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RS200 Sprints at Helensburgh

by Peter Collings 14 Oct 17:57 BST 12-13 October 2019
A typical exciting leeward mark rounding during the RS200 Sprints at Helensburgh © Helensburgh SC

The Helensburgh Sprints were once again the season finale for the Scottish RS200 tour. Brendan Lynch's performances earlier in the season had left him in a commanding position in the series ahead of John Ilson/Laura Glover. A win for Ilson would see him top the tour, any other result and victory would go to Brendan.

Twelve boats made their way to the banks of a very glassy-looking Clyde, but by the time boats had been unpacked and spinnaker halyards rescued from masts a nice force 3-4 had set in from the south-west, and racing got under way as planned. With a short beat and a committee boat bias a good start was going to be crucial, and Ilson came out best, leaving the rest of the pack scrapping behind him. Martin Faulkner/Bill Forsyth carried their strong form from Loch Tummel through with a second place, and Brendan/Andy McKeown were third. Caitlin Ross/Emily Smith and Scott McWhirter/Greg Southall provided the mid-race entertainment by sampling the waters of the Clyde.

However, with eight races scheduled and no discard, there was still everything to play for. Peter Collings/Ally Ireland took the bullet in race 2, ahead of Brendan/Andy and Ilson/Laura. Race 3 saw another win for Ilson/Laura ahead of Peter/Ally and Brendan/Andy, and Race 4 gave Peter/Ally another win ahead of Brendan/Andy and new appearances on the podium Allan Lennox/Mhary Mackay. Ilson managed 4th, so at the half way stage Peter/ Ally led the event with 9 points on countback from Ilson/Laura, with Brendan/Andy one point behind. Leaders of the chasing pack were Calum Bell/Tony Fitzgerald and Martin/Bill on 19 points.

Reading the shifty breezes and a complex tide was the key to success as the day wore on, and it was at this stage that Brendan/Andy started to come into their own, with a commanding victory in race 5 ahead of Ilson/Laura and Calum/Tony, and then took another bullet in race 6 to lead the event for the first time with Peter/Ally and Ilson/Laura rounding off the podium. With two races left to run the event was finely poised, with Brendan/Andy on 12 points, Ilson/Laura on 14 and Ally/Peter on 15. Calum/Tony were in 4th on 28 points, meaning the event was a straight 3-way fight for 1st.

With the tide sweeping boats over the line, race 7 took three attempts to get under way, and it took the black flag to get the fleet to behave themselves. Ilson/Laura and Peter/Ally both managed to get stuck in the pack rounding the windward, leaving Brendan/Andy to romp home for the victory, with Ilson in 7th and Peter in 8th. 2nd and 3rd were Calum/Tony and Colin Scott/Daniel Scott.

Brendan/Andy had put themselves firmly in control of the event at this stage, and Ilson/Laura had to go all-out to win the event. Unfortunately in their enthusiasm they were just over the line and were flagged OCS, and Brendan/Andy had a comfortable sail to the finish ahead of Calum/Tony and debutants Jon Gay and Amanda Henderson, sailing the demo boat Sea Spray Yacht Charter.

This gave victory in the event to Brendan/Andy, with Peter/Ally in second and Calum/Tony in third place.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1806Brendan LynchAndy McKeownELYC3232111114
21474Peter CollingsAlly IrelandCSSC5121428427
31027Calum BellTony FitzgeraldHSC6445362232
41120John IlsonLaura GloverELYC13142371435
51281Neil MandersonAlice MeadenStornoway Sailing4676755545
61571Allan LennoxMhary MackayHSC7963846649
7930Martin FaulknerBill ForsythLargs SC25571294751
8691Jon GayAmanda HendersonLochaber YC888109814368
9269Colin ScottDaniel ScottRoyal Tay14710811731070
100Scott McWhirterGreg SouthallRYA1111121151110980
111011Caitlin RossEmily SmithASC101211910129881
121642James MillerMikey MillerHSC910912610141181

Thanks to everyone who helped make this such a fantastic season. To all the clubs who hosted us (Largs, East Lothian, Largo Bay, Aberdeen and Stonehaven, Loch Tummel and Helensburgh), our tour sponsors (JP Watersports, Stewart Brewing and SeaSpray Yacht Charter), and to all the sailors who turned up.

See you all next year!

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