and SpeedSix and of course RS Sailing and the RS700 Class Association.

The 2018 Nationals is being held at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy 16-19 August 2018.  It will be a combined European and National championships and will a part of the month long mega RS Games.  

The next event is the Brightlingsea Skiff Fest in two weeks’ time 7-8 Oct 2017.  You can find all the event information on the RS700 Class Association website here:  http://www.rs700.org/index.asp?selection=Events&uid=1466&fleet=RS700&detailevent=1

Report by Jerry Wales

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2017 )