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Ocean Elements 2018

JP Watersports RS200 Scottish Championship at East Lothian Yacht Club

by Peter Collings 5 Jun 13:05 BST
JP Watersports RS200 Scottish Championship at East Lothian © Derek Braid / www.braidimage.co.uk

After a hectic few weeks which saw the first traveller event in Largs followed by a strong Scottish turnout at the Eurocup in Northern Ireland there were more than a few tired sailors lining the beach in North Berwick for the 2019 Scottish Champs. Defending Scottish champ (me), winners of the Largs traveller Brendan and Amy, local heroes Fiona and Liz, and rising stars Ilson and Laura were all there, and the forecast was for light to moderate southerly winds all weekend.

Unfortunately the breeze decided to shut off just as we hit the water, and PRO Ben Wilcox was left tearing his hair out trying to set a fair course as the fleet wallowed on the strengthening tide, doing what we could to avoid being swept away towards the Bass Rock. Eventually one race went ahead, with a leading group of Brendan, Fiona and myself trading places as patches of pressure moved slowly down the course.

With just one leg to go, Brendan narrowly led from me, with a slightly bigger gap back to Fiona, who had a comfortable lead over the rest of the fleet. As we rounded the spreader, the breeze died to almost nothing, with the tide sweeping Brendan and me way to the left of the course. When it eventually filled back in, having shifted 40 degrees to the right, the rest of the fleet were well-positioned to sail hotter angles underneath us to the gate and finish, with Fiona commandingly in front of llson, followed by Martin Faulkner, then Caitlin Ross.

The forecast for the Sunday was breezy, and the sailors took the opportunity to stuff ourselves at the excellent Greek buffet on Saturday night. The first race was another patchy affair. Brendan and Fiona led around the top mark, but building pressure from behind swept the rest of the fleet right back into the mix at the leeward gate. And also what seemed like sixty RS400s. From the ensuing carnage, Fiona came out the cleanest, followed by Ilson, then Caitlin. With the breeze building more and more, Brendan, Caitlin and I had an intense battle for third place, which wasn't decided in Brendan's favour until the final short leg to the finish.

The breeze had well and truly arrived for the third race, gusts of up to 25 knots and a building chop making the upwinds a slog, but the downwinds an absolute joy, with boatspeeds of over 14 knots. This time Ilson was quickest, followed by the ever-consistent Fiona. Andy McKeown and Pip Benson were clearly enjoying the heavier conditions, finishing third.

The fourth race saw more of the same, but after an already long day on the water, tiredness was starting to creep in. Andy and Fiona were the leaders around the windward mark, and the only boats from the leading group to successfully negotiate an extremely hairy gybe, which left Martin, Brendan and Ilson all swimming.

In the meantime, I was nursing a bathtub around the course, as my slot gasket had decided to make a break for freedom while I was distracted keeping the boat upright. When Fiona capsized approaching the leeward gate at the end of the second lap, Andy just had to avoid mistakes to take the bullet. Fiona finished a distant second, and Brendan clawed his way back to third.

The final race of the event saw a thinned-out fleet racing in slightly lighter winds. I had called it a day by this point so don't know the details, but the result was another Ilson bullet, followed by Fiona, then Brendan. This left the final result of the event down to a tiebreak between Fiona/Liz and Ilson/Laura, with Ilson just shading the win by virtue of having won the last race. Brendan/Clara finished off the podium in third.

Many thanks to everyone involved with the organisation of the event, and also to our generous sponsors, JP Watersports and Sea Spray Yacht Charters.

The next event is at Largo Bay on the 22nd and 23rd of June.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Net
11642John WilsonLaura GloverEast Lothian YC221(5)16
2600Fiona RiggLiz CoplandEast Lothian YC11(2)226
3806Brendan LynchClara ZalabardoEdinburgh University(5)353314
4623Andy McKeownPip BensonLoch Earn(DNF)631616
5930Martin FaulknerBill ForsytheLargs SC3(8)64518
6691Kate‑Lynn RossEmily SmithAnnandale SC44(7)6418
71120Peter CollingsAmy ForbesCastle Semple SC6547(DNC)22
8265Ian NichollsGareth OwenLargs SC(DNF)7DNCDNCDNC37
91650Ronnie MillarTor MillarRoyal Forth YC(DNC)(DNF)(DNF)(DNF)(DNF)40

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