Jono, Lyn and David Brown’s emphatic overall triumph against top name teams at the Lofoten sponsored RS Elite Nationals marks a deservedly high point for them.
The racing couldn’t have been much better. Hosted by the Royal Lymington Yacht Club under Roger Wilson’s PRO management, conditions varied from light air to full-on breeze, flat water to surfing waves and all under blue skies and sunshine. Saturday in Christchurch Bay will be long remembered – keelboat racing simply doesn’t get much better and three great races with three winners in the 28 boat fleet was the icing.
From Day 1 the Brown’s in Aeolus made their intentions clear. A string of wins, admittedly in their favourite light conditions, while everyone else struggled for consistency took some coming to terms with for the other fancied teams. Gold medallist Mike McIntyre in Foudafafa was the comeback kid of the day to lie second, the position he had to battle to maintain all through the event ahead of Paul Fisk in Legs Eleven, these two having been jousting all year at Hayling.
Day 2 saw Martin Wadhams in Kiss finally topple the Brown’s to win race 4, but their series was blown at the very next start by an OCS. David Wood in Oink Squeal was packing in some great results to lie third overall, but also carrying a DSQ from Race 1 which ultimately cost them heavily.
Day 3 was the classic. With the fleet towed out to the race track ready for the predicted wind to kick in, the Champagne racing commenced after a short wait. McIntyre won the first race of the day with the Brown’s buried (by their standards) in 8th. Could the breeze bring a change in fortunes? Irish champion Stephen Polly won the next race and the Brown’s were 9th, but McIntyre was 5th and he needed better. And then to seal it, the Brown’s won the final race in the strongest breeze of the event, to make their point unambiguous. Best of the day went to Paul Fisk with 3,2,4 while Ossie Stewart in More T Vicar bounced up the board with 4, 7, 2 results.
Day 4 and going into the final race the top spot was sealed but only 1 point separated 2nd to 4th. Cool under pressure McIntyre motored out of the port end, crossed the fleet and was never headed… pretty important as the three boats fighting for 2nd overall filled the top three positions around the track. Fisk claimed 2nd in the race to take 3rd overall.
The RS Elite fleet is also known for its camaraderie ashore and with a packed social programme at this championship sponsored by Kandoo and Kipper Sailing, including free beer one night and rum punch at Nonsuch Bay Caribbean night, most of the fleet now badly need a few days rest in the office before it all starts again at AAM Cowes Week on Saturday!
Overall results – top 6
- 1st Aeolus, Jono Brown, 21pts
- 2nd Foudafafa, Mike McIntyre, 28pts
- 3rd Legs Eleven, Paul Fisk, 30pts
- 4th Storm, Stephen Polly, 31pts
- 5th More T Vicar, Ossie Stewart, 43pts
- 6th Kiss, Martin Wadhams, 45pts