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Gul RS500 Grand Prix at Burghfield Sailing Club

by RS Class Association 6 Apr 2011 12:00 BST 2 April 2011

It was hard to believe on a warm, sunny morning at Burghfield Sailing Club that this piece of water had been frozen over for two months during the winter. Spring felt like it had arrived and with it a fresh group of RS500 sailors – some veterans to the class, others out to enjoy their first event.

Four windward-leeward courses got underway as the fleet navigated its way upwind in shifty conditions, testing the crews’ agility on the wire and the helms’ concentration. A fantastic job was done by Burghfield SC’s efficient race team, and as always it was a very friendly welcome in dinghy park and club bar. Thank you, Burghfield SC, the RS500s would love to come again!

A feature of windward-leeward racing at Burghfield is having to navigate around the islands, which are scattered across the length of the reservoir, adding an extra dimension to the tactics. It was common for teams to be one side of the island, only to find the rest of the fleet sailing in bigger gusts and favourable wind shifts on the other side. This meant everything was to play for on the downwind legs. Numerous place changes took place in the fleet, right to the finish line in some cases, keeping everyone on their toes and fast efficient gybing was a valuable skill.

Newcomers Peter and James Curtis, Island Barn SC, showed good decision making and speed round the course to be consistently at the sharp end of the fleet. But class veterans Tim Wilkins and Heather Martin, Hickling Broad SC, made the most of their downwind agility to re-claim the lead by the end of each race, although in two cases leaving it literally to the end snatching race victories in race two from locals James Tanner and Lucinda Blain, and race four from Peter and James.

Fellow local club teams Richard and Sue Morley, and James and Lucinda both sailed good, consistent series and as they always seem to, ended up within a point of one another. This time it was James and Lucinda who edged it, taking third place by a point. This is getting to be a famous rivalry and they’ll have to be watched carefully if wandering by the opposition’s boat with a drill in the dinghy park!

Dave and John (Gorleston SC) had a mixed bag of results showing speed round the course and early leads, which didn’t translate in to top results at this event, but in stronger winds they will certainly be a team to reckon with.

It was great to see several new faces in the fleet – a warm welcome to Scott and Ian from Broxbourne SC and Tally and Ian from Parkstone YC. We’ll look forward to seeing more of you at the other circuit events.

The next event on the RS500 calendar is coaching by 2010 World Champion Tim Wilkins at Datchet on Saturday May 7th followed by the next circuit event on Sunday. Perfect for a spot of training ahead of the World Championships in Weymouth this August, which are shaping up to be an event to remember with 44 entries already!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st625Tim WilkinsHeather MartinHickling Broad SC-11113
2nd659Peter CurtisJames CurtisIsland Barn Reservoir SC2-3226
3rd525James TannerLucinda BlainBurghfield SC62-9412
4th517Richard MorleySue MorleyBurghfield SC-843613
5th795David HoughtonJohnSYGSC-1055313
6th538Emily TalbotAnnabel LarkinWeir Wood SC564-915
7th610John CooperAndy MawBurghfield SC3-106716
8th519Simon PayneHope HalstadOxford SC4-88517
9th616Scott RoomIan PreedyBroxbourne SC777-821
10th550Hamish StewartTom CrockfordDWSC99-111028
11th508Tally WatsonIan MairsParkstone Yacht SC-1111101132