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Plas Menai 2015

RS800 Magic Marine Grand Prix at Lyme Regis Sailing Club

by Ralph Singleton 11 Aug 12:19 BST
RS800 Magic Marine Grand Prix round 5 at Lyme Regis © Jess Douglas

The 5th round of the Magic Marine Grand Prix was held at Lyme Regis as part of their annual regatta. The format for the event was a little different as a consequence. On Saturday three races were scheduled with two on Sunday. The second race on Sunday was to be an all in handicap race that was non discardable with the 800s competing against a number of top Fireball helms practicing for their European championships to be held later in the month. As a consequence of this the 800s unusually were not allowed to touch the marks (without penalty) and had to accept 720 turns rather than a 360 turns for infringements.

On arrival we were greeted with bright sunshine and a brisk breeze coming in over the west of Lyme Bay. As a consequence the wind was exceptionally variable which made for some very exciting sailing. Before the first race the fleet was treated to a shower (normally taken after the racing) which dumped the best part of an inch of rain on the competitors in about 10 minutes. The squall which came with it capsized half the fleet as well.

The first race got away under the I flag and saw a couple of boats having to return to restart. This did not make too much difference as the boats with best start ended up toward the back round the first windward mark. Luke & Emma McEwen managed to sort the shifts out taking the first bullet of the day, with Ralph & Sophie Singleton taking second (despite thinking they may have been OCS) and Andrew Blundell & Maddie Fenner taking third.

Race 2 saw a material increase in the wind strength which became on the verge of being described as "survival conditions". Luke & Emma led most of the way round but with the wind increase came a direction change requiring a quick gybe after the last windward mark. Fortunately for the Singletons who were hot on their heels Luke & Emma went into submarine mode allowing the Singletons to gybe set blast and away across Lyme Bay to the leeward mark and take the win. Luke and Emma recovered to finish second with Andy & Allyson Jeffries taking third.

The last race saw a return to more manageable conditions. Andy & Allyson who have recently returned from the Moth Worlds ("the first race was my first sail in a foiling Moth" was the quote form Andy!) put the foils on the 800 and showed the fleet a clean pair of heels. Luke & Emma took second and Ella & James Moreland took third.

So after day one we had three different race winners, a close fight at the top, one broken pintle and one damaged crew: Debbie Clark was a casualty of race two and will being nursing black eye this week. We all wish her well.

After much partying and a fantastic barbeque organised by the great team at Lyme Regis Sailing club the crews retired for a much needed sleep. Sophie Singleton travelled back to Bristol for a wedding reception, got back at 2am and still managed to make to the start on Sunday morning. The sun was out and with the wind now having more south in it the fleet was set for two cracking races.

Race 1 started off in choppy conditions making power important for the first couple of laps before the wind picked up again. Luke & Emma lead the fleet around again with Andy & Allyson in hot pursuit, taking second and Ella & James sailing consistently to take another third. The next four boats were involved in a photo finish with Ralph & Sophie being to windward and perhaps attracting the eyes of the recorders first, taking fourth from Joe & Will, Chris & Nick and the Moss duo.

Now for the all-in handicap race with the other fleets which included seven top Fireballs, four Merlin Rockets (including class legends Jon Turner and Mike Calvert) and half dozen cruisers; so the start line was an interesting place to be. Several of the 800s got a clean start as the wind started to build to a force 4-5. The second leg of the "P" course was too tight for the 800s but it was relatively short meaning that the course and the wind was just about perfect for the 800s.

Andy & Allyson lead for a couple of laps with Luke & Emma trying everything to get past them. Ralph & Sophie (had woken up by now) were admiring the battle a little further back. A gybing dual at 20 knots as they went through the start/finish line (with Fireballs coming the other way) saw Luke & Emma finally take the lead which they held until the end. Andy & Allyson took second with the Singletons third.

On handicap the first three 800s took the Regatta with Matt Burge & Dan Scheiber taking fourth. Our hosts for the weekend, Cameron & Darrol Moss took fifth in their 800 and Derian (the country's leading lady fireball helm) & Andy Scott took sixth. Six out of the top ten were 800s with the Commodore commenting that the 800s looked magnificent as they blasted downwind across the bay in front of thousands of tourists enjoying the Lyme Regis carnival which will also host the Red Arrows this week.

So overall another convincing win for the McEwans, with the Jefferies in second and the Singletons in third. The top five boats were all male-female partnerships with a variety of set ups regarding the centre main sheeting which now allows for crew sheeting. A big thank you to the race team which set some great courses and to the club for the great hospitality. We wish them well for what should be a great Fireball European Championships.

The next event is the national championships which start on the 21st of September at Stokes Bay. Local whizz kid Steve Cockerill (current RS Aero world champion!) will be joining us. Steve is currently at the 2000 nationals which must mean he has done more championships this year than the rest of the fleet put together. At least he won't need to lean out this time! It looks like being a great event combined with the RS700s so look forward to seeing everyone there.

Emma McEwen has updated the overall Grand Prix results now that we have completed give of the seven events. These results are at www.rs800.org/index.asp?selection=ResultsDetail&Fleet=RS800&rid=3477

Next event is the UK Nationals at Stokes Bay SC. Still time to enter, read all about it at www.rs800.org/championships/cindex.asp?eid=1487

Overall Results:

PlaceSail NoNameHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Points
11220IrisLuke McEwenEmma McEwenRoyal Lymington Y C1‑22115
21228Whyte BiresAndy JeffereiesAllyson JeffriesEastbourne Soverign SC‑531228
31166Toucanfly TooRalph SingletonSophie Singleton 21‑54310
41216 Ella MorlandJames MorlandWarsash SC‑4433818
51202 Andrew BlundellMaddie FennerWarsash SC376‑8723
61194RobinJoe JoynerWill BroomLyme Regis SC65‑76623
7885 Chris FeibuschNick JerkinsHayling Island SC‑9685524
81188Standing on the edgeDaniel GoodmanDebbie ClarkDatchet Water SC7(DNF)49DNF33
91224 Fred LordLouise GaleCarsington SC88(DNC)10935
101062MinionsCameron MossDarrol MossLyme Regis SC(DNF)DNCDNF7437
111011Norfolk & ChanceJames FullerMax HelstonLyme Regis SC10(DNF)9111040
121219Chalida VijitvongthongPeter BartonChris FeibuschLymington Town SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC52