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22/09/2012
GUL Grand Prix Stokes Bay SC

    The RS sailors had it all this weekend at Stokes Bay SC; sunshine and a light 10-12 knot breeze on Saturday contrasting with torrential rain and gusts approaching 30 knots on Sunday.

     

    In total 26 RS 800’s turned up for the final event of the 2012 RS800 GUL Grand Prix national circuit.  Racing got underway promptly with the gusty and shifting easterly wind making for challenging tactical conditions.  It was a real day for having your heads out of the boat with large gains to be made from calling the shifts. Around the top mark it was James Date and Toby Wincer in RWO who lead from Laurie Fitzjohn-Sykes and Dan Allin.  RWO chose to head in shore to escape the tide whilst Laurie and Dan gybed off in search of extra pressure.  The rest of the fleet were also split downwind, however the two options proved more or less equal at the leeward mark.  Up the second beat the leaders opted to head out right and in to the tide and pressure followed by the majority of the fleet, however Laurie and Dan spotted the wind was shifting left gained a small advantage over RWO by the windward mark.  The new pairing of Stevie Wilson and Bart Bridgen also found their form and played the shifts up the right hand side to lead at the top of the second beat.  With the wind having shifted almost 20 degrees since the start, the last lap became a little processional with little more in the way of place changes by the finish.

     

    The breeze built slightly and swung to the right for races 2 and 3, despite a large tidal variation across the course large gains could still be found by making use of the increased pressure out towards the middle of the Solent and tracking the shifts.  Stevie and Bart showed devastating pace in both races to make it 3 bullets in a day, with Dave Hivey and Rob Partridge ( Sailingtogs.com ), another new pairing also finding form to end the day joint second with Laurie and Dan followed by Justin and Emma Deal in fourth.

     

    Back on shore there were a few tired heads after a testing day on the water but fortunately the friendly hosts at Stokes Bay were on hand with special rum promo offers in the bar and an inflatable jousting arena set up outside.  Given everyone’s competitive nature, it was not surprising that the jousting concluded with an impromptu knockout style competition before finishing of the rum supply back in the clubhouse.

     

    The weather forecast for Sunday didn’t disappoint and as the sailors readied themselves on the shore there were a few nervous looking faces.  However conditions proved to be ideal for skiff sailing with nice rolling waves somehow finding their way up the Solent following the breeze.  Race four got underway following a general recall, it was a day for lighting the afterburners and minimising tactics, Stevie and Bart showed that they had no problems with ignition and led narrowly at the top mark from RWO in 2nd , Justin and Emma in 3rd and Laurie and Dan close behind.  Everyone headed right down the first run in search of flatter water and less tide, the top bunch gybed too earlier for the lay line allowing Laurie and Dan to capitalise and lead round the leeward mark.  By the next windward Laurie and Dan had extended their lead slightly over Stevie and Bart only to find that the race had to be abandoned due the leeward marks not holding station.

     

    Race five followed quickly with the race officer keen to get a race in before conditions became unmanageable.  It was the usual faces showing pace out of the starting blocks with Dave and Rob getting away well from the port end with Stevie and Bart and RWO starting middle and being able to tack off in to the tide early.  Round the top mark it was Stevie and Bart who led and continued to do so to the finish giving them a flawless score line for the weekend.  The real battle therefore was for second place. Laurie and Dan managed to recover from a poor start to fight back to 2nd and despite being pushed hard for the final 3 legs by Dave and Rob, they held it to the finish to take second overall with Dave and Rob finishing third and Justin and Emma Deal in fourth.

     

    The score line means that Laurie and Dan win the RS800 2012 GUL GP Circuit, with James and Toby in RWO in second.  It’s been a fantastic years racing and its great to see so many enthusiastic new faces joining the class.  The class has some great ideas for improving both the racing and the social scene for 2013 including a growing and accessible European circuit. There’s two more events left to go this year so check out the class Facebook page if you fancy getting involved! 

    1 1202 Stevie Wilson Bart Bridgen RS Sailing (1) 1 1 1 3
    2 1124 Laurie Fitzjohn-Sykes Daniel Allin Queen Mary SC 2 (4) 4 2 8
    3 1187 Dave Hivey Rob Partridge Sailingtogs.com (5) 3 2 3 8
    4 1133 Justin Deal Emma Deal Datchet Water SC (6) 2 3 4 9
    5 1089 Roger Phillips Will Crocker EPSC 4 (9) 6 5 15
    6 1195 James Date Toby Winter Port Dinorwic SC 3 (7) 7 7 17
    7 1129 Luke McEwen Emma McEwen Royal Lymington YC (10) 6 5 6 17
    8 1153 Rob Watson John Clifton Shoreham SC 9 8 8 (27/DNC) 25
    9 1182 Andy Jeffries Allyson Ody Eastbourne Sov SC 7 12 9 (27/DNC) 28
    10 1047 Simon Grundy Guy Whitby Hayling Island SC 14 14 (17) 8 36
    11 966 Hugh Watson Andy Watkins Emsworth SC (13) 13 13 11 37
    12 937 Adam Cockerill Ben Hodges Stokes Bay SC 8 11 19 (27/DNC) 38
    13 1099 Alistair Hodgson Sue Ogg Draycote Water SC 12 (17) 14 13 39
    14 1146 Martin Orton Ian Brooks Chichester YC (17) 15 16 9 40
    15 913 Hugh Shone Hannah Tattersall Castle Cove SC 18 (19) 12 10 40
    16 1110 Richard Clampett Grace Clark Stokes Bay SC 21 10 10 (27/DNC) 41
    17 1061 Kevin Barnard Emma Warner South Cerney SC (27/DNS) 5 11 27/DNC 43
    18 864 Ella Mitchell James Morland Weston SC 16 (21) 20 12 48
    19 1157 Kate Devereux Haley Bouma Poole YC 11 20 18 (27/DNC) 49
    20 1121 Oliver Scrimshaw Mark Kudhinski Plymouth Uni 20 16 15 (27/DNC) 51
    21 983 Dan Druce Stu Moore Stokes Bay SC 15 23 24 (27/DNC) 62
    22 1142 Oli Woods Clare Whitehill Itchenor SC 22 18 22 (27/DNC) 62
    23 1058 Toby Linnell Jody Warner Ruffian SC 19 22 21 (27/DNC) 62
    24 955 Andy Smith Katey Malam Stokes Bay SC 23 26 23 (27/DNC) 72
    25 873 Peter Lock Stephanie Lock / Al Dower Southwold SC 24 24 26 (27/DNC) 74
    26 985 Nick Van Tienen Larry Lawrence Stokes Bay SC 25 25 25 (27/DNC) 75
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