12-15 September 2020 - Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy

RELOCATED Volvo Noble Marine National Championship 2020

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Rob Gullan was the lucky winner of the RS800 spinnaker generously donated by Hyde Sails.

Endeavour prize: Fin Armstrong and Sam Jones from Royal Torbay YC

1st Silver:  Tom Walker and Sam Jones from West Wittering SC

Spinlock 1999 prize: Tom Walker and Sam Jones from West Wittering SC

Crews' Union Challenge Coin winner: Calum Healey from HISC

1st Master Crew: Emma McEwen from Royal Lymington YC

1st Master Helm: Luke McEwen from RLYC

1st Youth Crew: Ben Bradley from HISC

1st Youth Helm: Joe Bradley from HISC

1st Lady Crew: Emma McEwen from RLYC

1st Lady Helm: Megan Brickwood from WPNSA

6th: Phil Walker and John Mather from HISC

5th: Hugh Shone and Fiona Hampshire from Swanage SC

4th: Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton from WPNSA

3rd: Luke and Emma McEwen from RLYC

2nd: Rob Gullan and Calum Healey from HISC

1st and National Champions: Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore from HISC

Day One report by Luke McEwen

Day Two report by Tom Morris

Day Three report by Calum Healey

Day Four report by Emma McEwen

Day One of Volvo Noble Marine RS800 National Championship in Association with Hyde Sails

The 2020 RS800 National Championships kicked off in great style with two hotly contested races in Portland Harbour under a warm September sun and sparkling breeze.  The 24 teams include seven ex-National or European champions, four members of the British Sailing Team, four female helms and seven youths.  Experience and wisdom are added to this mix by the eleven Masters (at least we’d like to think so).

Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy have worked hard with the RS800 and RS700 class committees to make the event happen after relocating here at short notice.  It was clear that a great deal of thought had gone into the preparation and procedures so that this first RS800 event of the year could go ahead safely.  The social side is muted by RS standards but just being able to race at all is very good for the soul, especially for those who have been recovering from illness or injury, or working on the Covid wards to save lives.

Race One started in 10-11 knots of wind from the SW.  Despite lack of big fleet practice the fleet got away cleanly with only one boat OCS.  Following the Saltonstall doctrine, most of the fleet headed left towards Portland Bill.  Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore, winners of the Nationals last time the RS800s came here in 2018, tacked early so they were bows-out on the leading pack heading back to the starboard layline.  Their narrow lead at the windward mark turned into a substantial win by the finish.  Meanwhile Hugh Shone, sailing with the previous Weymouth champion crew Fiona Hampshire, plugged away taking places all the way round to finish second ahead of new RS800 team Cam Stewart and Alice Masterman.

The race team led by Arky re-laid the course for the second race as the wind was clocking left as forecast, and building to a nice 12-14 knots, perfect twin wiring weather for RS800s.  Again the front-runners at the first windward mark came in from the left.  This time Hugh and Fiona nailed the port layline spot-on, chased by FX sailors Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton.  Tom Walker and James Curtis were looking good, holding pace with Tom and Guy, but both overstood and then found a cruising yacht blocking their way back down to the layline.  Hugh and Fiona defended well as current champions Luke and Emma McEwen tried in vain to catch them, while Tom and Guy pulled through to third.

Overnight Hugh and Fiona lead Tom and Guy by one point.  There could well be opportunities for new faces at the front tomorrow with three races and a lighter and shiftier breeze forecast.  Watch this space!

Report by Luke McEwen

Up on Y&Y here

Day Two of Volvo Noble Marine RS800 National Championship in Association with Hyde Sails

An earlier start time for racing combined with later Sunday opening at Lidl, immediately left some of the fleet on the back foot as the morning croissant run proved fruitless.  It was going to be a tricky day.

Pre-start there was some twin trapezing, but with the fading forecast such a mode was an increasingly rare commodity as the day progressed.  Race one got away successfully and it was Luke and Emma McEwen who hooked into some nice pressure and a favourable lift from the left.  Out in the lead, with clear air, the McEwens were never really challenged and kept their composure to claim their first bullet of the championship.  Behind, in contrast was a battle royale of position changes as Joe and Ben Bradley pushed yesterday’s race winners hard to finish fourth, just behind Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore, and Hugh Shone and Fiona Hampshire.

