RS700s Dominate Brightlingsea Skiff Fest 7-8 October 2017 at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

Wednesday, 11 October 2017


 The fleet gathered in Brightlingsea for latest round of the Magic Marine RS700 Grand Prix series over the weekend of 7th and  8th of October as part of a new event, the Brightlingsea Skiff Fest.   With such popular classes as the RS200s, 2000s, B14s and Laser 4000s also invited it was great to find the RS700s as the biggest class present with 13 entries.

 With a forecast of a bit fruity moderating through the day, the PRO held the fleet for a short while on shore until releasing us to brave the conditions which were somewhat challenging at first.   A gusty force 4 and a confused and lumpy sea certainly tested the metal of many of the fleet.

 Race one started with Robbie Bell leading off the pin end followed closely by Ian Nolan.  Robbie was dealing with the challenging conditions superbly and serenely sailed off to a well-deserved win followed by a more conservative Ian, Matt Carter and Ian Genghis  Swann.

 The second race started much like the first with the Robbie starting from the pin and leading round the windward mark.  Next round was Colin Dacey hard pressed by Ian Nolan with Ian Genghis  Swann and local hero Pete Purkiss close behind.  Genghis and Pete were able to soak considerably lower in the confused waters than the leading Snettisham trio and were able to pick off Ian at the gybe mark.  However, Colin and Pete both succumbed to the conditions, swimming in the confused seas down the first run leaving Robbie to a comfortable win with Genghis and Ian filling out the podium.

 Having aced two starts, it was Robbie s turn to find himself midfleet in the last race, with circuit newcomer Matt Carter leading round the windward mark in the softening breeze.  Most of the fleet hoisted and headed out to the right but Ian Nolan had spotted some pressure, gybed early and took a convincing lead which was never challenged, followed by a recovering Colin and Matt.  Robbie was down in 5th place but with the discard kicking in from race three, had done enough to hold the overnight lead.  He managed to celebrate this with some excellent good value food and an occasional orange juice whilst listening to a great live band in the club.

 The conditions had changed completely overnight with the fleet emerging to find the lightest of breezes fluctuating minute by minute.  Race four started with the group at pin end heading for deeper water in the channel and more tide.  Matt Carter didn’t have the best start and tacked off to find some breeze as he was also headed.  He could then tack and get a nice lift to lead the fleet to the windward mark.  Steve Hermanson rounded in 2nd, hoisted and set out looking for breeze on starboard whilst the majority of the fleet gybe-set to head for shore and shallow water.  Matt led at the leeward mark closely followed by Steve.  The second beat was nip and tuck with Matt, Steve and Robbie looking for pressure with the rest of the pack close behind.  In the end Matt took the win followed by Steve with Robbie in third.

 Race five:  Matt, Robbie and Ian were all very close on line with an individual recall seeing Colin Dacey and some others returning to the start line.  Steve took an early lead finding pressure on the left of the beat, he stuck to his guns going right down the run with Robbie and Matt gybe-setting.  All three came together at the finish with Steve taking the bullet, Robbie second and Matt third on the line although the lack of a gun indicating that it was indeed him who was OCS. 

 After a delay for shipping, the sixth race started in a light breeze.  Colin Dacey pulled out all his lake sailing skills to lead at the windward mark and hold off the chasing pack on the first run.  With the wind dying the PRO decided to cut the racing short.  The lack of wind at the finishing line left the leaders drifting past the leeward mark allowing Matt to wiggle past Colin to take the win. 

 Robbie had found himself down the pack and had chosen to retire which left him and Matt tied on points overall, with Robbie winning via the tiebreaker.  Ian recovered to fifth in the final race to close out the podium.

 Many thanks to the incredibly welcoming team at Brightlingsea, Horizon Construction who sponsored the event and to Magic Marine for their support of the RS700 circuit.  We are all hoping that this Skiff Fest will be the first of many.

  The next event and the last of the year is the Inland Championships at Queen Mary SC on the 11th and 12th of November.  Online entry is here:

 See you there!

 Report by Ian Nolan

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 October 2017 )