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Ocean Elements 2018
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Asymmetric Sailing by Andy Rice
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RS200 Scottish Championship at East Lothian Yacht Club

by Peter Collins 15 Jun 2018 06:20 BST 2-3 June 2018

In spite of a less-than-exciting forecast for the second Scottish traveller of the year, thirteen RS200s from all over the country made the trip across to North Berwick. Martin's car even came back from the dead to make sure he got there in time to be greeted with a wall of fog and very little breeze. That didn't stop Brendan and Matt from being rigged several hours before the scheduled launch time, and sprinting into the water as soon as the breeze began to fill and the boats were released.

As the sun began to burn through the fog, racing got underway in light easterlies on a flood tide. The general consensus from the fleet was to sail hard right to get out of the worst of the tide, and some aggressive sailing was needed to find a clear lane to the windward. While everyone was fighting on the right, Bess Homer was working the left hand side, and whether it was shifts, pressure, clear air, or just raw boatspeed, crossed the fleet to round the top mark in first, and in spite of my best efforts, comfortably held on for the win.

The second race had similar conditions, but a congested start at the committee boat end meant that Bess couldn't pull off a repeat of her first race. Instead, Clara and I rounded the top mark in a tight battle for first with James Morson. We were so caught up in the fight with each other that Brendan and Matt were able to sail around us both in better pressure, and Fiona and Liz also put themselves right in the mix. Once Brendan took the lead, there was no catching him, as he showed off his fleet management skills to lead home. Clara and I held on to second, and Fiona was third.

Going into the final race of the day Brendan and Matt were leading on countback, with a 3rd and a 1st. Clara and I were second, with two 2nd places, and Fiona and Liz were 3rd, with a 5th and a 3rd. The wind was still a light easterly, and the start went away on the dying stages of the flood tide. We were shut out at the start by a starboard wall, and while everyone else headed right, as in the last races, we were forced to the left hand side of the beat to find a lane, only to be dug out of our hole by a lucky left shift, which gave us a solid lead over the fleet at the top mark. From there, we sailed as conservative a race as we could against the downwind speed of Fiona and Liz, just about holding them off to take the bullet. Brendan had to fight his way back through the field to take 5th, meaning that overnight, Clara and I were leading the event with 5 points, Brendan and Matt were 2nd with 9 points, and Fiona and Liz were 3rd with 10 points, and with the discard yet to kick in, the event was still wide open.

Unfortunately, the Sunday started much as the Saturday had, with thick fog and not much breeze. With a time limit of 3PM, all of the sailors were anxiously watching the clock, and when a tenuous bit of pressure finally started to set in at 1PM, the boats were released and sent to the west to try and catch a stable patch. Although there were some promising moments, the breeze never settled, and after just over an hour of waiting, the inevitable N over A was flown. Within minutes, there was a beautiful, steady breeze flowing over the race course, much to Brendan and Matt's despair, but I wasn't going to turn down any lucky breaks!

The next event is at Royal Findhorn on the 14th and 15th of June.

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