There were 549 competitors onsite at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy for the RS Feva World Championship, the RS100, RS300 and RS600 National Championship and the RS Aero Youth World Championship. With all competitors flanked by an entourage of family, friends and supporters, the atmosphere in the RS Sailors Hub was positively buzzing. Registration was a hive of activity, with sailors travelling from around the globe to be a part of the RS Games. With an uncharacteristically good forecast for British weather, sailors relished the breeze and sunshine that Weymouth had to offer.
The RS100, RS300 and RS600 Classes enjoyed four great days of racing, with a real mix of conditions.
Congratulations to Huw Powell, our new RS100 National Champion from Red Wharf Bay Sailing Club/ Netley Sailing Club, Paul Watson our new RS300 National Champion from Llanfairfechan Sailing Club and George Smith our new RS600 National Champion from Bough Beech Sailing Club/Medway Yacht Club.
The RS Feva World Championship stepped up a notch with the introduction of Gold, Silver and Bronze fleet, and the racing on the last day went down to the wire. Parents and coaches were desperately trying to calculate points and countbacks from the final day of racing to find out who was to be crowned World Champion. Huge congratulations to Joseph Jones & Charlie Howard, GBR 4102, from Burghfield Sailing Club, our new RS Feva World Champions.
The RS700 and RS800 sailors have begun registering for their National and European Championships, which kick off tomorrow. With a great mix of British and European sailors, it’s set to be a truly international event.
RS Feva World Championship 2022
Report by Lucy Jameson
The RS Feva World Championship 2022 was a true rollercoaster of fabulous sailing, great socials and wonderful experiences for all involved.
Being at the 2012 Olympic Games venue at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, we knew we would get to work with the best of the best. The race team was headed up by Principal Race Officer Mark Woods and together with his team we saw some terrific racing on the water and a great time off the water too. A notable and rather fun addition to the racing was the opportunity to use the amazing MarkSetBots, meaning our racecourse was made up entirely of remote-control electric marks. We did miss our friendly mark layers on the course but using the electric marks significantly reduced the environmental impact.
The qualification series ran over two days and saw a faultless display of boat handling and tactics from Team Finland Freddie Sunderland and Stella Nygard, the blustery, summer winds certainly proving to be their perfect conditions. They were on joint points, behind saw Simon Cooke and Arthur Rebbeck from New Zealand and GBRs Tristian Ahlheid and Finlay Lomas-Clarke, who both carried 2.5 into the final series.
Fears of lack of wind for the first day of the final series were soon quashed as sailors enjoyed another three full races. New Zealand’s Simon and Arthur’s rocket fast downwind boat speed gave them three race wins, but it was behind the Kiwis that the battle for World Champion was really taking place. In the RS Feva fleet, we welcome family team combinations of parent child and such like as we know only too well how much a young sailors confidence can be boosted by this experience but the Worlds title can only be won by Helm and Crew age 18 or under on the 31st December of the year of the event.
It was an event that was decided on the very last race, a total nail-biter for the loved ones watching, no doubt, but the cool heads and determination of GBRs Joseph Jones and Charlie Howard saw them sail through the finish line of the last race far enough ahead of FIN Freddie and Stella and GBRs Tristan Ahlheid and Finlay Lomas-Clarke. In doing so, crowned Joseph and Charlie the RS Feva World Championships 2022.
Conditions throughout the event proved to be the perfect mix to challenge our sailors as they experienced a mix of reasonably light, shifty to decent windy days. The ability and confidence of all the sailors clear for all to see. Throughout Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets sailors appeared to give it everything they had. The RS Feva fleet continues to be a friendly and inclusive class and long may it continue. Happy memories of great racing, superb socials, friends made for life, and so much more.
RS100 National Championship 2022
Report by David Smart
Day three had been hijacked by a Paranoid Android. Would day four suffer the same fate? Top spot was already safely secured by Huw Powell with two races to spare, so he could sit back and enjoy the champagne. However, Andy Jones was mathematically catchable by David Smart, being separated by six points, although Jones’s speed would suggest it would be a tall order. Meanwhile, the battle for 4th, 5th and 6th places was wafer thin after eight races, with a mere two points separating Tom Halhead, Steve Jones and the fast finishing Matt Johnson.
