All photos © Mike Shaw / www.fotoboat.com
Grey skies, some big gusts, and a good thrash around Grafham Water was the reward for 19 RS500 teams who came along to this year's UK inland Championships. Still the weather did nothing to dent the fun factor and some big smiles were inevitable, as were some big wipeouts when the high speed maneouvers didn’t quite go to plan!
Rising above all the drama Mike Saul and Meg Fletcher from Yorkshire Dales SC went about the business of collecting a string of first places in typical relaxed looking fashion. This was great if you are Mike or Meg, but left the rest of us wondering why we have to try so hard!!
Day one, and showing great speed around the course Phil Highfield and Jamie Freeman from Great Yarmouth and Gorleston SC might have been a threat to Mike and Meg save for a few unforced errors. After a comfortable win in race 1, Phil and Jamie were leading the way down the first kite run in race 2. Jamie enthusiastically jumped out on his trapeze after a gybe only to remember, slightly too late, that he was supposed to hook onto a wire thing first! Phil was left to drop the kite by himself and head back for a textbook man-overboard pick up. Very impressive, and good enough to still salvage 4th place. Meanwhile Jon Partridge and stand in crew Tim Wilkins made the most of their error to pick up second place, with another GYGSC crew David Houghton and John Symonds close behind in third. Race three saw a shifting dying breeze, which brought some different names up the leader board. Behind the leading pair Gurnard sailing club team Jeremy Bickerton and Derek Ness picked up 3rd once again proving they can be very effective in the lighter breeze, as did Stone Sailing Club’s Emma Taylor and Ben Brown in 4th.
After that it was warm showers and cold beers for some of us, but cold showers for others. At least there was plenty of beer to go around, and all cold as well.
Crawling out of tents / campers or the hotel buffet breakfast bar on Sunday morning the RS500 fleet were greeted with warmer weather, and what looked like a fairly gentle breeze. After launching it soon turned out it wasn’t. Like the South American monkeys, it was a bit of a howler! Results followed much the same pattern as the previous day, but that belies much excitement of the wet kind during the races upsetting the form. To try to up the ante in races five and six Jon/Tim took on the tactic of trying to scare the opposition by losing control and capsizing directly in front of them. Dave/John were the victims in race five and Phil/Jamie in race six. It was a singularly unsuccessful tactic, but still Jon/Tim did just enough to secure third place overall behind Mike/Meg in first place, and Phil/Jamie in second. Ian Mairs and Tally Watson of Parkstone YC rounded off a very consistent set of results to secure 5th place overall behind Dave and John in fourth. This is all the more impressive for Ian/Tally who are in their first season in the 500 and coped admirably with the tricky conditions.
Emily Talbot / Annabel Larkin as the leading all girl team, and Finlay Curran / Harry Bruce as best youth team also showed great determination on the water. Despite feeling battered and bruised, all agreed it had been some cracking sailing, really great fun and shared with some great friendly competition.
|1st||536||Mike Saul||Meg Fletcher||Yorkshire Dales||-2||1||1||1||1||1||5|
|2nd||665||Phillip Highfield||Jamie Reeman||Gt Yarmouth & Gorleston SC||1||-4||2||2||2||2||9|
|3rd||934||Jon Partridge||Tim Wilkins|| ||3||2||-5||3||5||5||18|
|4th||795||David Houghton||John Symonds||Gt Yarmouth & Gorleston SC||-7||3||6||4||3||3||19|
|5th||508||Ian Mairs||Tally Watson||Parkstone Yacht Club||4||6||-12||5||4||4||23|
|6th||922||Jeremy Bickerton||Derek Ness||Gunard SC||5||5||3||-12||9||8||30|
|7th||624||Allan Fraser||Linda Fraser||Datchet||9||8||7||7||(DNC)||6||37|
|8th||939||Emma Taylor||Ben Brown||Stone SC||-11||11||4||6||7||11||39|
|9th||831||Peter Townend||Sabine Townend||Chelmarsh SC||(DNC)||7||11||9||6||9||42|
|10th||519||Simon Payne||Fenella Williams||Oxford||8||10||8||10||(DNC)||7||43|
|11th||826||Michael Clapp||Sue Risbridger||Datchet Water Sailing Club||6||13||13||8||(DNC)||DNC||60|
|12th||649||George Wilson||Laura Wilson||Netley SC||10||12||14||(DNC)||11||14||61|
|13th||538||Emily Talbot||Annabel Larkin||Weir Wood||13||14||9||11||(DNC)||DNC||67|
|14th||884||Finly Gurran||Harry Bruce||Abingdon School||(DNC)||16||15||DNC||8||13||72|
|15th||638||Kevin Murphy||William Slater||Hickling B.S.C||12||19||18||13||10||(DNC)||72|
|16th||550||Hamish Stewart||Richard Walker||Datchet||(DNC)||9||17||DNC||DNC||10||76|
|17th||636||Richard Matthews||Luke Carter||Abingdon School||15||18||19||(DNC)||12||12||76|
|18th||748||Anna Zmura||Keith Sykes||Gt Yarmouth & Gorleston SC||(DNC)||15||10||DNC||DNC||DNC||85|
|19th||546||Ian Patience||Michelle Ackroyd||Norfolk Broads Yacht Club||14||17||16||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||87|