My favourite school report came from my Spanish teacher who once suggested that ‘he should not let his desire to entertain the class get in the way of his learning’. Even my parents liked that one, bless them, and I still managed to scrape an ‘O’ level, perhaps proving that entertainment and learning need not be mutually exclusive. Can the same be said of the RS300 fleet as we look back on the season’s Grand Prix circuit sponsored by Magic Marine?
First lesson of the new term was the Winter Champs in March in the Hykeham SC classroom. I was already in trouble with the Race Officer before the event started with some of the comments I had made about Lincoln in the season’s preview. http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/181436/2015-RS300-Racing-Calendar . Luckily he hadn’t read my additional remarks in the preceding week and I just pointed to someone else whenever I heard my name mentioned. As cunning plans go this was brilliant and seemed to work as he failed to pick me out on the start line. A lovely club but a breezy event that nearly killed us all. Capsizes, broken rudders, groundings and black eyes followed. Sounds normal for Lincoln and there was a very worthy winner at the end of it. ☺
Next up was the Sprints at Rutland in April and boy, was it windy? Getting downwind was ‘tricky’ to say the least with many finding the run down to the start more than enough thank you very much. Normally getting to the windward mark first is an advantage. Not so here as first boat round was often first boat upside down as the bearaways became almost impossible. After three races we were all put on the naughty step for failing to be able to control our boats. Sunday it was even windier so luckily the racing was off. This was just as well as I had found out I was allergic to rum overnight and was feeling out-of-sorts. I blame Declan Clamp for his £80 round of rum and cokes. Pete Ellis was safer downwind than anyone else and therefore won the spoils as well as being teacher’s pet.
What can I say about the Slalom Champs at my home club of Bristol Corinthian in May? Lots of homework went into getting the courses right for lots of slalom match races of 2-3 minutes in length. Lots of effort went into making people swear a lot as a result. The wind was fruity again but a course tweak helped post luncheon. Tim Keen won the replayed final after an initial dead heat. Very hard work but enjoyable, especially for the race teams but we’re going to do it again next year anyway.
We stepped out of the Magic Marine Grand Prix circuit for a standalone Eurocup event at Carnac later in the month with the other RS classes. This was your typical school trip with smoking, drinking and snogging behind the bike sheds. Some of this may be made up; none of us smoke. Great event though in just about perfect conditions. Another worthy winner. ☺
For the June event we once again met up for an assembly with the other RS classes at Parkstone. I didn’t do this one – the current Mrs B had pre-booked the car for a horse event, apparently. Long sails out to the racing area and back again basically meant a lot of homework for everyone, but the racing in between was as good as ever. Once again, pretty breezy. Once again, pretty Tim Keen won.
I was back on speaking terms with Mrs B by July and I had negotiated sole use of the car so I was on for the Nationals. A good event but not enough water. It was good to have a plan B when it was too breezy to sail out at sea but the estuary at Aberdovey has more sand than water when the tide goes out… Dave Acres, ‘It’s just like Emsworth’, won.
We then had August off to go on family holidays and amass enough brownie points to be allowed the car for the remainder of the season. Autumn term started with a Midlands Double-Header at Attenborough and Bartley with the results added together for Grand Prix scoring purposes. Islands (lots of them), windshifts, shallows, windshifts, complicated courses, windshifts and quite a few other 300s, and windshifts made the racing ‘lively’ at Attenborough. Bartley was less lively and more drifty. Pete Ellis won the day at Attenbough with a countdown score of 3,2,1 with Sam Knight winning at Bartley. Tim Keen took the honours for the combined event. I can’t compete with this write-up though – http://myrs300.blogspot.co.uk/2015_09_01_archive.html
The final event of the year was the Inlands at Alton Water in October. It was cold and windy on the Saturday and just cold on Sunday. The race officer set an interesting course both days with the windward mark handily tucked up under the trees on the windward shore. Whenever I looked all the other boats were sailing on lifts whatever tack they were on. I was normally on the other tack. C’est la vie. Sam Knight took the title after winning all three light air races on the Sunday. He loves a drifter does Sam.
Overall winner of the Grand Prix circuit was Tim Keen. He’s normally there or thereabouts having won in 2013 and finished runner up last year. 2nd was Steve Bolland with Rich ‘Mr Purple’ Le Mare in 3rd largely thanks to his early season form.
More importantly though, what did we learn over the course of the year?
- Tim Keen is a sneaky swot .
- Alistair McLaughlin and Mark Taylor will be needing a new set of tyres. Although based in Scotland they did 5 of the 6 circuit events plus the Nationals and amassed over 5,000 miles on the road. That’s commitment (bordering on lunacy).
- Pete Ellis and Richard le Mare should save travel expenses and do alternate events for 2016. Not only did they mostly finish next to each other in the overall results for each event, they often finished next to each other in the individual races too.
- No-one’s going to beat Sam Knight if it’s under 10 knots.
- And just for the record, I am fed up with finishing in 2nd place. 2nd on the circuit, 2nd at the Nationals, 2nd at the Inlands – all to different winners. Must try harder.
Report: Steve Bolland