By the second race, with the breeze trending downward as per the forecast, the fleet were clearly fighting hard to get their noses out in to clear air from the beginning.  This led to the first general recall of the championships and the deployment of the U-flag for the second attempt.

This time the leader came from the right.  John Mather and Phil Walker, who were first to hitch away from the drag race, got a phase ahead of the fleet and rounded the windward with the best lead of the championship and sailed away from the fleet to become the fourth race winner with four races sailed.  With the boys yachting around on their own the real racing moves were happening behind.  But the story of this race were the gains made by early gybers on the downwind, with both Rob Gullan and Callum Healy and the McEwens making huge gains through the fleet.  These boats made the top three with Tom and Guy battling Megan Brickwood and Stephie Orton for fourth.  Yet, more drama awaited as several boats were met at the finish with silence.  Victims of the U-flag, both Rob and Callum and Tom and Guy were pulled from the results.

At the end of the second day, and the first discard being applied, the big movers were Joe and Ben.  Two fourth places and discarding their gear failure from race two, they jump right in to the top five.  Luke and Emma take over the lead from Hugh and Fiona.

Report by Tom Morris

Day two up on Y&Y here

Day Three of Volvo Noble Marine RS800 National Championship in Association with Hyde Sails

With what promised to be the windiest day of the regatta the fleets headed out to the bay for four races to come.  As we joined the cruise liners in Weymouth Bay we were greeted by a slight South Westerly chop and very little wind.  After an hour and a half of waiting the call was made to sail back into the harbour where we were greeted by a 12 knot South Easterly which gradually built above 15 knots for the races that day.  Racing quickly got underway with Hayling boats leading the way to the first windward mark but Cameron Stewart’s quick exit from the boat left Alice Masterman wondering what she had done wrong and allowed Megan Brickwood and Stephanie Orton to enter the top three.  The girls then managed to overtake Rob Gullan and Calum Healey to take second place.

The second race came to much the same with the top three being the same again with Rob and Calum managing to stay ahead of the girls this time.  The third race came with a slight ease in the pressure, after two laps the race leaders Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore decided they had had enough of that race and sailed through the finish line to victory only to realise they had another lap to go!  Fortunately, they managed to convince most of the top ten that it was a two-lap race who followed them, only to realise their mistake and head up round the finish buoy.

The final race of the day brought a fresh increase in pressure and Tom and Guy keen to make it a prefect day.  With the fleet pushing the line and one boat being caught over the fleet got away, Rob and Calum came in from the left hand side to tack around the windward mark where they managed to stay ahead of Tom and Guy to claim the final win of the day.  They were then closely followed by Hugh Shone and Fiona Hampshire, with Luke and Emma McEwen nipping at their heels.

Going into the final day with a light forecast Tom and Guy lead the pack with eight points and a healthy lead but behind them second to sixth is closely contested with only five points separating the group.  This group also contains the battle for top female crew with Fiona, Steph and Emma only separated by three points!

Report by Calum Healey

Day three up on Y&Y here

RS800 Volvo Noble Marine 2020 National Championship in association with Hyde Sails

Final Day 4 - Overall Report

The final day of the RS800 National Championships dawned bright and sunny with the promise of a light North Westerly wind.  Just two races were scheduled and most sailors were probably grateful for this after the big four-race day on Monday; seven hours on the water racing in 15+ knots.

For those in the fleet young enough to not need a quiet lie-down after such an intense day’s racing, Monday night had seen the only formal social event of the Championship – an outdoor, socially distanced barbecue laid on by WPNSA.  Big incentive to be at the barbecue on time was the prize draw for a brand new crispy spinnaker generously donated by Hyde Sails – this was won by a very lucky Rob Gullan.  Dinner was tasty and welcome but this was a social very much in contrast to a ‘normal’ year’s RS800 style party – no fancy dress, no limbo, no boom-of-doom, no late night dancing… and on the plus side, maybe a few less sore heads on Tuesday morning!

The wind seemed to be blowing nicely but AP was hoisted before most sailors had even arrived at their boats.  We waited ashore as the wind oscillated wildly between South West and North West.  A call for tallies and imminent release prompted all to get into kit and hoist sails.  And then the wait continued (but now in wet-suits rather than shorts & t-shirts…).  Social distancing in the dinghy park was becoming more essential as those staying in their vans were well into day four without a shower.

