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Gul RS500 Circuit at Great Yarmouth & Gorleston Sailing Club

by RS Class Association 14 Jun 2011 09:31 BST 11-12 June 2011
RS500s at Great Yarmouth © Veronica Falat

The Gul RS500 Grand Prix circuit was held for the first time at Great Yarmouth & Gorleston SC this weekend. The east coast location proved to be a truly dynamic location and provided two full days of challenging and exciting racing conditions on the sea.

Teams from across the country ventured to East Anglia, and they weren’t disappointed. Beautiful sunshine, a long sandy beach and some serious wind made a welcome start for the visitors and locals alike.

On Saturday the wind direction and strength was challenging for the race team, who did a great job to get in three races with three totally different directions and sea states in each. Despite the technical challenges, the changes brought out the best in different sailing teams and each race on Saturday saw a different winner. At the end of the day only one point separated the top three boats - Peter and James Curtis (Island Barn SC), Tim Wilkins and Heather Martin (Hickling Broad SC) and GYGSC's very own Phil Highfield and Tamsin Butcher.

Race one was a F2 – 3 blowing off the shore giving flat water and challenging wind shifts. Then for race two there was a light northerlygiving a long beat in to the tide in a slack chop. Everything changed for race three with a strong F4 – 5 piling in from the south west bringing with it lumpy, steep wind-against-tide waves. Navigating over and around the chop, along with good boat handling skills made you a winner, and it was the two local teams Phil Highfield/Tamsin Butcher and Dave Houghton/John Symonds who showed everyone how it was done, coming first and second respectively while all other teams took a swim.

Sunday started in bright sunshine and a stiff southerly breeze greeted the returning sailors, feeling fresh after an al fresco fish and chip supper on the beach the night before. The wind had built overnight to a south easterly F4, which continued to build throughout the day making the conditions even more testing. Two races were completed before abandoning the third due to seriously high winds and eight foot waves, which made for high adrenaline downwind legs - it wasn’t for the fainthearted.

In both races, Tim and Heather demonstrated why they are the current RS500 World and National Champions, winning both races and taking the overall win. The recent weeks of windy weather at Gorleston obviously benefited the local boats with Phil/Tamsin and Dave/John taking a second and third each, securing those places overall.

A special mention goes to 14 year old Lottie Harland who bravely crewed an RS500 for the first time with veteran to the class James Tanner from Burghfield SC. The team were one of only five who managed to finish all races in the seriously challenging conditions – even crossing the line upside down in one race.

A big thank you to GYGSC for their excellent race management and friendly welcome.

The next event in the RS500 Gul circuit will see the fleet visit Lymington Town SC on 2 and 3 July.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSailNoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stTara625Tim WilkinsHeather MartinHBSC21-4115
2ndOne Off the Devil665Phil HighfieldTamsin ButcherGYGSC-521238
3rd 795Dave HoughtonJohn SymondsGYGSC3-423210
4th 659Peter CurtisJames CurtisIBRSC133-5411
5th 709Peter MatthewsKaren MatthewsLancing SC45(DNF)4DNC22
6thSchrodinghy IV525James TannerLottie HarlandBurghfield SC-7756523
7th 624Allan FraserLinda FraserDWSC66(DNF)DNFDNC29
8th 748Anna ZmuraKeith SykesGYGSC88(DNF)DNCDNC34
9thRandom638Kevin MurphyWilliam SlaterHBSC-99DNFDNFDNC35