RS600 Gul Grand Prix at Aldeburgh YC

RS600 action
Debbie Darling
RS600 Gul Grand Prix was hosted by Aldeburgh Yacht Club over the weekend of 23rd and 24th July 2011.

To the sound of breaking waves on a shingle beach, the 600 fleet descended on Aldeburgh Yacht Club for a new East Coast destination on the calendar.

The breezy forecast did not disappoint with a strong north-westerly F5 and even gusting up to F6 at times. This along with the large breaking waves seemed to put everyone off launching down the steep stony beach, and after seeing the safety boat swamped in the breakers many were unsure about launching. Mark bit the bullet and went first but in an event of serious bad luck saw his boat return to the repair shop after a rogue wave smashed him into a 400 transom. Pete and Rich followed cautiously after and capsized in the surf but luckily came out unscathed. George and Dan were the last of the fleet to launch (leaving the whole 400 fleet still looking on nervously from the shore) and managed to get out cleanly through a break in the waves.

Race one: Jamie led from the start, heading off to the shore with George, Pete and Richard close behind. Meanwhile Dan tacked off and headed straight uptide, hoping to get lee-bowed and gain an advantage at the first mark. This was a decision which soon showed to have been a bad one, as Jamie rounded the mark first with a fair lead on the middle pack, a lead which extended throughout the race to give him a convincing win. At the end of the race it transpired that Richard was OCS at the start, moving Dan up to fourth after a long slog around the course.

Race two: George got off to a flying start leading the whole fleet up the left of the beat towards the shore. Jamie was hot on his heels with both of them trading places multiple times around the course. George eventually powered his way past Jamie on the final reach but with victory in his grasp a loose tail from his kicker strop jammed his mainsheet allowing Jamie to duck his transom and shoot over the line for another win.

Race three: The breeze had dropped significantly and despite being turtled with one minute to go, Dan being the lightest in the fleet made good progress up the beat and closed the gap behind Richard. The fleet stayed very close throughout the race, with everyone having a chance of leading in the flukey wind. On the final leg Jamie streaked away once again for his third bullet from Pete and then George, with Richard and Dan close behind.

In the evening the 600 fleet joined with the 400s for an excellent meal of Paella and then Chocolate Mousse laid on by the galley staff of AYC. It was great to mingle with and get to know the much larger 400 fleet, with copious amounts of beer and chatter being enjoyed by all!

As we arose in the morning with ‘cider eyes’ as George described it, the swell on the sea had grown with the breaking waves looking much more sinister than the day before. The race office made the sensible decision to cancel racing on the sea and with the wind blowing westerly at 20 - 25kts, sent us up river for a slightly unconventional but very enjoyable course.

Race four: The combination of the gusty conditions, strong tide and narrow river with moored boats up the outside made for a lot of short tacking close to the shore with good boat handling skills rewarded. George was going well but misjudged the depth and had to abandon ship to prevent damage. This resulted in a capsize but it wasn’t long before he had found his speed again, and powered past a featherweight Dan who was struggling in the strong gusts. Jamie once again kept his cool and powered away into the distance for another convincing first place.

Race five: As the tide was slackening off, and with the breeze still blowing strong and shifting all over the place, Pete shot off the now biased line and covered Jamie up the first beat. After rounding the second mark he extended his lead and held it around the whole course taking his first and well deserved win of the weekend.

Race six: The breeze had dropped slightly, once again allowing Dan to regain control of his boat. The fleet was not as spread this time, but George made a mistake and capsized on the gybe mark of lap one, allowing Richard to pass him and Dan to close the gap considerably. By the end of the lap the three were neck and neck but as the tide had now turned, Dan took the outside bend of the river and gained a large advantage over George who went up the other shore. By the end of lap two Dan had a lead on Richard and was chasing down Pete, but went too far up on the corner of the river, a move which Richard capitalized on and powered through straight underneath to regain his position. Jamie had pulled out another extensive lead from Pete and took the win again. Richard rounded the final mark five seconds ahead of Dan and headed straight for the pin end of the line, whilst Dan tacked straight off and aimed for the committee boat. Dan pipped Richard to the line by a second to take his best result of the weekend.

Many thanks to AYC for hosting the event, we had a great weekend and look forward to returning for more events in the future!

Results:
RankBoatSail NoClubHelm NameR1   R2   R3   R4   R5   R6   Total Nett
1stLivingwell Health Clubs962UlleyMawson, Jamie1.01.01.01.0(2.0)1.07.05.0
2ndMethuselah Mouse920NorthamptonNelson, Peter2.0(3.0)2.02.01.02.012.09.0
3rdAll Good Fun897Bough BeechSmith, George3.02.03.03.03.0(5.0)19.014.0
4th 867GrafhamBroughton, Richard(6.0 OCS)4.04.04.04.04.026.020.0
5thLove Gun960BlackwaterSaltmarsh, Dan4.0(5.0)5.05.05.03.027.022.0

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