Please select your home edition
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - LEADERBOARD
Product Feature

RS500 UK National Championship at Lymington Town Sailing Club

by Peter Curtis 12 Jun 2019 12:39 BST 8 - 9 June 2019
RS500 National Championship at Lymington Town Sailing Club © Sportography

It's a family affair-air, it's a family affair*. For a reasonably high performance dinghy the RS500 has a very high proportion of family teams competing in it, be they partners, parent/child or siblings. The Volvo Noble Marine national championships held at Lymington Town Sailing Club 8-9 June, emphasised this aspect of the fleet, with eight of the 11 teams having a shared surname. Quite why this should be so is not at all clear..., but to the report proper.

The forecast for Saturday was distressingly accurate, falling into the "don't be ridiculous" category. On shore at Lymington, while boats were being prepared it didn't seem too bad, but the reports from out in the Solent were high, and steadily getting higher. The RO had told us that the rescue crews were happy to run racing if the wind was average 22-23 and gusting 27-28 knots. By the time it was canned for the day, the wind was up at the 27-28, gusting 35 level, and actually climbed further from there. So day one was mostly about catching up with friends, wandering around Lymington, having a snooze etc. A few of us even checked and compared rig settings! Your correspondent was starting to feel victimised by the wind, having achieved only one race from six at the previous RS500 event at Lake Como for lack of wind (36 hours driving for one race!), but we go to such lovely places and hang out with such lovely people...

The evening saw the fabulous multli-fleet RS party, including some speeches to mark Heather Chipperfield's retirement from class association secretary. Many thanks Heather, for all the fabulous work you have put in over the years. It's just a shame the party came with a 0930hrs launch time for Sunday morning! Kudos to Tim and Heather Wilkins for doing the party, getting the 1915hrs ferry back from Lymington to Yarmouth, and then sailing their RS500 back across the Solent for the racing (not being able to sail across during the day on Saturday had significantly altered their plans!).

So Sunday was rather light for most of the day, with wind and tide running together from the West. This placed an emphasis on beating out to the right of the course to get into slacker water, and then trying to judge when to tack out into the current. So the strategy was set for all four races, with only slight variations. Race one saw the fleet all start at the starboard end of the line and tack off as soon as we could. It was all about getting a clear wind lane and concentrating hard on boat speed. Then when you thought you were on the lay-line, compensating for the tide, go on at least another 100m (and you still would be undercooking it!). Fast out of the blocks were Tim and Heather Wilkins, who seemed quite chipper considering their early morning start, rounding the first mark in the lead. Also showing good boat speed were Nick and Fanny Rogers, having a chartered boat they had sailed for the first time on Friday. Third at the top mark was Mike Saul, sailing with John Hobson and probably carrying the top weight of the day, which was not an advantage in those conditions. The downwind legs were mostly about staying in the current and trying to judge when to gybe and be carried down to the mark. The first downwind mark saw the RS500s tangling with RS700s and RS800s, which certainly didn't work out for a couple of us. The race was shortened to two laps, with Tim and Heather just holding off Nick and Fanny. Meanwhile, Mike Saul missed seeing the S flag, which allowed Peter and James Curtis to just sneak into third ahead of him.

The wind was starting to clock left a bit, which encouraged three of the fleet to try a port tack start in race two. Nick and Fanny judged it perfectly, got the best start and took a fairly comfortable win. Tim and Heather also got away and were not troubled in second. Top four at the first mark was completed by Mike/John and Michiel and Hilde Geerling. Peter and James discovered just how slow some weed on the centreboard could be on lap one, and Michiel and Hilde befell the same fate on lap three. Having cleared the weed, Peter and James got a shift on and just managed to roll Mike and John at the final windward mark and hold on down the run for third.

By race three the wind had clocked even further left and was strong enough to be trapezing upwind most of the time (woohoo!). The whole fleet decided to start on port tack at the port end, following the example of the other fleets on our start line. Nick and Fanny were a bit too keen and received the only individual recall of the whole event. With the breeze getting a little more patchy the hunt was on for pressure, which added to the strategic priority of getting into slack water, seeing many of the front runners putting in little hitch tacks for pressure and shifts (real or imagined). Tim and Heather rounded the top mark first with Peter and James in second. Behind them, Nick and Fanny realised late they wouldn't make the mark and had to double tack against the tide, along with Pete and Karen Matthews, and Michiel and Hilde. What had looked to be a very bunched up top of the fleet was suddenly comfortable for the top two. Peter and James briefly threatened Tim and Heather, but they eventually pulled away for the win. Nick and Fanny broke clear in third, but some judicious covering by Peter and James prevented them getting too close, and Mike and John took their third fourth.