Race nine showed that BetaSmart (read the day three report!) had enjoyed an overnight upgrade. He won the pin and never looked back, except to hope as many people as possible finished between him and Andy Jones. Tom Halhead was also enjoying the slightly lighter Force two to three, to come in second, giving him a strong lead in the four/five/six battle. He was followed by Ian Gregory demonstrating his phenomenal pace when the wind isn’t blowing dogs off chains. So where was Andy Jones? Smart was counting the finishers as they crossed the line, with Clive Eplett then Mark Harrison then Matt Johnson all getting the better of Jones who finished 7th. Johnson had now overtaken Steve Jones to take 5th. Could he overhaul Halhead in the last race?
Smart and Andy Jones were now tied on points, but with Jones having a better count back with two wins, he was getting very worried by the speed of Smart in the moderate breeze, who just needed a 4th and to beat Jones to snatch second overall. The pistols were drawn…
With a starboard bias for race ten, everyone was gathered at the committee boat, with Jones getting underneath Smart and luffing him to a near standstill. Smart tacked to try to shake off Jones and what ensued was a personal battle on the right of the course. There was much tacking, covering, fake tacks, overstanding, shouting and pleading, enjoyed much more by Jones than Smart. Everyone else avoided them and went left. However the right paid, so when they finally arrived at the windward mark, Jones was frustrated that the fleet wasn’t further ahead. A momentary lapse also allowed Smart to hook Jones who had to take a penalty, allowing Smart to chase the pack. Up ahead, Eplett showed that there’s still life in the old dog yet, taking a deserved bullet, with Matt Johnson showing he’s developing some serious speed to take second ahead of Harrison. Halhead held on to 4th to claim 4th overall and stall Johnson’s late charge up the leaderboard. It also meant Smart’s dream of second place was sunk below the waterline. Meanwhile, Jones breathed an enormous sigh of relief that his aggressive tactics against a fellow Chew Valley Lake club member had saved his second place. And before that Jones had seemed such a nice chap… One wonders if the two will be talking again before the Inlands at Chew in October.
Back at shore, the champion, Huw, kindly adopted the role of trolley dolly to welcome the returning fleet. The prize giving ended with a proper podium, with the top three spraying champagne all over each other. Only then did they wonder what would happen if they were stopped by police on the way home with a strong smell of Eau de Prosecco?
It had been a fabulously run event, with some stunning race management by the Race Officer Paul Kimmens and his team together with brilliant shore-side organisation by RS Class Association Secretary Clare Sargent. If you look at the pictures, you’ll also see the weather played ball, if a little aggressively in the first couple of days. Many thanks also to the sponsors: Noble Marine, Allen, RS Sailing, Rooster and Fernhurst Books. Without the sponsors these events are nothing like as enjoyable or spectacular!
RS300 National Championship 2022
Report by Paul Watson
Day one of the RS300 nationals was greeted by a fairly lively 18kts of wind making for a challenging sail downwind to the starting area. A few boats took this opportunity to check how clean the underside of the hull was, an excellent tactical decision as it's generally faster than doing it during the race.
The first race got under way under a U flag with a line shy fleet. Fleet stalwarts Dave Acres and Steve Bolland hit the left while Paul Watson, Harry McVicar and Rich Le Mare went right. It turns out none of this would matter as fleet newbie Charlie South sailed pretty much up the middle at roughly twice the speed as the rest of us. Charlie hung on until the finish closely followed by Dave, Steve and Paul.
Race two again saw a pretty safe start from the fleet. This time most boats elected to go left. By the windward mark it was again Charlie leading, closely followed by Paul with Dave and Steve close behind. At the end of the lap they were nose to tail going into the second beat.
Charlie and Paul then put the afterburners on to give themselves a little breathing room. Charlie held on to the finish for a perfect score line with Paul second, Dave third and Harry fourth. Steve was last seen checking the underside of his hull having not done a thorough enough job pre-start.
At the daily prize-giving generously sponsored by Allen Charlie received his gold bib and day one winner prize of t-shirt while Dave was awarded second place blue bib, and Paul third place red bib. Chris Hatton ended a solid day's sailing with mid-fleet hero prize of sailing gloves.
Ben Heppenstall won the endeavour prize of sailing gloves while Tom Moore was awarded a wooden spoon for missing a mark...
Every day sailors will be able to win Allen sponsored prizes. Prizes can only be won once so the joy will be spread throughout the fleet.
RS600 National Championship 2022
Report by Jamie Mawson
A healthy fleet of 21 boats headed out for their first day of racing in a solid 18-20 knots and relatively flat water - perfect conditions for RS600 sailing. With the line biased to starboard but the left side looking favoured, the sailors had plenty to think about in the pre-start.
