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Volvo Noble Marine RS800 National Championships - Day 1

by Luke McEwen 12 Sep 23:12 BST 12-15 September 2020
Volvo Noble Marine RS800 National day 1 © Clare Sargent

The 2020 RS800 National Championships kicked off in great style with two hotly contested races in Portland Harbour under a warm September sun and sparkling breeze. The 24 teams include seven ex-National or European champions, four members of the British Sailing Team, four female helms and seven youths. Experience and wisdom are added to this mix by the eleven Masters (at least we'd like to think so).

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy have worked hard with the RS800 and RS700 class committees to make the event happen after relocating here at short notice. It was clear that a great deal of thought had gone into the preparation and procedures so that this first RS800 event of the year could go ahead safely. The social side is muted by RS standards but just being able to race at all is very good for the soul, especially for those who have been recovering from illness or injury, or working on the Covid wards to save lives.

Race One started in 10-11 knots of wind from the SW. Despite lack of big fleet practice the fleet got away cleanly with only one boat OCS. Following the Saltonstall doctrine, most of the fleet headed left towards Portland Bill. Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore, winners of the Nationals last time the RS800s came here in 2018, tacked early so they were bows-out on the leading pack heading back to the starboard lay line. Their narrow lead at the windward mark turned into a substantial win by the finish. Meanwhile Hugh Shone, sailing with the previous Weymouth champion crew Fiona Hampshire, plugged away taking places all the way round to finish second ahead of new RS800 team Cam Stewart and Alice Masterman.

The race team led by Arky re-laid the course for the second race as the wind was clocking left as forecast, and building to a nice 12-14 knots, perfect twin wiring weather for RS800s. Again the front-runners at the first windward mark came in from the left. This time Hugh and Fiona nailed the port lay line spot-on, chased by FX sailors Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton. Tom Walker and James Curtis were looking good, holding pace with Tom and Guy, but both overstood and then found a cruising yacht blocking their way back down to the lay line. Hugh and Fiona defended well as current champions Luke and Emma McEwen tried in vain to catch them, while Tom and Guy pulled through to third.

Overnight Hugh and Fiona lead Tom and Guy by one point. There could well be opportunities for new faces at the front tomorrow with three races and a lighter and shiftier breeze forecast. Watch this space!

Results after Day 1:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2Pts
1st1231Hugh ShoneFiona HampshireSwanage SC213
2nd1144Tom MorrisGuy FillmoreHayling Island SC134
3rd1220Luke McEwenEmma McEwenRoyal Lymington YC628
4th1124Robert GullanCalum HealeyHayling Island SC4610
5th1207Phil WalkerJohn MatherHayling Island SC5510
6th1154Cam StewartAlice MastermanHayling Island SC3912
7th961Megan BrickwoodStephanie OrtonWPNSA9716
8th1045Claire LaskoEdward DyerHayling Island SC81422
9th1171James PentyEddie GraysonBeaver SC19423
10th1232Cameron MossDarrol MossLyme Regis SC16824
11th1203Grace FellTim GrattonNetley SC141125
12th1188Daniel GoodmanDebbie ClarkStokes Bay SC111526
13th825Tom WalkerJames CurtisWest Wittering SC171027
14th1163Tim DickinsonStephenie DickinsonHayling Island SC151328
15th1204Martin OrtonIan Brooks/Alex OrtonChichester YC/Trearddur Bay SC181230
16th88Ralph SingletonMike ChapmanRestronguet SC131831
17th1215Joseph BradleyBenjamin BradleyHayling Island SC7RET[25]32
18th982Leo WilkinsonToby BloomfieldMaidenhead SC102232
19th1008Ben PalmerBruna de QueirozHayling Island SC122032
20th1164Russ GibbsEmma PhilipsStarcross YC211738
21st1014Sam WallerMatt RhodesBeaver SC201939
22nd1129Fin ArmstrongSam JonesRoyal Torbay YCOCS[25]1641
23rd1011Simon ClarkJames FullerLyme Regis SC232144
24th1131Madeleine AndersonTom BallintineWPNSA22RET[25]47

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