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RS800 European Championship at Circolo Vela Torbole - Day 1

by Emma McEwen 23 Jul 2019 18:17 BST
RS700 and RS800 fleets launch on day 1 of the European Championship at Garda © Jamie Gettings

Anticipation and excitement have been building for months as the RS800 fleet returns to Garda for the first time in three years for their European Championship this week. For those who competed in 2016 in Torbole, memories of a near-perfect regatta might be hard to live up to but few sailors have decided it worth risking missing out and the fleet has returned with almost double the number of boats.

Certainly this will be one of the largest European Championships in a decade. As the class celebrates its 20th Anniversary it is fantastic to see many new young teams emerging and a number of class veterans making a comeback.

The field includes the current UK and French National Champions, the current European Champion helm, the Waszp World Champion, the 420 Women's World Champion crew, International 14 World Champion crew, numerous previous RS800 National and European Champions and members of the British Olympic sailing team.

The weekend saw crews weary from the long hot drive initially a little phased by a modicum of chaos in the dinghy park on arrival, soon back smiling again after an exhilarating shake down sail in a perfect Ora afternoon breeze. It was hard to find anyone when they returned to shore who hadn't just had "the best sail this year". Wall to wall sunshine and 15-20 knots was broken at the end of Sunday by a big Garda thunderstorm catching a few boats out of the water for maybe a little too much excitement but all got safely home.

It hasn't taken the fleet long to migrate to their favourite hang-outs in town with Winds Bar bursting at the seams on Saturday night with the (unnecessary) excuses to celebrate ex-class chairman Chris Feibusch's significant birthday and Rory Hunter's silver medal at the Waszp Europeans that day. The sailors were also dazzled by an incredible fireworks display off the waterfront providing a spectacular welcome back to beautiful Torbole.

Monday and day one of racing dawned with a moderate Peler (Northerly) wind. By the time of the competitor briefing the Southerly Ora had started to establish itself and everyone was itching to get out of the hot dinghy park and on to the water and shake off their pre-race nerves.

Race One started in about 12 knots once the race team had let the RS400s get well clear on to their outer-loop of the shared course. The RS800 fleet seemed undecided about which side of the course would pay and the first beat saw an even spread from left to right. Half way up the beat it became apparent right was where the breeze was and the gains would be made.

First round the windward mark were 49erFX team Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton who straight-set towards the right and paid the price as the following boats gybed off into the bigger breeze on the left of the run. It was Tim Gratton and Fiona Hampshire who capitalised most on this and took the first win of the Championship. Having a storming race and finishing close behind were James Penty and Eddie Grayson who overtook Frances and Tom Partington in the final 200m.

Talking about his European Championship debut, James Penty admitted it had been a tough year that had included a month in hospital following major surgery and he was delighted that the time him and life-long friend Eddie had put in to training over the Winter seemed to be paying off. Megan and Steph recovered well from their first run to take fourth.

By race two everyone had figured right was the way to go upwind and the committee boat end of the line was predictably busy. The wind had built to a solid 15 knots reaching 20 knots over by the Riva cliffs. It was Luke McEwen sailing with Milly Boyle (on a fast learning curve on her day three in an asymmetric dinghy) who won the committee boat end and tacked off as soon as they could.

Perhaps fuelled by a rather disastrous first race they showed solid boat speed to emerge first at the windward mark and never looked challenged for the rest of the race as they pulled away from the fleet to take the win. Behind them Joe Joyner and Will Broom relished the stronger breeze to overtake Stevie Wilson and Rory Hunter to take second.

There weren't many opportunities in this race for place changing as everyone demonstrated good boat speed and few made mistakes but Becky Diamond and Ed Fitzgerald finished the day on a high by pulling up to fourth place.

There has been much speculation about who will be the on-form teams this week and after day one the Championship looks wide open. Only Stevie and Rory have two results in the top five; not too shabby given that Stevie last raced an RS800 in 2012 and the pairing had not managed to get any pre-race practice in as RS Sailing's Stevie helped get everybody else's boats fixed and on the water over the weekend.

In the evening Circolo Vela Torbole provided an awesome buffet with free-flowing local wines for the 200 RS sailors and friends to enjoy, sat outside in balmy conditions as the Ora gently faded for the day.

