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Noble Marine 2022 YY - LEADERBOARD

Noble Marine RS500 UK National Championships 2024 at Hayling Island Sailing Club

by Heather Wilkins 28 May 09:29 BST 24-26 May 2024
Noble Marine RS500 Nationals Championships © Phil Jackson / Digital Sailing

This year's major RS calendar event, celebrating 30 years of epic sailing and parties, gave the RS500s a chance to come together as friends and battle it out as competitors for the 2024 UK national title.

Hayling Island delivered on sunshine, sparkling seas and slumbering seals, and although the sea breeze didn't quite make it to the party it was a fantastic weekend both on and off the water.

The racing was seriously close, with five different race winners across seven races. Day one brought a max of six knots to the course so it was a battle of who could crouch the lowest, hug the mast the tightest and stay the stillest for longest. Everyone worked hard to max out the tiny puffs of wind and keep from shaking it out of the sails with plenty of rolling tack and gybes.

Race one saw Tim and Heather Wilkins make a break on the first upwind leg and hold a lead until the finish, despite being gradually reeled in by Paul Cullen and Fresh Abendstern who were showing some serious speed on the downwind legs - a masterclass in eyes on the spinnaker and a steady hand from the helm.

Race two was Paul and Fresh's turn to hold to the finish in a close race, whilst race three saw class newcomers Luke and Will Bradley find the quickest way up the first beat and hold a comfortable lead to the finish, despite being hunted down by Peter and James Curtis who were also showing a great turn of downwind speed.

There was some great boat on boat action all the way through the fleet. By the end of day one there was one point separating the leaders and all to play for.

Day two and despite best efforts to manifest some wind overnight, all classes were held on shore for most of the day. The day was spent on the sailing club decking drinking coffee and bimbling in the boat park. There was also a chance to get the low down from Oscar Deurloo on all things World Championships to be held in the Netherlands later this year.

Father and son team, Oscar and Samuel made the trip over from Rotterdam to compete with the UK fleet, bringing an international feel to the event. The 500 fleet hit the water late afternoon and managed to get in one race in a fickle southeasterly, with Steve and Sarah Cockerill finding their form to take the race win from Paul and Fresh.

While the best moves on the water had to be saved for another day, there were some pretty fresh moves later that night. Props to James, Fresh and Oli for representing the 500s on the dance floor.

Day three and everyone was up early, ready to make the most of a slightly stronger northeasterly breeze. While there was an early morning promise of some planing, the breeze didn't quite hold out, but this time there was just enough wind in the sails to dust off the trapeze and stretch the legs a little upwind.

Race five got under way in a dying northeasterly and saw Tim and Heather take the win, whilst a dramatic finish behind them saw Luke and Will just hold their second place from an advancing Paul and Fresh, who had spotted the southeasterly breeze kicking in on the last leg - which led to some spinnakers being flown on the last 'beat' to the shortened course finish.

Race six saw Mike Saul and Oli Kent break through the pack, sniffing out the best shifts with some close boat on boat action at the top. with Tim and Heather who just pipped them over the finish line, only for both teams to be disqualified for being over the start line, allowing Bob and Isla Preston to come through for their first race win, holding off current world champs Steve and Sarah.

By the final race all podium positions were still up for grabs, and it was a nervy start line for the teams under black flag with a pushing tide. Luckily all got away clear this time, and it was Tim and Heather who had found their stride and took the race win to secure the National Championship, while another solid second from Steve and Sarah saw them advance onto the podium behind Paul and Fresh who held silver position overall.

Samuel Leather was recognised for being first Youth helm, Will Bradley first Youth crew and Steve Cockerill for first Master.

Even without the wind that was hoped for, the weekend at Hayling Island was a fantastic one thanks to the brilliant event planning from RS in a beautiful setting, and a group of enthusiastic, friendly sailors.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year there are some excellent sailing on the Solent adventures to come with the Rooster National Tour in Lymington and Lee on the Solent scheduled for June and Gurnard Sailing Club for July which will be the first time the club has hosted the RS500s.

And of course there is the World Championships on the horizon with more than 50 boats already signed up to take part in Bruinisse in the Netherlands. With five previous World Champs title holders set to attend and many more aiming for the top half of the fleet, this event is highly anticipated for the fun to be had both on and off the water.

Overall Results:

PosSail noHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R1R1R2R3Pts
1920Tim WilkinsHeather WilkinsGurnard13331(UFD)112
2529Paul Spanner CullenFresh AbendsternWeirwood S.C. / R.D.N.B.Y.C.21(DSQ)233415
31756Steve CockerillSarah CockerillStokes Bay Sailing Club4551‑82219
4842Luke BradleyWill BradleyGurnard Sailing Club(UFD)21524519
51681Peter CurtisJames CurtisGrafham Water SC‑542445322
68Michael SaulOliver KentYorkshire Dales36466(UFD)732
7857Bob PrestonIsla PrestonGurnard Sailing Club676‑871633
81002Robin LeatherSamuel LeatherGurnard Sailing Club10877‑1261048
9526Samuel DeurlooOscar DeurlooZVO7989‑118849
10783Simon HorsfieldtbcThorney Island Sailing Club8‑11911510952
11803John ReynoldsFran HowellGrafham Water Sailing Club111011‑12971159
121750Nigel DavisAaron DavisDraycote Water SC9‑1210101091260

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