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Results / Weymouth Dinghy Regatta Castle Cove SC - 08/07/2023

RS800 Rooster National Tour event four at Weymouth Regatta, Castle Cove SC 8-9 July 2023

The RS800 fleet congregated on Saturday morning having been depleted to six boats the day before due to Anna Prescott’s illness and Ben Gratton’s foot injury.  The RS800s were in the asymmetric handicap fleet with a handful of RS700s, Cherubs, and 29ers. The asymmetrics were the last fleet to start on a windward leeward course with other classes, including a big fleet of Scorpions, sharing the same beat then reaching off on a trapezoidal course meaning relatively little interaction with the other fleet given the number of boats in Weymouth Regatta.

Race one got off to a delayed start after the race committee worked to get the course set-up in shifty conditions in Portland Harbour.  As the wind shifted and cycled through the first race Joe Bradley and Hugh Shone got their first win of the weekend taking first place from Martin Orton and Ian Brooks.

Race two seemed like it would be similar to the first race, with waves of light rain adding to the cycles of the shifty South Westerly coming round Portland.  However, as the race continued the rain became more intense to the point where several crews were having difficulty telling where the wind was coming from or even where the next mark was.  At this point Mark Oakey and Jamie Pidduck decided to abandon in the hope of finding refuge in the bar.  Unfortunately, when he got ashore Jamie realised that he had left his kitbag in the boat park so had nothing dry to change into!  As the rain died, so did the wind and the race committee wisely decided to postpone after the end of the second race which ended with Martin and Ian leading out Joe and Hugh.Sunday started more promisingly, with the forecast of slightly more wind and less rain.  The race committee got things going promptly for the first race, which was again in the harbour and in conditions possibly even more gusty and shifty than the day before.  Joe and Hugh handled the conditions comfortably to take the win over Martin and Ian.  Further back on the race course the battle for third was tight, with Fred Lord and Louise Gale getting lucky with a wind shift that let them edge out Mark and Jamie by a boat length to take third. 

Race two got underway promptly and looked like it would be more of the same, with a shifty beat up to a windward mark tucked under Portland in marginal trapezing conditions.  The majority of the fleet went left off the start, a tactic that seemed to have paid in the first race.  However, Mark and Jamie spotted what was coming and went right leaving them perfectly placed to capitalise when the wind shifted round to the West and built to a more consistent force four.  The stronger wind meant that by the windward mark the asymmetric fleet was starting to catch the handicap fleet which had started three minutes ahead.  Mark and Jamie capitalised on the shift rounding the windward mark in first place before gybing straight off onto port to head straight down to the leeward mark that was becoming hard to lay due to the wind shift.  Joe and Hugh were the second RS800 round the windward mark but were forced into the near 30 boat Scorpion fleet which was beating upwind having restarted after a general recall. I n the chaos of trying to guide an RS800 downwind through the wall of oncoming Scorpions Joe and Hugh took a swim, joining Martin and Ian who had also found themselves in the water in the carnage of a gusty bear away alongside the non-asymmetric boats that were continuing on a reach to their wing mark.  This gave Mark and Jamie a commanding lead at the end of the first lap.  However, the capsize seemed to light a fire in Joe and Hugh who, having quickly recovered their capsized boat, found impressive boat speed to pip Mark and Jamie on the line.The final race took a while to get underway as the committee adjusted the course to account for the big swing that occurred in previous race.  However, the race was worth waiting for with the reward of sailing in champagne conditions with a perfectly laid course.  Joe and Hugh hadn’t lost the speed that they had found in the previous race, quickly distancing the rest of the fleet.  Fred and Louise traded places with Martin and Ian through the race, but capitalised on Martin and Ian slightly overstanding the final leeward mark to take second.Congratulations to Joe and Hugh on a commanding first place and huge thanks to Castle Cove Sailing Club for hosting a fantastic weekend in difficult conditions.  Thank you also to our RS800 National Tour sponsor Rooster.

The next RS800 Rooster National Tour events is Lymington Dinghy Regatta on 12-13 August.  Entry is now open and space is limited.  Then it’s the Noble Marine Nationals at Brightlingsea in September.  See you there!

By Fred Lord

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