United Kingdom

Volvo Noble Marine National Championship



Alan Henderson took great photos throughout the event.  To purchase please contact him on: [email protected]



Eighth title for Bolland

Those of you following the report from day two will recall I was rather underwhelmed by the forecast for racing on day three.   Unsurprisingly actual conditions defied the forecasters and we had wind into the top of the teens.

Race Six

On two occasions the fleet was pulled over the line early by trigger-happy class chairman Richard Le Mare.  I understand the need to sheet in before the gun goes, but not when you’re already on the line.  We were away at the third attempt with only an individual recall signalled.  The fleet breathed a collective sigh of relief when Matt Sargent took the rap and turned back.  Unfortunately it was Tim Keen who was OCS.

Alistair McLaughlin had built a crazy lead by the first mark which he retained for the next two laps although he was reeled in somewhat by Dave Acres and Steve Bolland when McLaughlin overstood the second windward mark.  Bolland got through at the final windward mark when McLaughlin overstood again.  As a local you would have expected him to understand the tides.  Bolland won from McLaughlin, Acres just holding off a fast-moving Paul Rigg.  Matt Sargent had a great recovery to fifth.

Race Seven

For once Bolland had a half decent first beat, led at the first mark and retained this to the finish.  He was pushed all the way by Acres, though.  Rigg was third with fourth going to Ian Baillie who was beginning to find form despite being able to sail only over the weekend.

Race Eight

What was this purple vision before us?  For a while we all thought we’d been transported to a parallel universe.  Then we realised it was purple-hulled Rich Le Mare winning the pin end and crossing the fleet.  Using the McLaughlin windward mark playbook Le Mare then overstood to let a gleeful Bolland through to take the lead.  Acres and Rigg were having a tight tussle in the battle for second overall.  Rigg also dipped into someone else’s windward mark playbook, attempting to repeat Bolland’s spurs and stetson inspired port layline approach to the windward mark from Race four.  Unfortunately National Champion-sized holes only open for National Champions, especially if it is your main rival who is on the starboard layline.  A dizzy Rigg drove hard down the reach and soon made up for his spin.  The scene was almost repeated on the next lap when, to the delight of those already on a fat layline Rigg (to leeward) and Acres indulged in a pinch fest to the windward mark.  Eventually Rigg tacked out which would have given Acres an easy lead, until the latter got embarrassingly intimate with the mark.  Apparently some Scottish wizardry played a part: although the tide was on the flood as it had been the day before, the flow was in the opposite direction! Bolland first, Le Mare second, Paul Watson third and Ian Baillie fourth again.

Consultation of the scoreboard revealed that Bolland had retained his title with his eighth win in total.  Looked like the final night was going to be messy.

And so it proved.  Curry, Tennent’s Lager and Mark Taylor’s excellent quiz were the backdrop to the standard attempts by those competitors still fighting for places to nobble each other, aided and abetted by Bolland, wearing the evil grin of a Bond villain and brandishing a bottle of Sambuca.  Tim Keen having travelled to the Championships with a very young child, was notably absent from this Cold War worthy session of Mutually Assured Destruction.  Thus discussion turned to whether, in those circumstances, feeding a baby a caffeine and energy gel would be an alternative source of sleep deprivation, and whether it could be subject to a Rule 69 Hearing.

Sunday dawned clear, warm and with a very gentle breeze from the southwest.  Bolland arrived at the dinghy park early – largely because he’d been persuaded that racing started at 1000hrs.  He was also looking less than chipper after the Sambuca-fuelled evening.  He had, though, been persuaded to swap boats and try Le Mare’s purple machine.

Race Nine

About 8-10 knots at best, softening as the race progressed.  The new boats might be quick but they can’t start.  Bolland had a shocker and tacked off to clear his wind.  Rigg did the same and they were 1, 2 at the first mark!  Rigg took the lead on the first run and never looked back, pulling out an embarrassingly large lead.  Bolland managed to hang on to second with McLaughlin third and Acres fourth.

Race Ten

Purple boats definitely can’t start!  Bolland was at least two lengths over and had to return.  However the wind was up again and now we’d see just how powerful these new boats are.  Baillie led with Rigg, Watson, Acres and McLaughlin all in the mix.  Bolland was well into the teens at the first mark.

