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Noble Marine 2022 YY - LEADERBOARD

Noble Marine RS Vareo National Championship at Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Sailing Club

by Nick Crickmore 30 Jun 2023 16:00 BST 23-25 June 2023

Sixteen boats sailed in the 2023 Noble Marine RS Vareo Nationals hosted by the Great Yarmouth and Gorleston SC. The eight local boats from Waveney and Oulton Broad, Rollesby Broad SC and GYGSC were joined by eight visitors from seven different clubs with Nigel Tinkler, from British Police Sailing winning the honours of making the longest trip to the 'Far East', over 241 miles from the 'Far West'.

The three day event saw some big winds on Friday, and perfect sailing conditions on a cloudy Saturday and a beautifully sunny Sunday ie normal conditions for Gorleston!

On Thursday the early arrivals had a nice practice with the club evening racing. Two races were held in a pleasant end of the sea breeze. This was perfect to use the spinni for full advantage so it was RS Vareo one, two and three in the results.

Friday - Most forecasts suggested it was to be a day of light to medium winds, which it was when we launched but as the day progressed the wind increased and when the tide changed the sea state got lumpy, very lumpy.

Race one saw Michelle Collier-Brooks and Luke Fisher leading the fleet with the latter ahead after the first lap. On lap two Michelle took the lead and maintained it to the finish. On the final lap Howard Astley-Jones moved up to second, with Luke third, and with Nigel Tinkler maintaining a constant fourth place on each lap.

Race two: the wind and sea had increased and with it one or two capsizes. Michelle and Howard held the top two spots for the entire race with Michelle winning another race. Alan Bassett moved up from fifth place on lap one to third at the finish, with Luke fourth.

Race three: the wind now a good Force four with some big gusts and the sea providing some challenging conditions. Several capsizes meant only six finishers, in fact just about everyone had at least one capsize, with many suffering more. It was a blessing to have the extra safety boats from Royal North Sea YC; at one point all four were in action at once.

Nick Crickmore went ashore after suffering a broken kicker in race two, Nigel managed some running repairs but lost his gloves washed overboard in the process. However, the off-wind legs provided some fantastic rides although many were thinking more about the pending gybe. Michelle looked to have made it three in a row but capsized on the final gybe to the finish allowing Luke to take line honours with Michelle quickly recovering to finish second. These two were some way ahead of the fleet. Dave Houghton was next to finish just ahead of Nigel.

On Friday evening as the sea breeze faded and the sun set we ate locally caught beach side fish and chips outside the club, courtesy of Phil Harlow delivery boy.

Saturday: despite a forecast of a Force three from the South initially the wind was from the East. Thankfully just before launch time it shifted to the South and remained steady all day providing a great day of sailing for all.

Race four: Luke took an early lead which he held for most of the race with Howard close behind. The finish was very close with four boats approaching the line together with Michelle just ahead of Luke, who was just ahead of Dave, who was just ahead of Howard. Behind was another local, Nick Crickmore who moved up the fleet on each lap finishing fifth.

Race five was a good race for the locals. Michelle and Nick read the conditions well and got a fantastic first beat rounding the windward mark with a big lead on the fleet. However, Michelle suffered a rare capsize leaving Nick with a good lead and Luke leading the chase pack. After three laps Nick held onto his lead, Dave moved up to second, and Howard finished just ahead on Luke.

Race six: Michelle sailed a faultless race leading from start to finish. Behind Luke, Howard and Dave had a race long tussle with positions changing every lap, each leading at some stage. It was close at the finish with Howard leading at the line to finish second with Luke third, Dave fourth and Nick on a late charge moving up from eighth to fifth.

Overnight leader Michelle had one hand on the Championship, holding a five point lead over Luke and Howard.

Sunday: It was a beautiful sunny day for final day's sailing, the wind was a Force three from the South South East providing another great day of racing.

