Please select your home edition
Edition
Allen 2017 Inner Steel 728

Bollé RS500 Grand Prix at Oxford Sailing Club

by Peter Curtis on 18 Apr 2013 13-14 April 2013

The first RS500 Bollé Grand Prix of the season was certainly one to blow out the cobwebs and remind you what a blast the 500 can be. Nine boats entered for the weekend of 13/14 April at Oxford SC, with threats of a gale brewing in the west that could make things interesting at some point over the two days.

The wind was a pleasant 10 knots or so when we all arrived on Saturday, so boats were set up for standard medium conditions. Come launch time a squall came through of well over 20 knots, and the pattern was set for the day, mostly pleasant averaging12-15 knots, but with some occasional big gusts, normally accompanied by a big shift of random direction. The RS600s and Contenders, who we shared the event with, got away for their first race, but the leeward mark started processing through the start line and heading for the bank. The RO postponed the 500s while they tried to fix a decent anchor, and the single handers played follow the RIB as it lifted the mark and tried to fix it in place. Eventually the race was abandoned after the 600s had done three rounds.

And so after a half hour interlude the 500s finally got under way. The long line was a bit port biased, which Jeremy Bickerton and Derek Ness in 652, and Peter and James Curtis, 659, spotted and went for a pin end start. Peter and James tacked off first, crossing the fleet, but Jeremy and Derek stood on and came out with a good lead at the first mark.

They set off with kite up in one of the big gusts and really didn't want (or dare) to put a gybe in. When they finally plucked up courage, Jeremy fell out the boat half way through and had a bit of a swim to catch up with Derek on the centreboard. Peter and James took advantage of their misfortune to take the lead, followed by Peter and Sabine Townend in 831, which is how it finished after a shortened three laps.

Race 2 saw more of the fleet at the port end of the line, a good start and a decent first beat. Peter and James came out ahead of Jeremy and Derek this time, who seemed to have sorted out their gybing. The two slowly pulled ahead of the rest of the fleet while their relative positions concertina'd depending on who got the best gust on the run. This race went for the full five laps, and with the wind seeming to get shiftier as time went on it was certainly a tiring race.

Race 3 was much the same as race 2 at the front of the fleet, although Peter and James managed to pull out a bigger lead. Unfortunately, the conditions were such that your correspondent had to concentrate hard on keeping his own mast vertical and didn't get a chance to follow what was going on further back.

And on to Sunday, which was when the REALLY big gusts were meant to be arriving. Six of the original nine prepared themselves for battle, but just as on Saturday a big squall came through as the boats were launching. Peter and James had some scares as they eventually managed to get off, but Jeremy and Derek were not so lucky, suffering a breakage to their boom.

The five remaining boats were all on the line for the start, although a couple only made it just in time. With another port biased line, John Cooper and Andy made a timed run to the pin end, but got there 2s early and had to return to exonerate themselves, which is not what you want when it's blowing 20 knots or so. The remainder of the fleet had an exciting beat, followed by an exhilarating run, punctuated by a scary gybe. Peter and James took an early lead which they extended through the race, but Peter and Sabine and Richard Matthews and Harry Bruce seemed to be having a great battle for 2nd, which ended when Richard and Harry capsized and their gooseneck fitting broke.

The strength of the gusts kept increasing as the race went on and various of the fleet either delayed their gybe or misjudged it such that they couldn't hold the kite and had to two sail in to the lee mark. With few upright boats on the water and a worry over adequate safety cover the RO called it a day after just the one race. The clubhouse anemometer apparently recorded gusts up to 36 knots!

Many thanks to Oxford for coping with such trying conditions.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st659Peter CurtisJames CurtisIsland Barn SC‑11113
2nd831Peter TownendSabine TowendChelmarsh SC23‑427
3rd652Jeremy BickertonDerek NessRVYC422(DNF)8
4th636Richard MatthewsHarry BruceAbingdon School SC355(DNF)13
5th610John Cooper Burghfield SC743(DNF)14
6th941Will SummersTom PughOSC(DNF)8DNS321
7th748Anna ZmuraKeith SykesGt Yarmouth & Gorleston56(DNS)DNF21
8th517Alec MumfordJacob ElsonArdleigh67(DNS)DNF23
9th922E SymondsE NessRVYC(DNF)DNFDNSDNF30

Related Articles

RS500 Crown Cup at Like Lipno
Great fun, people, and beer in the Czech Republic The final Eurocup event for RS500s, RS Fevas, the European Championship for RS700s, and the International Championship for RS Aeros, were held from the 17-20 August at Lake Lipno, Czech Republic. Posted on 14 Sep
RS500 Worlds at Lake Como
A difficult start with a 'Breva' finish The RS500 Worlds at Lake Como started off with difficult conditions and a really international leaderboard, but finished off with the true 'Breva' wind filling in across the lake. Posted on 21 Aug
250+ RS sailors off to Lake Como
RS500 World, RS100 European and RS200/RS400 Eurocup 250 sailors and their supporters are busily getting ready to travel to Lake Como, Italy, for their Championships which start on 24 July. Posted on 16 Jul
RS500 EuroCup at Medemblik
Tricky conditions during truly international event The RS800 European Championships and RS500 Eurocup event last weekend in Medemblik will be remembered as a big step for the classes going towards a truly international scene. Posted on 16 May
France Open Skiff at Lac du Der
RS500 and RS800 Eurocup Series event A fantastic event over Easter for the France Open Skiff at Lac du Der, Champagne. This was the opening event in the new RS500 and RS800 Eurocup Series 2017. Posted on 26 Apr
April gets you going!
Catch up with the news from RS Sailing Have you sailed your RS boat already? There has already been a lot going on in the world of RS Sailing this year and a lot more to come. This is a year of great destinations, high quality racing events and guaranteed great socials. Posted on 22 Apr
April at RS Sailing
A few upcoming events not to miss! We're here to answer your questions. Anything specific you want to know? If you follow us on social media, you will have hopefully seen the Friday Forum that goes Live on Facebook every couple of weeks. Posted on 8 Apr
RS500 End of Season Championship
Wind frisky, temperature freezy at Rutland Well, the wind was frisky and the temperature was freezy, so there was a pretty good challenge to keep getting round the course even if the turnout was decidedly below par. Posted on 10 Nov 2016
Southampton Boat Show Offers from RS
Discounts on new boats, and show tickets too Southampton Boat Show started on Friday and runs until Sunday 25th September 2016. Don't miss out on our fantastic show offers and make sure you drop in for a coffee! We can be found in our usual spot overlooking the water - Stand number E045. Posted on 20 Sep 2016
Southampton Boat Show Offers!
Visit RS Sailing on Stand E045 The Southampton Boat Show runs from 16th - 25th September 2016. We can be found in our usual spot overlooking the water - Stand number E045 and we are happy to offer you discount tickets! Posted on 16 Sep 2016