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RS800 Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Ralph Singleton 10 Oct 2017 13:19 BST 7-8 October 2017
RS800 Inlands at Grafham Water © Tim Olin /

Just two weeks after finishing the Nationals at Stokes Bay the RS800 fleet convened for the 2017 Inland Championships at Grafham Water SC. This was the sixth and penultimate event in the Magic Marine Grand Prix Series.

Having won the Nationals convincingly with Bill Vennis-Ozanne, Chris Rashley rocked up with current 49er World Champion Dylan Fletcher. The rest of the fleet were excited by the prospect of trying to gain a victory over these sailing legends. A dull but moderately windy morning greeted the fleet and with another superstar race team in the form Peter and Sue Saxton the competitors were set for a great weekend.

The first race saw the last two national champions Luke and Emma McEwen and Chris Rashley at the front of the fleet hotly pursued by Tim Gratton and Fiona Hampshire (who also won two races at the Nationals). Ella and James Moreland,who also enjoy a blow, were also in good form taking forth behind race winner Chris Rashley.

Your correspondent and "old man" of the fleet committed a school boy error, not reading the sailing instruction which stated a 3-2-1 start sequence (it is starting to get cold!) so decided to start two minutes behind the fleet but mangled to get back to 9th after three very quick laps.

Race two followed a very similar pattern with Chris and Luke leading the way but this time with Andrew and Maddy Fenner taking an excellent third. This time your correspondent who was lying 4/5th at the time and should have known better, got tangled up with four RS400s who were sailing on the same course and took an early bath before almost being garrotted on the last gybe by another RS800. Not a good day so far!

The last race of the day again saw another 1-2 from the leaders but this time with Martin Orton and Ian Brooks taking 3rd. Ella and James who had problems making the finish line (was that a swim for Ella as well?) crossed the line in 3rd but were over the line on a U flag start and so were unfortunately disqualified. So overnight the sailing rock stars Chris and Dylan were leading from Luke and Emma, with Martin and Ian in third.

Sunday was always forecast to be a lighter affair and so it turned out to be. The first race was a snakes and ladders race with Joe and Hannah Joyner leading round the first mark, eventually to finish 3rd, Ralph and Sophie Singleton leading after lap two, but finishing 5th, Luke and Emma sailing consistently for another 2nd, but yet again Chris and Dylan this time just sneaked through to take their fourth bullet.

Race five saw Chris and Dylan and the Singletons again try a port tack flier, as they had both done in race four. After ducking the whole fleet (that didn't feel good!) they headed off into some more favourable breeze on the right hand side and led round the first mark and for the rest of the race. Mary Rook and Hugh Brayshaw took third. After finishing second in race five the Singletons were desperate for one final bash at beating Chris and Dylan, the event winners with a race to spare.

The final race was again very light and very shifty. Chris and Dylan very kindly treated the fleet to another master class going up the first beat sailing very smoothly in the light airs closely followed by the Singleton. The Singletons gybed into some slightly better breeze to keep the pressure on and led round the leeward mark. Another shifty beat followed but with the Singletons holding the pack at bay. Down the last run the Singletons and Chris and Dylan gybed off into what they thought was better breeze. Then the wind started to fill in from behind and from the right. The Singletons broke cover to pick up the new breeze which thankfully also headed leaving the them room to sail over Chris and Dylan and gybe for the finish. Even then it wasn't over as Chris sailed on before gybing and approached the line at a tighter but faster angle. BANG the gun went and the Singletons had just hung on to claim the first win of the weekend over the Rashley / Fletcher combo.

So overall Chris and Dylan won comfortably with 5 bullets from the McEwens in second (with four 2nds). Your correspondent used his 50 plus years of river and lake sailing experience with his "butter would melt in her mouth" daughter (thanks to previous class Chairman Chris Feibuch for that quote) to sneak third place from Tim Gratton and Fiona Hampshire on count back as a result of the last race win.

A big thank you Grafham Water SC and particularly to the Saxton race team who turned the races round quicker than son Ben sails his Foiling Nacra 17!

So with young rock stars and old rockers at the front of the fleet the RS800 class is an exciting place to be particularly with the relatively new rule that allows the crew to take the mainsheet. The next event is the End of Seasons at Queen Mary SC on the 11-12 November when the RS800s will be looking to retain their pursuit race dominance form last year's event at Rutland. Don't forget the big RS party on the Saturday of this event. The RS800 has a tradition that third place writes the race report. Your correspondent has now finished third in five of his last seven Magic Marine Grand Prix events and is starting to suffer from repetitive strain injury form all the typing so could someone else please finish third at Queen Mary!

End of Season Championship online entry open at

The RS800 2018 Nationals will be held at the RS Games at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on 16-19 August 2018.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1207Chris RashleyDylan FletcherStokes Bay SC11111‑25
2nd1220Luke McEwenEmma McEwenRoyal Lymington SC2222‑8614
3rd1166Ralph SingletonSophie SingletonDatchet Water SC9‑13452121
4th1203Tim GrattonFiona HampshireSt Catharine's College SC35‑945421
5th1204Martin OrtonIan BrooksChichester YC5‑7366727
6th1050Joe JoynerHannah JoynerLyme Regis SC88534‑1028
7th1202Andrew BlundellMaddie FennerWarsash SC6379‑10530
8th1216Ella MorlandJames MorlandWarsash SC44(DSQ)812937
9th1043Chris DoddBryony MeakinsRutland Water SC‑1166711838
10th1158Edward NorburyCharlie HutchingsWarsash SC‑131210117343
11th1087Tim PalmerHenry NelsonEastbourne Sovereign SC10108‑1391148
12th1156Mary RookHugh BrayshawWeston SC1211(DNC)123DNC53
13th7Derek BachananElaine BachananOxford SC79(DNC)1013DNC54
14th913Adrian HoweLiberty OldhamOxford SC(DNF)DNSDNFDNCDNCDNC75

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