With four, it could have been five, relatively short laps there was some pretty close racing all round.  The waves had returned and the downwind legs were short and fast.  Although Baillie retained the lead there was a little reshuffling when the leaders thought they saw a shortened course flag go up after three laps, or it could have been four.  Chief loser-outer was McLaughlin.

At the finish it was Baillie from Rigg, Watson and Bolland who had completed his fight back and just about inched past Acres on the last run.

Le Mare’s opinion on Bolland’s boat was that it’s floppy and horrible, not unlike it’s driver.  Will he be in for a new one next year?  One thing’s for certain, it won’t be purple.

The fleet would like to express it gratitude once again to Prestwick SC whose members went out of their way to give a warm welcome and make the championship a success.  Also thanks to the sponsors – Volvo, Noble Marine, The Boatyard at Beer and Forward WIP.  We look forward to next year’s Nationals which will be part of the RS Games 16-19 August 2018 at Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy.

Report by Steve Bolland

Alan Henderson took great photos throughout the event.  To purchase please contact him on: [email protected]

Prize Winners

RS300 National Champion 2017 Steve Bolland CONGRATULATIONS!!!

2nd - Dave David Acres

3rd and 1st Lightweight and Day Four Winner - Paul Rigg

4th - Paul Watson

5th - Alastair Alistair Mclaughlin

6th - Tim Keen

7th and 1st Master - Steve Sallis

8th and Fidelis Trophy - Neil Beveridge

9th - Matt Sargent

10th - Richard Le Mare

1st Silver - Richard Hargreaves

1st Youth - Cameron McIntyre

Apprentice - Phil Manning

Wooden Spoon Trophy – awarded to Race Office Paul Gilmore for falling out of the patrol boat on return to shore from the Committee Boat at end of championship racing and managing to inflate his life jacket!

Club Trophy - Prestwick SC A Team

Congratulations to all competitors and thank you to their shore teams!


Credit where credit’s due.  For once the forecast was spot on, regarding both the wind and (unfortunately) the rain.  Well done Windguru.  It quickly became apparent that 12-16 knots from the south kicks up something of a sea state at Prestwick.  Here’s a question – why do the waves always look so much bigger and steeper when you’re going upwind?  The waves were to play a major role in how the races panned out.  With the waves slightly offset from the wind direction the beats were difficult with much slamming into the waves on port tack – in my boat at least.  Some coped better with this while others fared better in the surfing conditions downwind.

Race 3

Going quickly upwind, Dave Acres arrived first at the windward mark for the third race in a row.  However, this was at least partly due to Tim Keen breaking his rudder downhaul on the final tack to the mark. Maintenance Tim, it’s all in the detail.  Steve Bolland, however, was not far behind and managed to surf through on the first run.  These positions stayed the same over the next three laps but with never more than about 10 boat length’s separation.  Keen recovered well to third with fourth going to Steve Sallis.

Race 4

Race 4 was slightly shorter after the marathon race 3.  It was characterised by two things – a large rain squall hitting the fleet on the final beat with a big right shift, and Paul Watson going like an absolute express train upwind.  Clearly low and fast is quick in waves but it does require a certain amount of fitness which rules it out for the majority.  If his tacking and downwind speed matched his upwind work he would be unbeatable!  This was a pretty close race overall – Watson initially led but Acres wriggled though downwind.  Acres was then the first to spot the squall and tacked off.  Despite this Watson sailed over the top and would have led at the final windward mark had he not almost binned it on the tack. Acres was away and Watson just, just managed to hold off Bolland on the final reach to the line.  Paul Rigg had a return to form with fourth.

Race 5

The wind was probably at its strongest for the final race of the day.  Again, Acres and Watson were in jet propulsion mode upwind and arrived at the top mark together, followed by Keen and Rigg with Bolland just about finding a gap following a high-risk port tack approach.

The positions remained largely unchanged downwind but there was some compression between the main contenders.  For once, left paid up the second beat and Bolland closed the gap on the leaders although it was still Acres and Watson up front.  By the leeward mark it was Acres from Bolland by about a boat length and it was game on!

