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RS800 Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Darrol and Cameron Moss 5 Oct 2021 13:09 BST 3-4 October 2021
RS800 start - RS800 Inland Championship © Paul Sanwell / OP Photography

We will begin with an all-round doffing of hats to the whole team at GWSC for putting on the event in light of the horrendous weather forecast, petrol shortage and general post-lockdown confusion. They managed to pack in the full program of six races over the weekend.

Secondly much respect to those of you who have at previous events finished in third and had to write a race report, this is my first! How are you supposed to know what's happening when it's blowing dogs off chains and the rain's coming horizontal? I don't know, so forgive any inaccuracies or omissions.


13 boats (nice to see some of the newer faces here) braved the somewhat gloomy, grey start. Wind was SSE so it was good twin wiring strength from the start.

The fleet were obviously keen to get on with it so we had a general recall to get us going. First race second start got us away cleanly. Boats either side on the first beat fared well providing they could find a decent band of pressure to get into the top mark. Navigation around the top mark was tricky through the day with big shifts, lulls and gusts that weren't so apparent at the bottom of the course.

Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore rounded first closely followed by Cameron and Darrol Moss, with local boys James Curtis and Tom Walker right on their transom. Tom and Guy streaked away downwind opening up a sizeable gap over the boats now battling for second, third and fourth with this group now including Grace Allen and Tim Gratton. Tom and Guy easily secured first, Cameron and Darrol a hard-fought second after several cat and mouse legs with Grace and Tim, and James and Tom.

With the breeze picking up for the second race four boats headed ashore. Luke and Emma McEwen came off the line looking in a strong position, Grace and Tim also looked in a good position by the windward mark eying up an overtake on Cameron and Darrol on the run. However Tom and Guy who looked dead and buried off the start line proved it doesn't matter which side of the course you go if you are blisteringly fast and proceeded to take the race with only Luke and Emma keeping them working hard. A capsize ended Grace and Tim's campaign with a broken ankle for Grace I hear (hope that gets better soon).

By race three the rain was coming down in earnest with even more wind. We had all controls on hard and the gusts were still bringing us to a stand still! Luke and Emma, and Tom and Guy seemed to have masterful control though, pulling out a substantial lead over what was left of the fleet - down to six boats! Through the rain and spray I think I spotted a rare Tom and Guy capsize. I'm unsure whether this opened the door for Luke or gave them some breathing space, but Luke and Emma took the win with Tom and Guy still far enough in front to get themselves the right way up and going again to take second.

All in all some real exciting racing but personally I was pleased to get ashore and enjoy the comforts of the Grafham Bar. The garlic chicken for dinner was much appreciated too!


First thing to say is a least the sun was shining! Race four got under way with light breeze, with occasional gusts of what was to come! Again things got trickier at the top mark, a closely spaced bunch containing the usual suspects along with Martin Orton and Ian Brooks and the other local boat Dominik Burke and Tom Bucktrout. Most of us I think had to make more tacks than we would have anticipated to reach the mark, and position in the bunch changed quickly in the shifty, on off SSW wind. Three boats managed to clear the mark with minimal fuss and disappeared in the distance on the light downwind leg: Tom and Guy, Luke and Emma, with James and Tom in close contention. That is how it finished with Martin Orton and Ian Brooks taking a hard-fought and well-earned fourth.

Race five saw the wind building again and some really exciting downwind rides in the sunshine at speed. In the building breeze though it became less about the tactics of catching the shifts and more about the tactics of minimising boat manoeuvres, we certainly were not keen about gybing twice. Tom and Guy's supreme boat handling once again was very apparent with Luke and Emma the only ones to give them a race.

By race six the wind really was blowing and it was starting to be a case of just hanging on. There was plenty of room on the start line though as the fleet was now reduced to six boats again. As the boats came together at the windward mark for the first time it was again pretty close bunch with Luke and Emma first around the top mark closely followed by Tom and Guy. Luke and Emma caught a massive gust and screamed down wind and by lap two had open up a good lead on Tom and Guy who themselves were well clear of the small trailing bunch. However the wind was to bring more drama as another big gust caught Luke and Emma just as they were rounding up for their last lap tipping them in mercilessly for Grafham's killer shrimp to feast on!!! A quick recovery meant damage was limited and they still finished second by some distance.

So to finish, a big thanks again to GWSC for a great event. Special mention to the Saturday race team who looked wetter than me and I'd been for a swim! Congratulations to Tom and Guy for a great performance and well done all the sailors who came to enjoy what were very exciting sailing conditions, and of course to the ever smiling Clare Sargent our RS800 Class Association Secretary for keeping us all racing! We're looking forward to the final event on our RS800 Rooster National Tour which will be the RS End of Seasons Regatta at Ruland SC 6-7 Nov 2021.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1144Tom MorrisGuy FillmoreHayling Island SC11‑21115
2nd1220Luke McEwenEmma McEwenRoyal Lymington YC‑6212229
3rd1232Cameron MossDarrol MossLyme Regis SC233‑63314
4th825James CurtisTom WalkerGrafham Water36(RET)37423
5th1122Tom BucktroutDominick BurkeGrafham Water‑54554523
6th1166Ralph SingletonJames WilkinsonRestronguet SC7547(DNS)DNC38
7th1204Martin OrtonIan BrooksChichester YC97(DNC)45DNC40
8th985Stuart KeeganSophie JohnstonDerwent Reservoir SC88(DNC)96RET46
9th820Bryan OrmondAnna PrescottQueen Mary SC12(DNC)DNC88649
10th1203Grace AllenTim GrattonBeadnell SC4(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC64
11th1065Robert DunnMarina DunnGrafham Water10(DNC)DNC10RETDNC65
12th1247Paul MolesworthCaroline HarrisStokes Bay SC11(DNC)DNC12DNSDNC68
13th846Joshua PoatHattie FieldChew/Emsworth(RET)DNCDNC11DNCDNC71
14th1008Ben PalmerBruna de QueirozHayling Island SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC75

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