Results after day 1:

PosSail NoHelm - Crew - ClubR1R2Pts
1GBR 1215Steve Wilson ‑ Rory Hunter ‑ tbc538
2GBR 1234Frances Partington ‑ Tom Partington ‑ HISC3710
3GBR 1203Tim Gratton ‑ Fiona Hampshire ‑ St Catharine's College SC11011
4GBR 1194Joe Joyner ‑ Will Broom ‑ Lyme Regis SC14216
5GBR 961Megan Brickwood ‑ Stephanie Orton ‑ Chichester YC12416
6GBR 1144Tom Morris ‑ Guy Fillmore ‑ HISC8816
7GBR 1207Phil Walker ‑ John Mather ‑ HISC11617
8GBR 1171James Penty ‑ Eddie Grayson ‑ Beaver SC21618
9GBR 1131Rebecca Diamond ‑ Ed Fitzgerald ‑ HISC41418
10GBR 1222Paul Jenkins ‑ Peter Jenkins ‑ Eastbourne Sovereign SC19524
11GBR 1231Hugh Shone ‑ Hannah Tattersall ‑ Swanage SC131124
12GBR 1064Chris J Haworth ‑ Stuart Aston ‑ Bristol Corinthian YC61925
13FRA 1236Gilles Peeters ‑ Heloise Baize ‑ SN Larmor Plage101727
14GBR 1124Robert Gullan ‑ Calum Healey ‑ HISC72229
15GBR 1187Geoff Carveth ‑ Lesley Dhonau ‑ Warsash SC171229
16GBR 1220Luke McEwen ‑ Milly Boyle ‑ Royal Lymington YC32133
17GBR 1225Stephen Cockerill ‑ Sarah Cockerill ‑ Stokes Bay SC92635
18GBR 1188Daniel Goodman ‑ Debbie Clark ‑ Stokes Bay SC152136
19GBR 1232Cameron Moss ‑ Darrol Moss ‑ Lyme Regis SC162036
20GBR 1145Peter Bromley ‑ Chris Doe ‑ Itchenor SC181836
21GBR 1204Martin Orton ‑ Ian Brooks ‑ Chichester YC291544
22GBR 1126George Smith ‑ Alice Crick ‑ Bough Beech SC212445
23GBR 1121Ben Clegg ‑ Abi Embser‑Kay ‑ Brightlingsea SC341347
24GBR 1139Eddie Bridle ‑ Ed Gibbons ‑ Brightlingsea SC203050
25GBR 1228Andy Jeffries ‑ Allyson Jeffries ‑ Eastbourne Sovereign SCocs952
26GBR 1043Christopher Dodd ‑ Bryony Meakins ‑ Rutland Water SC242953
27GBR 1195Graham Williamson ‑ Jeremy Williamson ‑ HISC282553
28GBR 834Chris Matthews ‑ Ali Hinds ‑ Brightlingsea SC302757
29GBR 1140John McKelvie ‑ David Jessop ‑ SLYC/Schnellwurst253358
30GBR 1241Stephen Brown ‑ Phil Bairstow ‑ Ullswater YC312859
31GBR 1198Alex Benfield ‑ Nick Ireland ‑ Stokes Bay SC263561
32GBR 1200Richard Smith ‑ Ellie Smith ‑ Wilsonian SC22ufd65
33NED 878Tjeerd van Rij ‑ Matthijs de Langen ‑ KWV de Kaag333265
34GBR 885Chris Feibusch ‑ Nick Jerkins ‑ HISCdns2366
35GBR 1224Fred Lord ‑ Louise Gale ‑ Carsington SC23dns66
36GBR 1115Stuart Keegan ‑ Sophie Johnston ‑ Derwent Reservoir SC383169
37GBR 1238Ciaran Hurney ‑ Mel Kwan ‑ Oxford SC353469
38GBR 1057Mark Oakey ‑ Emily Robertson ‑ Itchenor SC27dns70
39FRA 1105Francois Bergasse ‑ Johanne Ulrich ‑ ACTV363773
40FRA 1101Alexandre Emanuel ‑ Anne Fromentoux ‑ ACTV373875
41GBR 913Adrian Howe ‑ Fenella Williams ‑ Oxford SCdns3679
42SUI 1180Uwe Hoffmann ‑ Julius Haffmann ‑ SCHdnf3982

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