United Kingdom

09/06/2007
Northern Tour Combs SC

  • Fab new RS300 at 2016 Dinghy Show

fter a day of coaching by Ian Baillie on Saturday when the wind at Combs was light, race day dawned with a gentle breeze blowing right down the lake from the east, bright sunshine enhanced the beauty of the surrounding hills. Nine boats assembled ready for a day of racing which was obviously never going to be a "blast" but did promise close tactical racing and a demonstration of the versatility of the RS 300. We were not to be disappointed!

In fact the fleet split into two very distinct halves but racing was so intense throughout the fleet that we have included a "View from the rear" where the racing was just as close.

Race one saw Louis Saunders lead off the line, followed by Paul Thompson, Nathan Poulton and Tim Keen. Saunders was first to the windward mark and held his lead for just over a lap but soon lost it to Thompson, Keen and Poulton after having been caught in wind shadow. Minutes later, Saunders tactically went low on the run and arrived at the leeward mark in first place again. Positions had changed again within the third lap as Keen had passed Saunders on the run and Poulton had caught Thompson for their own battle. Unfortunately for Keen whilst rounding the leeward mark he had pulled in the wrong part of his mainsheet giving Saunders the chance to slip through. Over the last lap the there was very little change with the positions of the top four but there was no room for error as all four competitors finished within 38 second of each other. In the end it was Saunders 1st , Keen 2nd and Thompson 3rd in a very close finish after a nail biting tactical race.

An excellent lunch was provided by the club in a friendly but competitive atmosphere while the sun beamed down.

Race 2 saw the wind die minutes before the start, leaving the frustrated fleet all behind the line. Fifteen seconds after the gun Saunders was the first to cross as he was the only one with boat speed, with Thompson close on his tail. It was a lead he never lost yet the following three constantly competed for the lead. Saunders and Thompson broke away from the fleet early on in the race yet it was not to be as a number of gusts on the down wind leg brought Keen and Poulton up to the front. Thompson was then caught by the two, at the same time Saunders arrived at the leeward mark therefore avoiding conflict.

Thompson, Keen and Poulton continued to slow each other down giving Saunders the clear air he needed to pull ahead on the beat. Again when it came to the run, the three that Saunders had pulled away from caught him to make a very close finish with Keen almost piping Saunders on the leeward mark yet having to avoid hitting his transom whilst rounding by going below him, giving Saunders the advantage on the last mark. At the end the order was again Saunders, Keen, Thompson and Poulton with around 20 seconds between them.

With two races won by Saunders he could not be beaten but second, third and fourth were still wide open.

Thompson had to win the last race to make it a one two for Combs since Keen already had two second places and Poulton two fourths an exiting prospect as the four top boats had always been so close.

Race 3 saw Thompson make a great start and built up a good lead to the windward mark followed by Keen and Poulton. The fickle conditions left Saunders at the back of the fleet after being sailed over the top of on the line. Thompson increased his lead followed by Poulton and Keen while Saunders fought his way back up the order from eighth place. By the end of the first lap Thompson had increased his lead to such an extent that he looked unbeatable. Lap two saw Saunders back in the top four rivalling Keen as Poulton was trying to guaranty his second place. Thompson unfortunately missed a mark, and returned rounding the mark calling water on Keen in second and set off in pursuit of Poulton who was now leading the race. The last lap was now gripping tactically with Thompson chasing down Poulton and Saunders, having sailed through the fleet, getting ever closer to Keen. At the finish line it was Poulton first with Thompson a very close second and Saunders just piped Keen by inches for 3rd place.

This left the overall positions as Saunders, Keen, Poulton and Thompson.

The view from the rear

Most reports only contain details from the leading boats, so this is a view from the back.

The bell went and the nine competitors set off down the beat to the first mark, the top four went for the port end of the line while Marksz and Fletcher went to the starboard end down the first beat, these two battled port and starboard with Fletcher trying a cheeky move but was caught by Marksz and an impact occurred! Whilst this was happening, Francis and Edwards were making their own way down the beat.

As the race went on places between the four kept on swapping about. When Francis (battling with the

300) capsized at the leeward mark allowing Marksz and Edwards to get free whilst Fletcher had to take avoiding action to miss the swimming Francis!

Marksz carried up the beat but sailed into a dead patch on the lake allowing the rest past, with Edwards getting headed at the windward mark allowing Fletcher through. Marksz caught up for an epic battle to the finish line, with Fletcher sixth, Marksz seventh, Edwards eighth, Francis ninth.

Race two started with very light winds at the start with no one in the fleet breaking away. The wind picked up and Francis and Marksz slipped ahead with Edwards and Fletcher battling out. When Fletcher got Edwards on starboard and Edwards tacked off and luffed Fletcher up, collision occurred. So again Fletcher was doing his turns which allowed Edwards to escape to catch the rest of the fleet, when the wind filled in from behind, Fletcher got past Edwards and race two finished, Marksz sixth, Francis seventh, Fletcher eighth and Edwards ninth.

Race three started in light winds again, with Francis getting a good start to lead the back four where he stayed for the rest of the race. The others battled it out for position with Edwards and Marksz coming to blows at the middle mark allowing Fletcher to get away, leaving Edwards to do his turns and Marksz nipped past Fletcher at the leeward mark. At the top mark, Fletcher tacked away to get the stronger wind but it didn’t pay off with Edwards passing him leaving the last race order as Francis sixth, Marksz seventh, Edwards and Finally Fletcher

A great day was had by all with the sun shining and the wind picking up at times to allow for some good racing.

Overall Results:

Pos Sail No Helm Club Pts

1st 460 Louis Saunders Combs SC 2

2nd 328 Tim Keen Sheffield Vikings 4

3rd 332 Nathan Poulton Dovestone SC 5

4th 370 Paul Thompson Combs SC 5

5th 515 John Peters Lincoln SC 10

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