United Kingdom

Inland Championships Grafham Water SC

  • Fab new RS300 at 2016 Dinghy Show
RS300 On the weekend of 6th & 7th October, the RS300 fleet joined up with the RS family for their inland championships at Grafham Water. With Gale strength forecasts, several of the 25 expected competitors failed to arrive, leaving a fleet of 15 boats to battle it out for glory. With the first race at 12.00 it was a rush to the start, on the far side of the reservoir. The wind was easily a force four, and with the expected build in strength, this was to turn out to be the lightest of the breezes of the weekend!! It was Will 'Hadrian' Gulliver who led at the windward mark, a common sight as it turned out over the weekend. He pulled away from Nick Bolland and Steve Cook, with the rest of the fleet slogging around the course, avoiding the 400s on their way up the beat, and flying down the reaches. Dave Lapes showed he was up for the weekend with 4th place. Race Two was just as hard work on the beats, and just as scary off wind. The tight reaches were quick, the gybes deathly, and the runs, well they were a nightmare. Again it was Hadrian who led the way round, followed by Bolland, with Matt Thursfield leading the chasing group. As the wind increased, the fleet spread out more as the capsizes took its toll on those still continuing with the race. In the third race of the day, Hadrian finally showed his Achilles heel, by putting it in on the 2nd reach of the race, allowing Bolland to take the lead and Thursfield second. The National Champ showed his resolve by passing them both on the next beat only to drop it in again at the next gybe, this time followed soon after by Bolland. Hadrian righted and was on his way before Thursfield passed, and went on to get his third bullet of the day, Thursfield coming in 2nd, Bolland not far behind in 3rd. Steve Cook was leader of the next pack, with Jamie Mawson in 5th. By the time race 4 began, the fleet was physically shattered, and as the wind strengthened, the fitness of the sailors was severely put to the test. Gulliver again shot away, with Bolland again in second. A major shift left those on the port side of the second beat stranded, allowing Jamie Mawson to fly through to third, which he was not to relinquish. Cook again came in fourth giving him a consistent line of results. Sunday brought more forecasts of gales, but an early start gave the Race Officers a chance to get the 2 more races in, before the winds picked up to stupid proportions. An undecided fleet was at the start of race 5, as to which end was favourable, some at the pin, some at the committee boat, others hedging their bets and going for the middle!! It was the committee boat end, which paid quite substantially, allowing Bolland to motor up the beat. But it was Hadrian again who worked the beat best and screamed down the reach ahead of Bolland and Thursfield. The fleet was much closer together in this race, with places changing as mastheads thumped the water around the gybe mark. It was here where both Bolland and Gulliver gybed on a huge gust, Thursfield bearing off to the shore rather than throw the gybe in. The two leaders got wet, Thursfield managing to hold it upright and he sailed into the lead. Hadrian, though, was soon in the wake of Thursfield, and passed him on the final beat. Bolland closed up but failed to take second by the narrowest of margins. Mawson was leading the rest of the field, coming in to take 4th place. Hadrian had now won all five races, Nick was safe in 2nd overall, Cook, Thursfield & Mawson were now battling for third, each having had a bad race on the first day. Race 6 began with a definite pin end bias, Terry Brooks was in the perfect place, but as the wind freshened more, it was the top three who again pulled away up the beat, Gulliver as usual heading the field. Bolland and Thursfield were battling it out as the race went on, and it took a last gasp luffing duel on the final reach to get Bolland through to take second. Mawson had his 3rd good result of the weekend taking 4th. A well run, and very tiring weekend was over but for the prizegiving. The Inland Champ was the National Champion, Will Gulliver, but although the results do not show this, the chasing group are not too far behind. Barry Shotton was first A rigger, in 7th place; a sure sign that the A rig can be competitively sailed against the larger rigs.
Overall RS300 Results 1. Will Gulliver Oxford SC 5 2. Nick Bolland Draycote SC 11 3. Matt Thursfield Chelmarsh SC 17 4. Steve Cook Hill Head SC 21 5. Jamie Mawson Ulley SC 23
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