In a final lap of two halves Acres extended his lead upwind with Bolland trying to keep the gap manageable before his favoured downwind legs.  Watson was also back in the frame but Bolland took both he and Acres on the stunning first reach, last time around.  Unfortunately for Acres, Rigg also had the afterburners on and also came through to leave the positions at the finish as Bolland, Rigg, Acres, Watson, Alistair ‘flyweight’ Mclaughlin.

Saturday morning, day 3.  The rain has stopped but so has the wind.  Forecast 9-11 knots from the SouthWest.  Hopefully Windguru has under-estimated as it will be painful in that breeze if the chop remains from yesterday.  We will see.

By Steve Bolland


It’s a long old poke up to Prestwick which is hosting the RS300 Nationals for the third time in seven years.  The average journey for those playing away from home must have been something like 300 miles.  It was worth it though as we were treated to a spectacular sunset on Wednesday evening.  Of course, some made the journey harder than it needed to beSteve Bolland losing his car keys shortly before departure (still not found as Mrs B has pointedly mentioned more than once) and Steve Sallis setting off from Weymouth after finishing Burton week, driving to Lincoln to swap boats and then enjoying (!) a diagonal journey to the West coast of Scotland.

Paul Rigg won the first wooden spoon because, having avoided the low bridges through town, he then proceeded to knock his bike off the roof rack going through the car park barrier!  Muppet. Perhaps the frustrations of long distance travel in the UK was best summed up by Matt Sargent’s cry for help as the “rush hour tidal gate” closed on him near Manchester.

Sailing-wise we were treated to a rather unsteady South Westerly of 10 – 15 knots including some rather frustrating sloppy bits in the middle.  The dominant factor in both races was a noticeable right shift coming off the line – lovely if you were all over it, not quite so funny for the pin enders.  All over it at both starts was Dave Acres (Emsworth and Thorney Island) who led at the first mark in both races but was unfortunately unable to make it stick.

In race 1 he was followed by Tim Keen (Sheffield Viking) and Steve Bolland (Bristol Corinthian), the first of the pin enders struggling to get across.  As the race progressed Bolland overtook Keen on the second beat and closed up with Acres downwind.  Was it going to be a repeat of 2014 when they had a coming together in the first race in identical circumstances at the same venue?  No.  Both have clearly matured since then.  Instead they indulged themselves in a hike-off up the last beat.  In a fascinating, and quite frankly painful, contest Bolland’s “unbelievable” fitness won out.  At the finish it was Bolland, Acres and Keen with Paul Watson (Bowmoor) lurking with intent.

Right paid again in race 2 but this time Acres was hunted by Paul Rigg from East Lothian.  Bolland nearly got through on the first set of reaches as Rigg went high and Acres luffed.  They could have carried on for much longer as far as I was concerned.  Unfortunately though they saw sense before doing themselves too much damage.  After this it was a three-way battle for the rest of the race with Bolland covering Acres and Rigg (closely) covering Bolland.  At the finish it was Rigg, Bolland and Acres in that order, with only a few lengths separation.  Alistair “Storky” Mclaughlin from the host club got a fourth.  Highlight of the last lap was Paul Watson getting a shift from heaven on the final beat and moving up a hatful of places as a result, winning “champagne moment of the day” for spotting that one.

Friday morning, day 2, and it’s 14 degrees and pouring with rain, or “high summer” as they call it in Scotland.  Wind forecast 12 to 16 knots from the South.

