Thursday – Day 1
Race 1 – After two hours of sailing to the race course in the open sea and waiting for the RS300s to start under black flag the RS Vareos raced their customary windward leeward course in light shifty breeze race. Race ne was won by last year’s National Champ Matt Yallop with Andy Howard 2nd and Paul North 3rd.
Race 2 – Nick Crickmore showed his colours with Paul 2nd and Andy third. Nick got a significant lead on the beat due to a nice shift in the wind strength on the right hand side of the beat. Leading results from day one: Andy and Paul joint leaders with 5 points each.
Friday – Day 2
More light winds outside the bar.
Race 3 had the steadiest wind of the day allowing completion of 2 full laps with Nick keeping close cover over Matt most of the way round to take first again. Andy never far behind got third.
Race 4 started in more wind during which Matt got away. Andy excelled as the wind dropped to get ahead of Nick but did not manage to catch Matt who took the win. Andy was third again.
Race 5 less wind made it difficult to progress against the short chop upwind with Matt / Andy / Nick finishing order again. Matt was overnight leader with 8 points, Nick and Andy both with 10 points following.
Saturday – Day 3
Massive waves and wind encountered outside the bar today.
Race 6 – Cheryl Wood found good speed to lead at the windward mark from Matt and Nick. Offwind Cheryl took a deeper course with spinnaker and Matt went higher with his to try to take the lead, but got swallowed by the ocean attempting to gybe. This sobered the others into stowing their spinnakers for the remainder of the run (and the second run later). Nick looked set to pass Cheryl when she capsized upwind but she retained her lead due to a speedy recovery and took the Race 6 win, with Nick the only other finisher. With numerous breakages including Cheryl’s boom shortly after finishing the Race Officer directed the fleet ashore after the one race. The RS Vareos packed away for the day not realising potential for further racing in the estuary later. Cheryl back in contention!
Sunday – Day 4
With no improvement to conditions outside the bar, 2 races took place in the estuary. The competition was getting intense with the normally well behaved fleet being to subjected to a black flag.
Race 7 – over 3 laps with Matt showing good speed upwind but Nick regaining the lead on the runs and Andy never far away, Nick took a small lead towards the end to win with Matt just regaining 2nd from Andy on the line.
Race 8 – Nick and Matt playing winner takes all – Matt got to the windward first with Nick sandwiched between Cheryl and Andy behind. Nick gybed off and managed to regain a close 2nd to Matt for the second beat for a gybing duel for the trophy. Matt pushed far right for the final split but found some rocks to put him over allowing Andy, Cheryl and Chelsea to pass and Nick to win the final race of the event making Nick Crickmore the Volvo Noble Marine RS Vareo National Champion 2015.
Thanks to everyone at Dovey YC, in particular Race Officer Rupert Tildesley, for putting on a great championship and also to the generous sponsors Volvo and Noble Marine.
Next year’s Nationals are at Llandegfedd SC 27-29 Aug 2016. The next RS Vareo event is the RS Vareo Gul Inland Championship at Llandegfedd SC 19-20 Sept 2015. This event will include the Bart’s Bash race! Go to the RS Vareo website for all the event and boat information: http://uk.rsvareo.org/
Report by Nick Crickmore
Super racing photos by Doris O’Keefe.
National Champion: Nick Crickmore
Apprentice (competing in their first RS Vareo Nationals): Chelsea Jackson
1st Lady: Cheryl Wood
Fidelis (having competed in at least 3 previous RS Vareo National Championships): Nick Crickmore
Master Paul North
Grand Master and Concessional Andy Howard
Special mention must be made of Chris Coll who only started sailing this year.