We are lucky enough to have not one but two event reports for the Slalom. Report number one by event organiser and RS300 joint Chair Steve Bolland and report number two by 2015 and 2016 Slalom Champion Tim Keen. Enjoy!
Report One by Steve Bolland
It’s funny what pressure does to a man. One minute you’re sailing along serenely, then you look across at your opponent, see he’s slightly ahead and all hell breaks loose. You begin to use too much rudder in the tacks trying to speed up which inevitably slows you down. You cross over on the reach and look into the whites of your opponent’s eyes, hope for a gust downwind,look over again and the pressure mounts…
15 sailors experienced this at the Magic Marine RS300 Slalom Championship at Bristol Corinthian YC last Saturday. There used to be a football saying that “You don’t have to be mad to be a goalkeeper, but it helps”. Likewise for RS300 sailors and it probably helps to be completely unhinged to do it over a restricted 60m slalom course, racing one-on-one, mano a mano, match-racing style.
The fleet was split into 2 seeded leagues for the first round robin series in the morning, racing taking place simultaneously on two adjacent courses in ideal conditions, wind in the middle to late teens in knots. The average race time was around two and a half minutes and moving serenely into the gold fleet for the afternoon racing were Pete Ellis from Stewartby WSC and Steve Bolland from the home club both with a 100% win record. They were joined by Tim Keen and Dave Acres, playing the long game like Italy in major tournaments, starting slowly but hoping to peak later on. Also joining them were Mark Taylor, Paul Watson, George Cousins and Richard Fryer.
With the wind dropping off as the afternoon wore on the silver fleet were experiencing some incredibly close racing – many matches going down to the wire and decided only by the odd second or two. Ian Clark, Stuart Woodger and Dan Treloar did best.
On the gold fleet course, “Pistol” Pete Ellis initially carried on as he left off in the morning with another three straight wins before coming up against a resurgent Keen. After 7 races each the top four to progress into the semi-finals were Keen, Ellis, Acres and a surprised Fryer who was already dismantling his boat when told.
Two close races saw last year’s slalom winner Tim Keen and National champion Dave Acres progress to the final. Ellis saw off Fryer in the 3rd/4th place play-off and the scene was set for an extremely close double-length final. Unfortunately (especially for Acres) Keen hadn’t read the script and raced away to win comfortably (again).
All that was left was to collect the prizes (locally-sourced cider and cheese, this is Somerset after all) and to thank the race teams (Izzy Savage, Paul Williams, John Teague and Chris Appleton – RS200/400 sailors all) for fitting in a total of 102 races during the day.
Youtube footage here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVX3RfcNv5Q
RS300 facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/55859303803/
RS300 website – http://uk.rs300sailing.org/index.asp?Fleet=RS300
Report Two by Tim Keen
It was the second running of the RS300 Slalom Championships at Bristol Corinthian YC and 15 competitors from 3 countries turned up the battle it out for the magnificent prize of 5 litres of bendyleg cider and smelly cheese.
First obstacle of the day was to get through the briefing and getting everyone to understand the course and that one race with 8 tacks up 2 beats alongside 2 runs would take under 3 minutes.
In the morning’s races the 15 competitors were divided into 2 groups to sail a round-robin format to select who would got through the gold and silver fleets in the afternoon.
The silver fleet consisted of Ian Clark, Stuart Woodger, Dan Treloar (camera man), Tom Moore (team Wales/Africa), Ben Green, Alister McLaughlin (one half of team Scotland) and Garry Morris.
The gold fleet battled it out between themselves with early casualties including Paul Watson, Mark Taylor (second half of team Scotland), George Cousins and shockingly Steve Bolland.
The semi-finals were straight knock out between Tim Keen (2015 winner) and Rich Fryer, and Dave Acres and Pete Ellis. Keen beat Fryer and Acres beat Ellis.
In the 3rd and 4th run-off Fryer took an early bath which meant he was disqualified and Ellis went on to the win.
The final between Tim Keen and Dave Acres would be a double length race to decide the champion. It was a bit of a one-sided affair as Keen got the better start and slowly pulled away to win.
The main credits for the weekend go to Steve Bolland and Bristol Corinthian YC who planned and prepared a brilliant event, and to get through 102 starts over the 2 courses like clockwork.