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Melges 15

RS700s at the Salcombe Gin RS Summer Regatta

by Pete Purkiss & Matt Carter 28 Jun 2023 15:09 BST 24-25 June 2023

The RS700 fleet at HISC were treated to glorious weather over the weekend. We sailed out to the starting area in the bay in a good moderate Southerly breeze and a cloudless sky. Astonishingly however a sea mist rolled in resulting in a short postponement.

Race one got under way in 8 - 10 knots with a three lap course set. The first lap saw Matt Carter and Rob Higgins lead the way with Pete Purkiss in third. Matt rounded first only to be overtaken by Rob downwind. On the second beat Pete went hard left and picked up a shift and more tide to round in first. At the leeward gate, however, Pete, whilst trying to drop the kite, was presented with hooting and shouting from a patrol boat displaying a completely mystifying change of course. By the time Pete realised he needed to proceed to a new windward mark, both Matt and Rob had headed off upwind.

The new mark resulted in a shorter lap and the fleet finishing with the RS400 fleet. At the leeward mark Matt was leading from Pete, but then got stuck in the lee of a RS400 right on the line allowing Pete to steal the win by a boat length. Rob came in 3rd with Nathan Steffenoni in fourth. Fortunately that was the last we saw of three lap races.

The close racing theme continued in race two which was sailed in similar conditions and was extremely tight all the way around the course. Rob took the win from Matt by a pole length on the line in a photo finish with Pete third and Tom Porter showing good speed in fourth.

Race three was sailed in slightly more breeze. Rob showed us the way with Nathan taking second despite a sabotage attempt by Matt when tacking to clear his air off the line and clipping Nathan's wing. Pete came in third ahead of Matt who had done his penalty turns then had chosen the wrong side of the course.

Overnight leaders were Rob in first, with Pete second, and Matt in third place.

Sunday gave us the predicted sunshine and a building, veering Southerly breeze.

Race four was sailed in a good 12-14 knots with Rob and Matt battling for the win. The RS400 start was delayed following a general recall which meant the fleet started upwind just as the RS700s were rounding the leeward gate. Rob, Matt and Nathan rounded ahead of the melee leaving Tom, Pete and the rest of the fleet in an impossible battle for clear air. Rob crossed ahead of Matt in second, and Nathan took third after Pete's flyer seeking to avoid dirty wind went awry.

By race five, the wind and waves had built and Matt Carter found his fifth gear and charged away only to have his kite fall down with a faulty halyard cleat downwind. He recovered to stay just ahead of Rob who chased a bit too hard and capsized trying to retrieve his kite on the last leg. Tom Porter was clearly enjoying himself with much whooping on the port downwind legs and came in second. Matt Conner was now able to stretch his legs and revelled in the conditions to take third. Pete finished in fourth.

The final race was a battle for the championship between Rob Higgins and Matt Carter. By now it was beginning to blow and there were many capsizes. The downwind legs were particularly fruity, with much nose-diving and swinging around forestays. Matt took the win with Rob close behind. Nathan came in third with Pete in fourth following a capsize.

The fleet headed for home trying to work out if Rob or Matt Carter had won overall. It turned out that both were equal on points. Rob Higgins took the event with one more race win than Matt Carter. Pete Purkiss took third, with Nathan Steffenoni in fourth, and Tom Porter in fifth.

The fleet congratulated HISC on a superb event and we all went home happy, tired, and sunburnt! Thank you to event sponsor Salcombe Gin and RS700 National Tour sponsor Rooster.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1029Rob HigginsChew Valley Lake SC3111‑528
2nd1062Matt CarterLancing SC22‑42118
3rd1042Peter PurkissBrightlingsea133‑44415
4th710Nathan SteffenoniWeston SC4523‑6317
5th1055Tom PorterHISC54552(DNC)21
6th1060Matt ConnerQMSC66‑763627
7th1068Roland SmithHISC79677(DNC)36
8th871Curtis DrewHISC10798(DNC)539
9th1063Elliot BooleyChew Valley Lake SC88‑1098740
10th931Malcolm StreetonHISC910810(DNC)845
11th801Stephen CarrBrightlingsea(RET)1111119951
12th755Martyn HumphriesHISC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC65

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