Race seven: The leading three had a stranglehold on the front of the fleet with positions constant throughout the race, Howard, Luke, then Michelle. Behind Nick nipped in front of Dave on the final run to the finish fourth, with Alan holding a consistent sixth place on each lap.

Race eight: Luke led the fleet for the entire race. Dave managed to hold off Michelle for two laps but she moved ahead on the final lap to finish second. Howard recovered from an eventful first lap to finish fourth and another local, James Jarvey finished fifth, pretty good for his first outing in a RS Vareo.

Race nine: Luke, obviously enjoying the conditions, held a small lead after lap one closely followed by Dave, Howard and Michelle, with Alan just behind. On lap two, Howard moved ahead of Dave, and Nick jumped from seventh to fourth. These positions remained the same to the finish with Nigel Tinkler fifth.

Despite a late charge on the final day by Luke, Michelle held onto the lead to win the 2023 Noble Marine RS Vareo National Championship by two points, with Howard in third. Congratulations Michelle.

Other awards went to:

Dave Houghton - fourth, 1st local, and Grand Master
Alan Bassett - Fidelis Trophy (highest placed outside major prizes who has raced in 3 RS Vareo nationals)
Chris Abbott - Endeavour Trophy endeavour (first runner up completing all races)
Cheryl Wood - First Youth

After some consideration we decided to let our absent friend Mike Dicker retain the Duckhams notable capsize prize although Michelle "I never normally capsize in the RS Vareo" was a strong contender closely followed by the rest of the fleet.

Richard Foster was awarded prize for best recovery witnessed by the rescue team.

Interestingly the top six boats cover the complete age range of build ie there is a 100, 200, 300, 400, 500 and 600 numbered boat, showing just how equal boats are regardless of age!

Three days of great sailing finishing with clear blue skies and temperature in mid-twenties on Sunday - Costa de Gorleston at its finest.

Our event was coupled with our annual Beach Regatta. So a lot of organising was required and a lot of effort was made by those who helped out. All involved did a sterling job: "Team OOD" set great courses (some great big courses!), the safety boat team were quick to response to any incidents, and were kept busy, especially on Friday. A big thank you must go to Ted and his team from RNSYC and the Hickling Scouts for helping with the Safety boat cover, motoring to and fro from Lowestoft each day. The Beach Masters and Gorleston Lifeguards did a splendid job ensuring the marked area for our launching and return to shore was kept clear, this proved especially difficult on Sunday as the great weather meant a packed beach. Finally, and by no means least, a big thank you to the clubhouse team, who worked tirelessly providing snacks and drinks during the day and put on a fantastic meal on Saturday night. There were several comments from the visitors on what a friendly and welcoming club it was (which of course we already knew). Thank you to our title sponsor Noble Marine.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9Pts
1st444Michelle Collier‑BrooksOxford SC1121‑5132‑611
2nd621Luke FisherEmberton Park SC3‑412‑4321113
3rd516Howard Astley‑JonesRollesby Broad SC22(DNF)‑43214216
4th374Dave HoughtonGY&GSC‑7‑6332453323
5th170Nick CrickmoreW&OBYC55(DNF)5154‑8429
6th247Alan BassettPevensey Bay SC635‑97667‑840
7th190Nigel TinklerBritish Police4946(DNF)(DNC)116545
8th649Chris AbbottNottingham SC‑1086‑108799754
9th567James JarveyW&OBYC(DNC)(DNC)DNC76875958
10th660Cheryl WoodPennine SC97DNF‑11‑12108111166
11th443Paul NorthMillton Keynes SCDNF(DNC)(DNC)89910101070
12th446Richard FosterGY&GSC8DNF(DNC)1210111212(DNC)76
13th373Roger WatsonRollesby Broad SC11(DNC)(DNC)13111213DNCDNC92
14th555Don O'nionsGY&GSC(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC1312105
15th360Rob CraftGY&GSC(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC1413107
16th407Nicki FisherEmberton Park SCDNF(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC110

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