Steve Bolland wins RS300 UK Nationals

RS300 Nationals 2008

On Day 1 the fleet was rewarded with bright sunshine and a pleasant 12 knot south-westerly. Race 1 started with mayhem at the pin end . Ian Smith extricated himself better than most to lead the fleet away to lead at the first mark ahead of Steve Bolland and Ben Yeats.

Yeats came through at the wing mark with a beautiful gybe and stayed ahead on the broad second reach as the rest of the fleet closed up. Bolland pulled through on the second beat, a lead which he held to the finish. Yeats finished second ahead of Will Crocker .

Richard LeMare and Neil Beveridge arrived at the windward mark together for race 2. By the end of the reaches, though, Bolland had shown the benefit of getting practice in on the lumpy stuff and had taken the lead. Andrew Ritchie was also showing impressive downwind form to move into second place.

Slightly less wind for race 3. Crocker took best advantage of the wind going left at the end of the first beat and led the fleet down the first, tight, fast reach ahead of LeMare, Yeats and Bolland . By the end of the race Bolland had pulled clear and finished ahead of Crocker, Yeats & Ritchie.

After two lost days due to gale force winds one of which involved rescuing the RS600s that had ventured out, the RS300 fleet was positively chomping at the bit to get some more racing in on the last day of its National Championship in Abersoch. For once all the forecasts agreed and the fleet set out in a breeze which eased to around 12 knots as the day progressed.

In race 4 Bolland slammed into the back of a wave on the first reach while leading and chucked it in. However, some unbelievable carnage on the run involved his closest challengers Crocker & Ritchie & evened things out somewhat.

By staying upright and staying out of trouble, Beveridge & LeMare were holding a sizeable lead at the end of the first lap. Bolland was back up to fifth with Crocker close behind. By the end of the second lap the order was Beveridge, LeMare with Bolland up to third and Crocker in fourth.

A nice left shift up the last beat saw Crocker move in to third position and challenge the leaders, but Beveridge and LeMare hung on .

Making the most of another good start, Beveridge again led at the first mark of race 5. With Crocker next round ahead of Bolland it looked game on in the battle for the championship, but Bolland came inside Crocker on the run . Bolland held on to his lead to the end of the race to finish ahead of Beveridge, Ritchie, Crocker.

In slightly less breeze, Bolland made no mistakes in race 6. Taking the pin end of the line he crossed the fleet on the first shift and led from start to finish. Ritchie kept him honest by remaining within striking distance throughout. Behind the leading pair were Keen, Smith,

With the championship already won, Bolland nevertheless stayed out for race 7 to ensure the rest of the fleet didn’t have all the fun. As luck would have it, he repeated his feat of the previous race and with the pressure off he won by half a leg. Yeats, kept up his impressive form to finish in second with LeMare in third.

Overall, a resounding win for Bolland counting a string of first places. With very nearly half of the fleet participating in their first RS300 Championship (including 2nd and 3rd placed boats) the future is looking good.

Special thanks to South Caernarvonshire YC for hosting a memorable championship despite the weather and particular thanks to Race Officer Tim Little and his team who set impeccable courses throughout, made the right calls when the weather became troublesome and turned the fleets around smartly to avoid unnecessary delays. Thanks also to the sponsors GUL and Harken.

RS300 - Overall leading results

1st Steve Bolland Bristol Corinthian YC 6 pts
2nd Will Crocker Emberton Park/Beaver SC 19 pts
3rd Andrew Ritchie Hykeham SC 28 pts
4th Ben Yeats Chanonry SC 29 pts
5th Richard LeMare Draycote Water SC 35 pts
6th Tim Keen Sheffield Viking SC 36 pts

Other prizewinners

Top club – Draycote Water SC
Top buddies – Chris Massie & Barry Steel
Biggest improver – Phil Underwood
Youth – Alex Lomas
A rig – Alex Lomas
Probationer – Will Crocker
Master – Ian Smith
Silver division – Alex Lomas