by David Smart
RS100 Gul Grand Prix was held at Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club over the weekend, 28th and 29th April 2012. A select group of six hardy sailors attended despite the gloomy forecast, with four races scheduled for Saturday and two on Sunday.
RS100 Gul Grand Prix 2012 at Leigh and Lowton SC
Race one: A gusty first race with the lead changing a few times. Alex Morrison led round the first mark, followed by Sam Vaughn before both going for a swim in a big gust. Mark Harrison stormed into the lead followed by David Smart. Some very close racing ensued, but on the last downwind, Mark stuffed the last gybe to let David through to take the win followed by a late charging Chris Cunningham, with a disgruntled Mark taking third.
Race two: Greg Booth found the shifts up the first beat followed by David and Mark, pretty well rounding the windward mark together. Greg pulled away, but a monster gust took him out, with some synchronised swimming also being practiced by Mark and David. This let Chris through to take the win, followed by Greg and David.
Race three: After a well needed hour’s rest for a late lunch, the fleet took to the water again, with large gusts still coming through. David won the pin end and nearly crossed the fleet. Chris led round the windward mark, followed by Greg, although a port starboard downwind incident led to Chris catching No Rights David’s spinnaker pole sending him swimming. Greg and Chris then scored a full 6.0 for synchronised capsizing, leaving Alex and Sam to take the lead. Sam then fell in, leaving Alex to take the bullet, followed by Mark and Greg. There was then a long wait for No Rights David, while he spent a long time swimming.
Race four: Alex led round the windward mark and went for an early swim. This left the way clear for Chris to storm past in one of the many monster gusts, followed by David which led to some close covering by Chris until David capsized on a gybe, letting Mark through. Chris was well away, so took the safe option of dropping early and tacking round the gybe, allowing him to take the win, followed by Mark with David third.
It had proved to be a challenging day, with big gusts and big shifts testing all the sailors. The closeness of the sailing meant that everyone led the races at some point, so all could rue their mistakes, although Chris won bragging rights with an impressive two first and a second, with David second overnight but with the pack close behind.
Sunday dawned with a little more breeze, around Force five, and some monster gusts with rain and air temperature of four degrees. The hardy soles weren’t desperate to get on the water, but a little chivvying from the Race Officer got almost everyone moving.
Race five was a close first beat for everyone, apart from Chris who had capsized to windward just before the start gun. Alex rounded first, with David close behind. Alex and David hoister, but Mark followed and with a timely hoist and gybe set into a huge gust and surged into the lead. David dropped his kite and tacked round, only to be flattened by a humungous gust which drove his mast into the mud, allowing the rest of the fleet to fly by laughing. Alex sailed well to take the race win, followed by Chris, with a great recovery after the start with Greg taking third.
During Race six some even bigger gusts tracked down the lake. Chris and Greg both capsized before the start, but Alex again succeeded in rounding the windward mark first, but then fell out the back of his boat in a gust. Greg and Mark rounded next, side by side until Greg did an impression of a submarine. Mark copied David’s antics in digging his mast into the mud and watching the fleet vanish in the distance before the mud let go of its gloopy grip. Greg came back with some impressive heavy weather survival sailing to take the win and second overall, with Chris second to secure his overall win. Clearly the best tactic was to capsize before the start. Alex was third in the race to secure third overall and first big rig.
Leigh and Lowton had provided a very warm welcome for a cold weekend and laid some excellent courses, keeping the races short to squeeze them all in.
|1st||122||Chris Cunningham||Paignton SC||2||1||-5||1||2||2||8|
|2nd||172||Greg Booth||Port Dinorwic SC||4||2||3||-5||3||1||13|
|3rd||131||Alex Morrison||Leigh and Lowton SC||5||(DNF)||1||4||1||3||14|
|4th||134||Mark Harrison||Gurnard SC||3||4||2||2||4||-5||15|
|5th||277||David Smart||Chew Valley SC||1||3||-6||3||5||4||16|
|6th||103||Sam Vaughan||Stokes Bay SC||(DNF)||DNF||4||DNF||DNC||DNC||32|
RS Class Association website