As we woke from our slumber we had sunshine, blue skies, the view of the shingle beach rolling into the sea and the French on the horizon! Welcome to Down’s sailing club, famous for the landing of Julius Caesar and a pier the same length as the Titanic.
After a breezy Saturday and a few of the “Seaside” ales expectations were high for the RS Aero Eastern Area Championships. As we launched the breeze was there although considerably less than the day before.
The first race was all about getting the tide right for the first beat. Ben Rolfe and Andy Hill not only had speed but made good decisions around the course followed closely by one of Lymington’s youth sailors Tim Hire. Local lad Rob Freeland was onto pace for much of the race only losing out the Rolfe Snr on the finishing line.
In race 2 it was the turn of the ex RS Tera sailors with Tim and youth newbie to the RS Aero Ned Stattersfield pulled away from the fleet. Ben hung onto their tales and secured 3rd place.
As the day went on and the tide begin to ebb so the wind also started to fade. Fortunately there was just enough to get 2 more races in although towards the end it was looking highly marginal.
Race 3, Ben took the early lead making good decisions upwind by closely followed by the light weight youth squad. Ned managed to catch up with Ben in the later stages of the race with Ben succeeding from an intense gybing battle. This coincidentally gave them significant distance over the rest of the pack who just watched!
In the final race Ben decided to head in an get the charter boats packed up early whilst the rest of us faced another drifting battle with the downwind leg getting longer an longer as the wind dropped with some tide still remaining. This gave Tim the chance to take glory by winning the race (and Championship on count back) having held off Ned throughout the race with the senior contingent of the fleet merrily drifting in their wake.
Well done to Tim securing victory and showing how to use transitions effectively downwind. Nice to see two 15 year olds topping the result sheet in 1st and 3rd. With 21 year old Ben in 2nd too, the youngsters were certainly having their day! Well done to Tim, Ben and Ned! The ‘old guard’ is going to have to keep upping their game!
Thank you to Downs Sailing Club and their RS Aero fleet for being as welcoming as ever!
- 1st – Tim Hire, Royal Lymington YC, 5pts
- 2nd – Ben Rolfe, Burghfield SC, 5pts
- 3rd – Ned Stattersfield, Wells NTTS, 6pts
- 4th – Andy Hill, Hayling Island SC, 11pts
- 5th – Nigel Rolfe, Burghfield SC, 11pts