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Magic Marine RS100 Grand Prix Round 2 at the Paignton POSH

by Clive Eplett on 11 May 6-7 May 2017
RS100s blasting downwind © David Smart

Well it's certainly a weird year for weather. In Ireland, half a mile of rock pools becomes a beautiful looking golden-sand beach "overnight". In the wettest part of the UK, the River Derwent is just a corridor of rocks, which bodes ill if you sail on a Water Company reservoir (that statement should make it rain, in which case I shall want commission Thames Water et al).

At Rutland for the Sprints we had teasing, capricious August-like inland breezes. But for good ol' POSH, well that always delivers a right old blow, right? Well it did in the lead up days and on the drive there. It is blowing hard again as I write this on Monday morning. But as we arrived and rigged, watching the breakers on the beach and pondering launching through them, the wind faded and simply died; did no one feed the meter? Attempting to sail through the breakers in no wind looked even less appealing.

Sensibly, OOD James Ripley postponed for an hour, then canned it until Sunday. Brave but wise; there was not a breath for the rest of the day.

Hence, to the crazy golf course it was. The evidence arising is that none of the RS100 fleet will be challenging for a Ryder Cup place. Even starting every hole from the 'Ladies tee' Greg Booth put in one of his light-air sailing performances (bringing up the rear). Steve Lee played better when using his golf-bat as if a snooker cue. Ultimately, it was Luke Goble who won the day with a stellar 2-over par round. (Contrast if S. Bolland Esq had joined us, his would be a Stella round, which is very different).

For those of you who have not sailed POSH (Paignton Open Single Handers) or PODD (for double-handed dinghies; it's in 2 weeks time - nudge, wink, hint) it's a wonderfully friendly, members-run club with every one chipping in (more like slaving away actually). This always includes feeding everyone on Saturday evening, creating a great atmosphere in the bar and, as ever, so it was. The beer ran out. We embarrassed Chairman Mark Harrison by singing a very respectful rendition of Happy (60th) Birthday to him. Excellent.

For Sunday, the forecast was light but perfectly sailable early, fading to nowt by lunchtime. As if anyone can take a wind-forecast seriously in 2017. Nevertheless, many of the gullible decided to save the brownie points and bail. Yes, you, the Chew Valley fleet. Silly, silly boys.

We launched. James had set a course when we got there, but rapidly reset as the wind tracked right, as it would throughout the day, starting E and ending SW.

At the first mark it was Mounts Bay's Jeremy Gilbert in the lead, followed by (Nationals hosts) Weston SC's Steve Lee and your correspondent. Jeremy clearly then suffered a bout of vertigo and decided to sail for the outer loop's leeward gate. Clive Eplett soaked under Steve and led him the rest of the way with, finishing third, the new bus-pass owner who was still gloating about getting a discount on his crazy-golf-fee.

In race 2, Clive led at mark 1, but Rutland Sprints winner Ian Gregory got his act together after a 'mare of a first race, worked his way around the D-One wind shadows better and was never headed thereafter, leading-home a Frensham Pond 1-2. The ever-present Mr Lee took third. The pensioner made the unconventional move of gybing his kite at the last mark, in preparation for the short beat to the finish, nearly letting Cheshire-cat Greg Booth through, but after a change of mind and frenetic drop, Mark held it by about a pension-book.

Race 3 was a bit of a re-run, but this time Ian pretty much led the whole way around, again followed by Clive. Steve reacted cleverly as the wind took another flop right on the last run, stayed in better pressure and grabbed second.

At this point the wind filled and strengthened, having settled 90 degrees right from the third race. Was there time to reset and get starts in before the guillotine? Was there a suggestion from your (points-lead-holding) correspondent, that we should go in before the discard kicked in? Young Mr Ripley and team were annoyingly efficient at moving 8 marks and off we went. It was all to play for, with three of us needing at least a win to cement victory. Ian started at the pin. Clive at the committee boat (good line, James) with Steve, right behind him, tacking immediately. Steve went hard right, Ian hard left, Clive up the middle and all arrived at virtually the same time. Ian again sailed off into the distance on the run and Steve sailed a strong last beat to cross second.

This left Ian Gregory as POSH RS100 Champion with three bullets to count, Clive second on count back with a 1-2-3 and Steve 3rd with a 2-2-2 to count.

An RS Aero sailor said to me at one point over the weekend "I don't know how you can sail a RS100 on Frensham Pond." Well demonstrably, you can. I'll share with you that it's flipping' good fun and apparently it's good practice with an FPSC 1-2 here following a 1-4 (missing 3rd on count-back) at the Sprints.

The next RS100 event is the Summer Champs at HISC on 17-18 June, where no doubt the RS100s will again revel in the conditions, whatever they are. At the time of writing, we are the largest entered fleet and there is even time for the Netley and Llandegfedd massives to pull their trailers from the weeds and join in too. As for you Chew lot, unless you actually come sailing next time, we'll be telling your wives that you never showed up at all but you told us, with a salacious wink, to say that you did.

Thanks again to the folks at Paignton SC - we will be back next year, but can we have a F4, sun and 24 degrees please?

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st259Ian GregoryFrensham Pond SC‑61113
2nd509Clive EplettFrensham Pond SC12‑336
3rd314Steven LeeWeston SC2‑4226
4th523Greg BoothPort Dinorwic SC43‑5411
5th379Mark HarrisonGurnard SC3‑54512
6th305Jeremy GilbertMounts Bay SC5‑77618
7th127Luke GobleNetley SC768(DNC)21
8th526Mostyn EvansMounts Bay SC886(DNC)22

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