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  • Fab new RS300 at 2016 Dinghy Show
In total 187 boats gathered on the south coast for the combined GUL RS Racing Circuit event. The RS 300's gathered together with the RS 800's and RS 600's at Stoked Bay for the second round of the Gul Sponsored circuit events over the weekend of 13th 14th May. The RS 400 and RS 200 were just down the road at Lee On Solent. Those that made the trip were rewarded by magnificent sailing condition even if the wind was just a little on the light side. The light to medium winds blowing mainly from the Northeast swung south during each day and by the Sunday afternoon a sparkling sea breeze was blowing out of the south. The strong tides that are characteristic of Stokes Bay were clearly going to be a factor, and so it proved to be. The three races held on Saturday afternoon were into an ever strengthening tide making when to tack out to sea a critical decision. The first race was scheduled for only one round which made the decisions even more critical and it was Jerry Wales that was first to round followed by the ever improving Scott Butler, Mat "Bilko" Sargent and the winner of the last three events, and hot favourite Will Gulliver. Wales just managed to stay ahead of the chasing threesome down the two reaches with the Gulliver showing awesome downwind speed to get through to second by the finish followed by Butler, Steve Cook and Sargant..
With the tide strengthening in the second race it was critical to take advantage of the slacker tide towards the shore, and this proved to set the pattern for the race. Wales was again first to the first mark followed by the chasing pack of Gulliver, Cook and Sargent. While the racing the racing was close the order remained the same to the finish. The third race into now a strong tide in diminishing winds was to be the most difficult. It was critical to go hard inshore, and whatever the gaps after the first round the fleet came together again as they rounded up back into the current. The same two combatants were at the front with Wales closely covering Gulliver, but Cook was not far behind. The strength of the tide in the light winds was evidenced by Sargent who tacked out to clear his wind suffered as the three who went straight inshore pulled a significant gap. Wales was the first to the windward mark for the last time followed again by Gulliver and Cook. Those a little further behind were to have less wind to help then get round the mark against the tide and a number of good competitors gave up in the face of an unequal challenge. Wales took the race ahead of Gulliver and cook..
Similar conditions greeted the fleet on Sunday morning but with the tide with the fleet for the first leg. The critical decision was therefore when to tack so not to overstand. Sargent always seems to have the edge when close tactical calls are important and it was he who called it right and was the first to the top mark followed as always by Gulliver, Wales and Cook. By the first leeward mark Wales had pulled through to lead but Gulliver was not far behind and Cook chasing hard. Gulliver paid the price for perhaps over working the boat downwind and took an early bath allowing Cook through to second. The finishing order was Wales, Cook, Gulliver and Graham Sanderson up to forth..
The Fifth race was the closest yet. Sargent, in strengthening wind again made the right calls up the first beat to lead Gulliver, Wales and Cook. Wales got past Gulliver down the first reach and set of in chase of the charging Sargent who was suffering with a broken mainsheet block. Wales just managed to squeeze inside Sargent on the penultimate leeward mark to go on to win with the ever-present Gulliver up to second by the finish..
With 5 bullets in the bag Wales bowed out to leave the fleet to fight it out for the minor places. In the final race Gulliver made the right call and port tacked straight out to sea to meet the new breeze coming in from the south to take a significant lead which he was never to lose. Cook took second to secure third overall behind Gulliver with Bilko third.
Overall: 1st Jerry Wales Queen Mary 5pts..
2nd Will Gulliver Oxford 9pts.
3rd Steve Cook Hill Head 14pts. .
4th Matt Sargent RASC 19pts..
5th Scott Butler Hardway 26pts.
6th Graham Sanderson Grafham 30pts.
WALES QUEEN MARY 1 1 1 1 1 10 5 1
GULLIVER OXFORD 2 2 2 3 2 1 9 2
COOK HILL HEAD 374 4 3 3 2 4 2 14 3
SARGENT ROYAL ARTILLERY 443 5 4 5 4 3 3 19 4
BUTLER HARDWAY 354 3 5 10 8 5 5 26 5
SANDERSON 364 6 9 4 9 7 4 30 6
SHAW STOKES BAY 390 9 6 10 6 6 6 33 7
BALE 337 7 7 10 5 8 7 34 8
STEEL ALDENHAM 366 8 8 10 7 9 8 40 9
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