Finally the wind decided it was going to stick with West as its preferred angle of the day (or at least for now), the Race Officer was happy and the fleet quickly launched for racing in the harbour.

Overnight leaders Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore didn’t have too much of a challenge on to stitch up the National title – one top 12 result would be enough – so they must have been fairly relaxed.   From 2nd to 6th things were somewhat tighter with only four points separating the teams, so every place in the final races was going to be important.

First race and the start got away cleanly under the U-flag and true-to-form Tom and Guy already had the measure of the fleet part the way up the first beat.  They maintained this superior position for the whole race keeping a casual cover on the other boats.  Behind them an epic battle was just starting.  All the top teams converged at the first mark in the leading pack; Hugh Shone and Fiona Hampshire led Luke and Emma McEwen in on the port lay line having thrown in a defensive tack on them.  Rob Gullan and Calum Healey came in from the right and just had the edge at the first mark behind Tom and Guy.  Megan Brickwood and Steph Orton, and Phil Walker and John Mather were in the mix too.  Most boats headed right down the first run in single-wiring conditions.

On the second beat the boats who headed out hard right found a nice band of pressure and closed in on the leaders who had mostly gone further left.  As the left boats made the dash back across to the starboard layline, this time it was Luke and Emma who tacked on Hugh and Fiona leaving them in a tricky position.  Rob and Calum seemed to be safe in 2nd ahead of Luke and Emma but Meg and Steph had made gains on the right and moved into 4th place by the windward.  All the lead boats opted to gybe set to head back to this pressure band except for Luke and Emma who sailed on before gybing on their own line.  This proved surprisingly lucky and they snuck ahead of Rob and Calum who found themselves in a luffing battle with Meg and Steph near the leeward mark.

The last beat involved intense tacking duels between these three boats with Luke and Emma just managing to hold off both boats at the windward mark as a right shift came through at the top of the beat.  They followed Tom and Guy with a gybe set down the run but as the wind continued to veer, Rob and Calum made gains from behind and another light-wind close gybing battle ensued at the bottom of the run – this time it was Rob and Calum who came out ahead as they dropped at the leeward mark to follow Tom and Guy on a white-sail reach to the finish.  Luke and Emma attempted to fly their kite to see if they could catch them but more pressure determined this was not a good idea and a hurried drop and sketchy recovery nearly allowed Meg and Steph though too with just a second between them at the line.

A gap back and then a similarly tight fight took place between the next boats; Joe and Ben Bradley sailed a great race to finish 5th just ahead of Phil and John, and Hugh and Fiona.

Tom and Guy had secured their well-deserved victory.  Maths was required for the following places.  Plenty of time for this as the wind died right off as the fleet tried to follow the committee boat around the harbour for a new course for the next race.  Finally with no prospect of a stable breeze, the last race was abandoned and the scores were fixed. 

Rob and Calum had improved their position and had now tied on points with Luke and Emma.  On count back both teams had the same number of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th places – so it came down to the final race with Rob and Calum claiming 2nd overall.  Meg and Steph held 4th while Hugh and Fiona slipped to 5th.  All so close.

Thanks to WPNSA for running our Championship at such short notice – for providing a very safe environment and highly professional and sensible race and shore management.  Arky and his race team did a great job and thanks go to them and all the volunteers (including RS800 sailors and RS Sailing staff) for manning the rescue and mark laying boats.  Although admittedly the class has not visited another club since November last year, WPNSA have topped the leader board for most spacious dinghy park and most awesome boat-washing hoses.  The post sailing tally-off-pasta was fantastic too. 

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors Volvo, Noble Marine, Hyde Sails, RS Sailing, Rooster and Spinlock for supporting us so well.

Also a special thank you to Clare Sargent for making this event happen – without her determination to find a new venue and pull everything together in a month, we would have missed the most fabulously exhilarating and closely fought four days of racing in near-perfect weather and also the first chance this year to see many of our friends.