For race four the wind was threatening to be interesting, up another couple of knots. Nick and Fanny needed to win for the championship, while Tim and Heather just needed to beat them. While being very port biased again, Tim decided to start on starboard towards the port end of the line. This forced Peter and James to tack off left, which pushed them into the best of the pressure. Meanwhile, Nick and Fanny had made a good port tack start and were showing excellent upwind speed. Sean and Ted Ward also had their best start and first beat of the day and rounded in first, followed by Michiel and Hilde and Nick and Fanny. The first run bunched up the top five, and by the end of the second beat Nick and Fanny had taken the lead, with Peter and James second and Tim and Heather third, but not really close enough to threaten Peter and James. Nick and Fanny had not realised there was a discard at four races and believed they needed to keep Tim and Heather in third, so they were scrupulous in keeping their wind shadow away from Peter and James and maintaining the separations. Even so, Peter and James picked up some weed on the last beat, letting Tim and Heather get uncomfortably close. They tried hotting up the last run to see if they could break through, but it was not quite windy enough to work for them, and positions were maintained.

Nick and Fanny took the title, on equal points with Tim and Heather and by dint of having the better result in the last race. Peter and James took the final podium position. It was a shame we couldn't have had more variety in conditions for a national championships, but such are the joys of sailing. Many thanks to Lymington Town for making the best of the challenging conditions and the fabulous organisation ashore.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st768Nick RogersFanny RogersRoyal Lymington Yacht Club21‑314
2nd625Tim WilkinsHeather WilkinsGurnard SC121‑34
3rd659Peter CurtisJames CurtisGrafham Water SC‑33227
4th1040Mike SaulJohn HobsonYorkshire Dales SC444(DNC)12
5th1066Michiel GeerlingHilde GeerlingLymington Town SC‑555414
6th709Pete matthewsKarenLancing SC676‑819
7th508Ian MairsAbi CampbellParkstone YC‑969520
8th988Sean WardTed WardLymington Town SC‑888622
9th566Hugh MehtaDave JonesShoreham SC7107(DNC)24
10th511Peter LockSusan LockSlaughden SC10‑1111728
11th1037Peter FusseyJack FusseyLancing SC‑11910928
12th1563Eric Gdalia CNW(DNC)DNCDNCDNC39

Related Articles

RS Classes Strava Distance Challenge concludes
27,087km logged by RS classes, with the 200s winning overall Wow it is clear to see some people have become dedicated Strava users in the past week and have been putting some serious miles down on their bikes, boats or shoes. Posted on 26 May
RS Classes Strava Distance Challenge begins
Fundraising for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation As a sailing community, we are currently limited by the amount of competition we have, there is virtual racing but this can become repetitive over time. Posted on 17 May
RS Sailing Newsletter
Still open and ready to make a splash on the day you get back on the water! The last few weeks have been unprecedented for RS Sailing. We wanted to let you know that we are still open and we're ready to make a splash on your day if you are pining to get back out on the water! Posted on 2 Apr
In conversation with Jon Partridge
From Swallows & Amazons to RS Sailing's co-MD From Swallows & Amazons style sailing on the Norfolk Broads to become the co-Managing Director of RS Sailing, Jon Partridge has risen through the ranks and is deeply passionate about sailing, and in particular the RS Feva class. Posted on 19 Mar
Win £250 at the RS End of Seasons Regatta!
Simply enter online by 2359hrs on Tuesday 29 October to be part of the draw The RS Class Association and Rutland SC invite all RS100s, RS200s, RS300s, RS400s, RS500s, RS600s, RS800s and RS Vareos to the RS End of Seasons Regatta 2-3 November. Posted on 24 Oct 2019
2019 RS500 World Championship at Lake Lipno
Peter and James Curtis win in the Czech Republic While the home nation comprised the biggest contingent, there were 11 nations represented, with the Dutch providing the second largest grouping, and representatives from as far afield as the USA and Russia. Posted on 25 Aug 2019
RS Summer Regatta at Lymington
A massive event with 170 sailors in 6 fleets Lymington Town SC was the host club for the RS Summer Regatta, a massive event with 170 sailors in six fleets, which included the RS500 UK National Championship. Posted on 11 Jun 2019
RS500 Eurocup Series 2018 results now available
Sixty teams compete from 10 nations across 3 events Below are the final results for the 2018 RS500 Eurocup Series, which comprised with YC Carnac, Worlds at RS Games, Weymouth and Colico, Lake Como. The results include junior (J) and all girls (F) ranking. With thanks to Mario Rossi for doing the sums. Posted on 4 Dec 2018
RS End of Season Regatta at Rutland
Names recorded for the hall of fame A fabulous weekend of racing was had at Rutland: a very windy pursuit Saturday, great Saturday night gathering, then calmer fleet Sunday. Posted on 7 Nov 2018
RS500 Dutch Nationals at Aquavitesse
25 boats race in Bruinisse 25 boats entered the Dutch National Championships for the RS500 class on 15th/16th September at Aquavitesse in Bruinisse, just south of Rotterdam. Posted on 2 Oct 2018