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Crewing To Win by Saskia Clark
Crewing To Win by Saskia Clark

RS200 Under 21 Open at Waldringfield Sailing Club

by Cara Bland 2 Jul 2019 06:33 BST 30 June 2019

As a part of the annual Waldringfield Cadet Open this year, the under 21 RS200 sailors were invited to take part in a short series of four races on Sunday. This was the first time that the RS fleet had been involved since previously the invitation went to the Lasers Radials.

Since the RS200 fleet was launched at WSC three years ago, we have seen a rapid growth in the class, particularly among teenagers transitioning out of Cadets, many of who prefer to sail a double hander. Post exam commitments meant only five boats lined up on Sunday morning. Conditions were ideal - sunny and warm with a light breeze filling in from the North East, which gradually built throughout the day. Amongst the five boats we were lucky to have two travellers; Matt Taylor and Sam Fortmann which made the racing even more competitive and exciting.

Race officer, Neil Collingridge's plan was to put in one race in the morning, break for lunch and then have three races, back to back, in in the afternoon to take advantage of a late afternoon high tide. The morning race began at The Rocks, with a beat up to the windward near Galleons. The boats remained fairly close up the first beat which allowed for many boat on boat tactics however once downwind the fleet began to separate, resulting in a tight battle between Matt Taylor and Cara Bland (1247) and Hattie Collingridge and Katie Spark (1663) exchanging the lead a couple of times. Each boat chose very different approaches to their downwind angles, however it was Matt and Cara who eventually prevailed, followed by Hattie and Katie with three other boats following.

After a quick lunch break, the sea breeze had built and with the stronger wind, the lead boats tended to be those most successful at getting their 200 onto the plane, thus gaining maximum speed downwind. Angus Collingridge and Kate White (1638) made consistently impressive starts throughout the afternoon, which meant they were able to challenge the top three boats. However, it was Hattie and Katie who took the win in race 2 helped by their incredibly fast downwind boat speed, shortly followed by Matt and Cara and the fast improving Archie Penn and Alex Eaton (1179).

In races 3 and 4, Archie and Alex, not a regular pairing, finally got the measure of the zigzag course, which cut though the Cadet fleet (everyone behaving and respecting each other though) adding another element to the racing. Despite their lead being threatened constantly by Hattie and Katie, two bullets from Archie and Alex meant that at the close, the top three boats where all left on five points each.

With Archie's two wins, he won the whole event, while for Hattie and Katie and Matt and Cara, the final race was the decider which saw Hattie prevail in second and whist Matt came in third. Despite a couple of capsizes, Sam Fortmann and Lucie Nunn (1182) supplied Angus and Kate with tough competition with Angus eventually securing fourth and Sam in fifth.

Overall, a good day of racing which was especially exciting for all of the spectators - (editor's note: race 4 when the wind got up and the river was full was particularly memorable to those looking on from RIBs and launches). We all look forward to more RS200's joining the fun next year. Thank you to both Neil Pride and Anglia Factors for sponsoring the event and for all of the generous prizes.

The event demonstrated that the RS200s can, with some simple course adjustments, co-exist quite happily on the same pitch as the Cadets and we look forwards to the next occasion - the eagerly awaited Waldringfield Cadet Week where youth RS200s (defined for Cadet Week as sailors in school year 13 (or equivalent) during academic year 2018/19) will be out for some great racing. Dates are 28 August to 1 September inclusive. Huge fun!

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