To those RS800 sailors who couldn’t make it this year, whether due to Covid-19 restrictions or new babies, we missed you!  We all hope next year will be back to normal and we can look forward to a big 2021 Nationals at Castle Cove Sailing Club in September, not forgetting the Europeans at Garda in June.  We just need someone to sort out a crèche!  See you there J

Report by Emma McEwen

Day four up on Y&Y here

RS800 Fleet                          
Sailed: 9, Discards: 2, To count: 7, Entries: 24, Scoring system: Appendix A                    
1 Gold 1144 Tom Morris Hayling Island SC 37 9 1 -3 2 (UFD[25.0]) 1 1 1 2 1
Guy Fillmore
2 Gold 1124 Robert Gullan Hayling Island SC 54 23 4 -6 5 (UFD[25.0]) 3 2 6 1 2
Calum Healey
3 Gold 1220 Luke McEwen Royal Lymington YC 39 23 6 2 1 2 -7 -9 5 4 3
Emma McEwen
4 Gold 961 Megan Brickwood WPNSA 44 26 -9 7 -9 3 2 3 2 5 4
Stephanie Orton
5 Gold 1231 Hugh Shone Swanage SC 55 27 2 1 3 -18 -10 7 4 3 7
Fiona Hampshire
6 Gold 1207 Phil Walker Hayling Island SC 52 30 5 5 -11 1 4 -11 3 6 6
John Mather
7 Gold 1215 Joseph Bradley Hayling Island SC 82 42 7 (RET[25.0]) 4 4 11 4 -15 7 5
Benjamin Bradley
8 Gold 1154 Cam Stewart Hayling Island SC 84 57 3 9 -12 8 8 8 12 9 -15
Alice Masterman
9 Gold 1171 James Penty Beaver SC 97 63 -19 4 -15 11 9 5 10 13 11
Eddie Grayson
10 Gold 1232 Cameron Moss Lyme Regis SC 97 67 -16 8 -14 14 5 6 13 12 9
Darrol Moss
14 Gold 1045 Claire Lasko Hayling Island SC 130 87 8 14 13 5 15 15 -18 (RET[25.0]) 17
Edward Dyer
15 Gold 88 Ralph Singleton Restronguet SC 131 88 13 -18 7 (UFD[25.0]) 13 12 16 14 13
Mike Chapman
16 Gold 1188 Daniel Goodman Stokes Bay SC 128 90 11 15 -19 6 -19 19 11 16 12
Debbie Clark
18 Gold 1204 Martin Orton Chichester YC/Trearddur Bay SC 148 105 -18 12 17 15 18 17 9 17 (DNC[25.0])
Ian Brooks/Alex Orton
11 Silver 825 Tom Walker West Wittering SC 122 72 17 10 6 (UFD[25.0]) 12 10 7 (UFD[25.0]) 10
James Curtis
12 Silver 1203 Grace Fell Netley SC 111 78 14 11 -16 13 -17 14 8 10 8
Tim Gratton
13 Silver 1131 Madeleine Anderson WPNSA 130 83 -22 (RET[25.0]) 18 7 6 13 14 11 14
Tom Ballintine
17 Silver 1129 Fin Armstrong Royal Torbay YC 139 94 (OCS[25.0]) 16 10 12 14 16 -20 8 18
Sam Jones
19 Silver 1163 Tim Dickinson Hayling Island SC 160 113 15 13 -22 17 16 18 19 15 (DNC[25.0])
Stephenie Dickinson
20 Silver 982 Leo Wilkinson Maidenhead SC 170 120 10 22 8 10 (DNC[25.0]) (DNC[25.0]) DNC[25.0] 20 DNC[25.0]
Toby Bloomfield
21 Silver 1014 Sam Waller Beaver SC 167 126 -20 19 -21 16 20 20 17 18 16
Matt Rhodes
22 Silver 1164 Russ Gibbs Starcross YC 195 145 21 17 23 9 (DNC[25.0]) (DNC[25.0]) DNC[25.0] DNC[25.0] DNC[25.0]
Emma Philips
23 Silver 1011 Simon Clark Lyme Regis SC 198 148 23 21 24 19 (RET[25.0]) 21 21 19 (DNC[25.0])
James Fuller
24 Silver 1008 Ben Palmer Hayling Island SC 202 152 12 20 20 (UFD[25.0]) (DNC[25.0]) DNC[25.0] DNC[25.0] DNC[25.0] DNC[25.0]
Bruna de Queiroz