Report by Steve Bolland




Results are provisional as of 20:07 on August 27, 2017


Sailed: 10, Discards: 2, To count: 8, Entries: 25, Scoring system: Appendix A
Rank HelmName SailNo Fleet Club R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 Total Nett
1st Steve Bolland 411   Bristol Corinthian YC 1.0 2.0 1.0 (3.0) 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 (4.0) 17.0 10.0
2nd David Acres 544   Emsworth & Thornet Island SC 2.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 3.0 3.0 2.0 (11.0) 4.0 (5.0) 36.0 20.0
3rd Paul Rigg 445   East Lothian YC (5.0) 1.0 5.0 4.0 2.0 4.0 3.0 (7.0) 1.0 2.0 34.0 22.0
4th Paul Watson 528   Bowmoor SC 4.0 6.0 6.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 (8.0) 3.0 (13.0) 3.0 55.0 34.0
5th Alistair Mclaughlin 490   Prestwick SC (9.0) 4.0 8.0 (15.0) 5.0 2.0 7.0 9.0 3.0 6.0 68.0 44.0
6th Tim Keen 328   Shefield Viking & Nefyn SC 3.0 7.0 3.0 5.0 6.0 (16.0) 6.0 6.0 (14.0) 9.0 75.0 45.0
7th Steve Sallis 476   Hykeham SC 8.0 5.0 4.0 8.0 8.0 8.0 (14.0) (10.0) 7.0 10.0 82.0 58.0
8th Neil Beveridge 416   Prestwick SC 6.0 8.0 9.0 6.0 (10.0) (20.0) 10.0 5.0 9.0 7.0 90.0 60.0
9th Matt Sargent 524   Thorney Island SC 7.0 (10.0) 7.0 (9.0) 9.0 5.0 9.0 8.0 8.0 8.0 80.0 61.0
10th Richard Le Mare 555   Notts County SC 10.0 9.0 10.0 10.0 (14.0) 11.0 5.0 2.0 (15.0) 14.0 100.0 71.0
11th Ben Green 337   Lymington Town SC 15.0 11.0 12.0 7.0 7.0 9.0 11.0 (20.0) (16.0) 12.0 120.0 84.0
12th Ian Baillie 526   Dalgety Bay (26.0 DNC) (26.0 DNC) 26.0 DNC 26.0 DNC 26.0 DNC 7.0 4.0 4.0 6.0 1.0 152.0 100.0
13th Richard Hargreave 373   Stewartby SC 12.0 (17.0) 11.0 14.0 11.0 14.0 (17.0) 13.0 12.0 13.0 134.0 100.0
14th Thomas Whitehead 374   Prestwick SC 11.0 16.0 13.0 11.0 12.0 10.0 16.0 12.0 (21.0) (17.0) 139.0 101.0
15th Phil Manning 386   Delph SC 16.0 (18.0) 17.0 13.0 16.0 12.0 12.0 (26.0 DNF) 5.0 11.0 146.0 102.0
16th Mark Newton 354   West Lancashire YC 14.0 15.0 15.0 12.0 15.0 (17.0) 15.0 (17.0) 11.0 16.0 147.0 113.0
17th Ben Yeats 502   Chanonry SC 18.0 13.0 16.0 17.0 13.0 13.0 (19.0) 15.0 (19.0) 15.0 158.0 120.0
18th Mark Taylor 531   Prestwick SC 13.0 14.0 (26.0 DNC) (26.0 DNC) 26.0 DNC 15.0 13.0 14.0 23.0 18.0 188.0 136.0
19th Alastair Wood 422   Medway YC 19.0 20.0 18.0 18.0 17.0 (26.0 DNF) (21.0) 16.0 10.0 19.0 184.0 137.0
20th Mark Henman 450   South Sheilds SC 20.0 19.0 20.0 21.0 18.0 19.0 (23.0) 19.0 17.0 (23.0) 199.0 153.0
21st Cameron McIntyre 383   Prestwick SC 21.0 (23.0) 19.0 20.0 20.0 (22.0) 20.0 18.0 22.0 22.0 207.0 162.0
22nd Luke Pepper 540   Hykeham SC 17.0 12.0 14.0 16.0 (26.0 DNF) (26.0 DNC) 26.0 DNC 26.0 DNC 26.0 DNC 26.0 DNC 215.0 163.0
23rd Murray McDonald 332   Prestwick SC (22.0) 21.0 21.0 19.0 19.0 21.0 (22.0) 21.0 20.0 21.0 207.0 163.0
24th Gavin Jeffrey 437   Helensburgh SC (26.0 DNC) (26.0 DNC) 26.0 DNC 26.0 DNC 26.0 DNC 18.0 18.0 22.0 18.0 20.0 226.0 174.0
25th Eamonn Rankin 521   Prestwick SC 23.0 22.0 22.0 22.0 21.0 23.0 (24.0) (26.0 DNF) 24.0 24.0 231.0 181.0



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