Nov & Dec Open Series #7 - 16 and 17 December

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Final Day Report


Zhik RS Elite National Championship at Hayling Island Sailing Club – Final Day


Following canecllation of Day 2 racing and Friday night’s rib-tickling curry and comedy night, four races were sailed in Hayling Bay on Saturday. Competitors were expecting changeable weather conditions but nobody predicted the wind range that was to develop.


Following a general recall, Race 4 started soon after 11am under a black flag in 18–20 knots of south-westerly breeze over an ebb tide. Having won the first three races, “Foudafafa” (76 – Mike McIntyre, Simon Childs, Caroline McIntyre) was once again looking invincible until the final short hook to the finish line from the leeward mark when “Wombat” (55 – Russell Peters, Greg Wells, Mark Darling) managed a clean mark rounding and spinnaker drop to overtake and steal first place.


“No Riff Raff” (20 – Tom Hewitson, Nigel Bird, Claire Cummings) finished in third to maintain their strong challenge. Having had a disappointing first day “More T Vicar” (67 – Ossie Stewart, Ian Tillet, Tom Stewart) were beginning to build some momentum in fourth place.


Once again, Race 5 started under a black flag with the results board getting a bit of a shakeup. “Foudafafa” and “No Riff Raff” were caught over the line at the pin-end. By now, the wind speed was dropping, eventually fading to 6 knots with a dramatic 90° wind shift prompting a shortened course, allowing “Wombat” to take a second race victory with “Anchorman” (50 – John Driscoll, Stephen Cartwright, Hal Catherwood) in second and “More T Vicar” third.


An unpleasant squall arrived in between races 5 and 6 with some prolonged cold rain, poor visibility and wind gusting over 30 knots resulting in a lot of shivering crews trying to stay warm with a mix of jogging on the spot whilst playing exercise soundtracks, and seeking shelter from the rain by wearing buckets on heads!


When visibility improved and the wind settled, Race 6 got away to a clean start in 16–20 knots of south-westerly breeze. “More T Vicar” continued their charge up the leader board to take the race win with “Urafiki” (92 – James Yearsley, Jonny Costard, Wayne Rogers) enjoying their best result in second, “Foudafafa” third and “Wombat” fourth.


Race 7 started under yet another black flag with the championship hanging on the final race. In the end, “Wombat” took another first to record three wins out of four on the day. “Dirty Dozen” (12 – Tim Peters, Andrew Jameson, James Grant) finished in second with “Aeolus” (33–Cam Stewart, Mitch Webb, Elliott Wells) in third, both recording their best results of the regatta.


“More T Vicar” in fourth and “Foudafafa” down in fifth meant that “Wombat” had grabbed the championship at the last gasp by one point from “Foudafafa” in second and “More T Vicar” pipping “No Riff Raff” for third overall.


A great time was had by all at the prizegiving dinner followed by dancing to the magnificent Smiley Campbell Band into the early hours (yet another legendary RS Elite social). New Class Chairman, Paul Fisk, knew that it was time to stop when he fell off his bicycle at an estimated 4 o’clock on Sunday morning – thankfully, no damage done!


Hayling Island Sailing Club and the RS Elite Class Association are extremely grateful to the generous event sponsors Zhik for some extra-special prizes, MDL Marinas for craning and berthing, Sparkes Chandlery for sailing bags upcycled from old RS Elite sails and Performance Sailboat Repairs for bar refreshments.


We look forward to next year’s National Championship at the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, half way between Belfast and Bangor on the shores of Belfast Lough.


In the meatime, the next stop for the RS Elite Class is Cowes Week where we hope the 18-strong fleet will enjoy some better weather.


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