Race one saw defending national champion George Smith first to the windward mark, going fast despite recovering from Covid. Next was Simon Hibbert in a recently acquired boat, then inland champion Jamie Mawson. George held the lead throughout, with Jamie passing Simon on the run to take second.
Race two saw a big left shift towards the top of the course resulting in boats planing in fast on the port lay line, pipping the boats coming in on starboard. Tactical experience clearly showed as the first two sailors both qualified for the recently introduced Grand Master category.
Scott Holland was first round followed by Ian Montague then George. Scott capsized on the run following a tussle with Ian, allowing Jamie to catch up. The order round the leeward mark was Ian, Jamie and George. George showed a master class in upwind sailing and was way ahead by the last windward mark, by which time Jamie had passed Ian. Final order was George, Jamie and Ian.
At the Allen sponsored daily prize-giving goodies went to day one winner George Smith, mid-fleet sailor Jamie Watson and endeavour for day one to Tim le Couillard. The fleet then had a busy evening of AGM and fleet meal out with the RS100s and RS300s at The Boat That Rocks
Sailors arriving at the dinghy park were greeted by the wind whistling through the masts and for a while it genuinely looked like the day could be blown out. However a final black cloud squall blew through just as boats were preparing to launch and the wind settled to perfect conditions of around 15 to 18 knots all day.
The scheduled three races were completed, with perfect race management by the very slick WPNSA team. Once again George Smith showed his dominance of the class taking all three race wins. Jamie Mawson continued his run of 2nds, with the only blemish coming in the form of an OCS. Ian Montague has moved up into third overall with consistent results. The fleet benefitted from the welcome return of Ian "Jubby" Jubb who despite not having sailed an RS600 for many months immediately found great pace to score a second and third.
In the final race the harbour was filled with what can only be described as a swarm of RS Fevas (nearly 200 of them!) emerging from for their later race schedule. This certainly made things interesting down the final run.
At the Allen daily prize-giving the endeavour prize was awarded to Bradley Field, mid-fleet hero to Ian Marshall and day one winner prize was rolled down to second placed Jamie Mawson, with wooden spoon going to Jamie Watson. The fleet then went for a curry together.
With a lighter forecast for the next two days things could get shaken up at the top and despite George's clean sweep of wins things are not quite all over yet.
RS Aero Youth World Championship 2022
Report by Peter Barton
The wind was howling as sailors awoke on Day 1 of the first RS Aero Youth World Championship at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy. With an average wind speed of 20-22kn the 73 entries representing 12 nations were sent out on the water mid-morning for three races inside Portland Harbour.
The breeze and short chop created some really challenging conditions. Sailors needed to wary as the wind flicked both left and right during racing, together with all the regular oscillations and gusts. The triangle/sausage course was set for Day 1, which provided all angles.
The first winner in the 53 boat strong RS Aero 5 fleet on Day 1 was Anouck De Ripainsel (BEL). After three races Tom Ahlheid (GBR) had taken the top spot with a commanding 3,1,1 ahead of Julius Graudums (SWE) with 2,2,4. Sam Blaker (GBR) had a great day to take 3rd overnight with a 5,3,3 putting him a few points ahead of David Peaty in 4th.
In the RS Aero 7s it is Lithuania leading the fleet with Vejas Strelciunas (LTU) scoring 1,2,1. Tim Hire (GBR) holds 2nd with Matt Banbrook (GBR) 3rd and Jack Miller (GBR) 4th, whilst Alastair Brown (GBR) took the win in Race 2.
The wind is set to soften over the next couple of days allowing opportunities all competitors to shine. Glorious blue skies are forecast too - the Sardinians will be pleased to see the sun again after a cloudy windy day!
Day 2 began as promised, a day with opportunity for some of the smaller sailors to claw back a few points after a breezy day 1. This time the race course was out in the expanse of Weymouth Bay providing some lovely waves to catch on the down winds. Race officer Paul Jackson set the inner and outer loops course for the two fleets, the RS Aero 5s and RS Aero 7s.
The first race of the day, Race 4, was held in about 10kns with sizable oscillations in direction between west and north-west. However by 14:00 in time for Races 5 and 6 the breeze backed to a more stable south-westerly of 14-17kns.
Both fleets saw the importance of consistency to stay in the lead groups, together with several sailors climbing the fleet by managing to step it up on Day 2.
