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RS500 Inland Championships at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by RS Class Association 11 Oct 2011 15:07 BST 8-9 October 2011

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.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st536Mike SaulMeg FletcherYorkshire Dales-2111115
2nd665Phillip HighfieldJamie ReemanGt Yarmouth & Gorleston SC1-422229
3rd934Jon PartridgeTim Wilkins 32-535518
4th795David HoughtonJohn SymondsGt Yarmouth & Gorleston SC-73643319
5th508Ian MairsTally WatsonParkstone Yacht Club46-1254423
6th922Jeremy BickertonDerek NessGunard SC553-129830
7th624Allan FraserLinda FraserDatchet9877(DNC)637
8th939Emma TaylorBen BrownStone SC-11114671139
9th831Peter TownendSabine TownendChelmarsh SC(DNC)71196942
10th519Simon PayneFenella WilliamsOxford810810(DNC)743
11th826Michael ClappSue RisbridgerDatchet Water Sailing Club613138(DNC)DNC60
12th649George WilsonLaura WilsonNetley SC101214(DNC)111461
13th538Emily TalbotAnnabel LarkinWeir Wood1314911(DNC)DNC67
14th884Finly GurranHarry BruceAbingdon School(DNC)1615DNC81372
15th638Kevin MurphyWilliam SlaterHickling B.S.C1219181310(DNC)72
16th550Hamish StewartRichard WalkerDatchet(DNC)917DNCDNC1076
17th636Richard MatthewsLuke CarterAbingdon School151819(DNC)121276
18th748Anna ZmuraKeith SykesGt Yarmouth & Gorleston SC(DNC)1510DNCDNCDNC85
19th546Ian PatienceMichelle AckroydNorfolk Broads Yacht Club141716(DNC)DNCDNC87