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RS700 SnetFest 3 at Snettisham Beach Sailing Club

by Robbie Bell 8 May 16:36 BST 4-5 May 2019

Despite spending several days searching online for a favourable weather forecast all bets were off for anything less than 20kts and anything more than 10 degrees.

We're lucky in that we have some hardy sailors in the RS700 fleet and it was good to see travellers from far and wide rolling up to Snettisham Beach SC for the third instalment of SnetFest and round one of this year's RS700 Rooster National Tour.

Some might say those arriving on Friday were keen, others might say they forgot to check Saturday's start time, however those that were keen managed a shakedown sail on Friday evening in a shifty North Easterly of the 20 knot variety. Some good sailing was had by those that went afloat, enabling those that didn't to hear all about it in the bar afterwards.

For those who had taken up the free camping offer there may have been one or two regrets, in particular during the night when the need to batten the hatches and secure the canvas accommodation to large heavy objects in an increasing breeze became the priority.

Saturday morning saw more competitors arriving to support the event, but as the hail storms rolled through and the gusts peaked at over 40 knots there wasn't much in the way of haste for getting boats rigged and it was becoming apparent that Day One of the tour event was unlikely to see any sailing. This was confirmed and then some, as the tide arrived 30 minutes early accompanied by a big bad breaking Northerly swell that was more akin to big Wednesday that SnetFest Saturday. With the bar beckoning the sailors beat a hasty retreat to the club to enjoy good food, music, and one or two beers. Sunday racing was scheduled for 7am so most headed for an early night to ensure maximum beauty sleep and to find more heavy objects for the tents to be tied to.

The Race Committee had the course set by 0630hrs, yes that's 06:30am! Guy Playford and his team of volunteers did a sterling job in tricky conditions. The breeze had dropped a bit overnight, but was still blowing 25 knots and the swell from the previous day was still pounding the shore, but it was sailing rather than surfing weather so the fleet readied for action, boats were rigged and launched and racing got under way. It wasn't long before several of the sailors were sampling the water temperature (it was cold, believe me) and offering the safety crews an opportunity to test their powerboat handling skills.

To cut a long story short there was some epic sailing in big breaking waves, some spectacular capsizes including two particularly impressive pitch poles, one of which saw the Royal Navy's Richard Wadsworth finish the race with two spinnakers, a few bent fittings and a missing lower shroud. He still came third in that race, sailing across the line bare poles reminiscent of Jack Sparrow stepping off his sinking ship onto the dock. Colin Dacey managed the conditions well, finishing all three races, but it was Theo Galyer who starred collecting a trio of bullets for his efforts and taking home the tour win. Colin claimed second and Robbie Bell third, with young gun Jack Napolitano finishing 4th.

Hats off to everyone who came along despite the forecast and for getting afloat and giving it a go in some of the most testing conditions we've seen in recent years. A great effort especially by those who aren't used to sea sailing. Huge thanks to Snettisham Beach Sailing Club and all of the volunteers who kept us fed, watered and braved the cold to keep us safe and run the racing. Thanks also to Rooster, our tour sponsor. See you all at the next one in Lymington on 8-9 June. More information here.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st1063Theo GalyerHayling Island S.C.1113
2nd1027Colin DaceySnettisham Beach S.C.2338
3rd875Robbie BellSnettisham Beach S.C.DNF4215
4th860Jack NapolitanoSnettisham Beach S.C.DNF2DNC22
5th720Richard WadsworthStokes Bay S.C./ RNSA3DNCDNC25
6th801Stephen CarrBrightlingsea S.C.DSQDNCDNC31
6th982Roland SmithQueen Mary S.C.DNFDNCDNC31
6th1046Miles RoebuckOxford S.C.DNFDNCDNC31
9th762Adrian HoweOxford S.C.DNCDNCDNC33
9th1023Ian NolanSnettisham Beach S.C.DNCDNCDNC33

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