In the RS Aero 7s Vejas Strelciunas (LTU) extended his lead with a solid 3,1,1. Alastair Brown (GBR) jumped up the score sheet to 2nd with a 2,2,3 and Tim Hire (GBR) kept in touch with a 4,4,5 for 3rd. The big mover today was Filippo Vincis (ITA) with a race win to score a 1,3,4, sharing 4th overall with Jack Miller (GBR) who took a 2nd in the last race.
Luca Mitchell (GBR) was pleased with his 6th in the first race and keeping his top ten placing overnight; "I managed to challenge the big lads in the first race and then hung on as the wind piped up! The sun came out, sunscreen went on and we saw dolphins too - another glamour day!"
In the RS Aero 5s Tom Ahlheid (GBR) extended his lead with a 3,1 but also had a big one in the middle race with consistency hard earned in the 53 boat fleet with a changeable wind. The mover of the day was Jonathan Bailey (GBR) with a 1,1,8 to jump to 2nd overall, currently a few points clear of Sam Blaker (GBR) and David Peaty (GBR).
Jonathan Bailey summed up a tricky day out on the Bay; "Today's wind was very tricky with some big 40 degrees shifts making decisions on the beats difficult, while the varying wind strength meant being on it with moving the sail controls was very important. The hardest part of the day was the starts with light wind in the first race making it hard to get off the line and the black flags in the last race causing big mid-line sag."
The breeze looks set to be lighter again tomorrow on Day 3 providing something for everyone, making comebacks possible and creating challenges to those hoping to hang onto their leads.
Day 3 was another tricky day for the 73 RS Aero competitors at their Youth World Championship. With a maximum of 10 knots and some big shifts, the race course was full of opportunity beyond just a boat speed match, thus providing further variety to this championship so far Two more races, Races 7 & 8, were completed.
In the RS Aero 5s Tom Ahlheid (GBR) retains his lead with a couple of solid counters whist Jonathan Bailey (GBR) continued his charge with a 1,4 to close the gap to just 2 points. Sam Blaker (GBR) has a solid 3rd overall with a stead series so far.
The story of the day was the big climbers. Teddy Dunn (GBR) of the Isle of Man bounced up to 4th with a 9,2 and Thomas Kuntze (FRA) to 6th with a 2,9. Abby Hire (GBR) stepped up to be lead Female in 8th with a 10, 3 whilst Noa Moskovitch (GBR) was another sailor revelling in the lighter conditions with a 7,8 to leapfrog up 10 places! They say you are only as good as your last race and it was Lily Barrett (GBR) who won that in the RS Aero 5s today.
Abby Hire (GBR) summed up the challenges in the 53 boat RS Aero 5 fleet; "The tactics of Race 7 were dominated by a strong left hand shift, which made keeping a lane off the start line even more important. The shift benefitted those who went left; meaning the next upwind was catch up for many others. It was a day of high mode in the flat water, keeping your head out the boat for shifts and pressure and to keep chipping away as opportunities were plentiful. Race 8 saw the wind drop further, making the shifts even more critical in sailing the best course. The Race was shortened so the finish was at the windward mark of the second lap."
The RS Aero 7s also saw new faces at the front of the fleet gaining points on the leaders. The Race 7 went to Vejas Strelciunas (LTU) again, business as usual. In Race 8 Davide Mulas (ITA) showed his light wind speed to tqke the win. That left Davide 2nd on the day's results with 5,1 just behind day winner Tim Hire (GBR) with a solid 2,3.
Carl Furhoff (SWE) gained a 4th in Race 8; "Today was mostly light winds with the need to keep track of where the wind was coming from and where the most breeze was located. It was important to tack on the wind shifts, which proved vital in the last race."
Jack Miller (GBR) had a steady day retaining his 4th overall; "The RS Aero fleet launched in about 10 knots of wind from the South East to race Portland Harbour today with plenty of space for the inner and outer loops course again after the 170 RS Fevas cleared the track after the last race of their Worlds.
The wind was relatively constant for Race 7 but with some shifts. The corners of the course seemed to pay and leaders came from both sides, the top 7 were relatively close with plenty of overtakes occurring.
Throughout the day the wind was dying, Race 8 was started in about 8 knots of breeze with a bit of starboard bias. The Italians got off to a flying start, however Filippo Vincis (ITA) was over the start line early. With the series leaders out of the mix at the first mark the win was up for grabs and it was Davide Mulas (ITA) who held his lead to take the winners gun."