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06/10/2001
Inland Championships Grafham Water SC

RS800 The 33 RS800s arrived at Grafham Water Sailing Club to bright sunshine and the promise of plenty of wind for the weekend of the GUL RS Inland Championships. Race 1 got underway with Geoff Carveth and Jim Dean rounding the windward mark in first, closely followed by Spod Olive and Mike Warren who overhauled them on the second lap to open a comfortable lead to see out the 5 lap introductory race with a win. Carveth/Dean held on to take second with Matt and Geoff Larkin coming through to round out the top 3. The wind had increased to average a F4 for the second race, with regular F5 gusts and 20 degree shifts. Carveth/Dean again took an early lead but a capsize at the first leeward dropped them to 4th behind Paul Jenkins/Colin Hatton, Paddy Gamble/Martin Frary and Lee Sydenham/Anne Vaudry. Sydenham/Vaudry opened a comfortable lead on the second lap to take the win despite a capsize at the 3rd leeward. Steve Irish/Martin Gotrel showed their speed to sail through to second with Jenkins/Hatton taking 3rd. Race 3 saw Gamble/Frary and Jenkins/Hatton do well up the first beat, followed by Andrew Smith and Beck Tobin and then Ricky Tagg and Steve Greaves. By the second windward, Smith/Tobin had sailed a great lap to open a sizeable lead from Sydenham/Vaudry who had pulled through to second and Tagg/Greaves in third. Although the gaps were closing, these positions remained, until a mistake from Smith/Tobin on the tack to the final windward allowed the chasing pair through, with Carveth/Dean taking third at the finish. A drop in the breeze just before the start of Race 4 lulled everyone into the belief that this would be a more gentle finish to the day. The fleet sorted itself out by the end of the first lap with Olive/Warren again opening a lead, only to capsize as the breeze built to a steady 5/6 for the final run and spacer leg to the finish. A comedy of errors then followed as Geoff Carveth/Jim Dean moved into first only to fall over dropping the kite on the finishing leg. Irish/Gotrel had gybed late but an early drop saw them harden up to the finish and take the victory. The Larkins left the drop late to power over Sydenham/Vaudry and move into second, only for them to swim on the drop. Sydenham/Vaudry managed to cross the line and hear the gun for 2nd before completing the hat-trick of capsizes at the finish with a spectacular pitchpole. Carveth/Dean were the first to recover and find a way through the carnage to take 3rd. The altered format for Sunday meant that some fleets could sit out the first race and therefore obviously drink more on Saturday evening - a big mistake as the forecast turned out to be fairly accurate. Sunday morning dawned breezy but slightly later than usual for the RS800 fleet as sat enjoying breakfast whilst the other classes take to the water for the first flight of racing. Race 5 was later started in a gusty and increasing Force 4 and saw Irish/Gotrel establish an early lead. Behind them, the entire fleet seemed to converge on the leeward mark together (fairly interesting with the kites up in a F4 5). Tagg/Greaves kept their nose in front to round in second ahead of Carveth/Dean, with Sydenham/Vaudry managing to get the inside on a recovery from a poor first beat. The race looked to belong to Irish/Gotrel as they opened a large lead, only to swim on the 3rd run. With 7 boats rounding within 50m at the end of the penultimate lap, the race was still wide open. As the lead 4 headed right, the others peeled off to the left and the approach to the windward saw Gamble/Frary moving into the lead and Jenkins/Hatton pulling through to 2nd. Further changes on the run saw Irish/Gotrel take a hard-fought victory from Gamble/Frary, with the Larkins pulling through to third. Finishing just behind Jenkins/Hatton, Sydenham/Vaudry had done enough in 5th to take the Inland Championships with a race to spare fortunate, as they were to suffer a snapped main halyard early in Race 6. The breeze built further before Race 6 with rumours of over 30 knots having been recorded at times on the committee boat. The first beat was mastered by Mike Lasko to round in the lead, again with Carveth/Dean and Irish/Gotrel in the running. Carveth/Dean took the lead, which they held to the finish despite constant pressure from Irish/Gotrel. Jenkins/Hatton pulled through to third ahead of Gamble/Frary with Lasko & crew staying in the running to score a respectable 5th. Grafham Water and their Race Committee have again put on a great Inland Championships with all competitors now needing a good few days to recover from the weekends exertions both on and off the water. Mention must also be made of the Rescue crews who worked hard all weekend, sometimes in far from pleasant conditions, to ensure that all were safe and that the event was a success.
Overall RS800 Results 1. Lee Sydenham / Anne Vaudry Hayling Island SC 13 2. Steve Irish / Martin Gotrel Draycote Water SC 15 3. Geoff Carveth / Jim Dean Hayling Island SC 15 4. Paul Jenkins / Colin Hatton Weir Wood SC 18 5. Paddy Gamble / Martin Frary Hayling Island SC 20 6. Ricky Tagg/Steve Greves Rickmansworth 31 7. Matt & Geoff Larkin Weir Wood 31
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