Mary, Mary quite contrary
The 2013 RS700 GUL Inland Championships were held at QMSC over a weekend of very mixed weather predicted, in fairness, very accurately by WindGuru. The 10 boat turnout, but not the result, was dominated by the home fleet and even Jerry Wales, who came up from the Wild West, will always be considered a Queen Mary boy. We were joined by 10 RS500s and 16 RS800s for an enjoyable and successful regatta.
Jerry ran a training session on the Friday when we nominally focused on Starting tactics but most of us were preoccupied with keeping the boat the right way up in typical shifty and gusty QM conditions. Eventually we seemed to get the hang of it and I think the experience translated into a better standard of start over the weekend.
Three races were sailed on Saturday in light and weakening Easterly breezes. These conditions always show up poor technique in the 700, which really wasn’t designed for this sort of stuff. Having said that, there’s no holding talent and Jerry and Colin Dacey posted 3 straight 1st and 2nd places with the subsequent ranking a bit of a lottery (with the possible exception of last place over which we shall draw a veil). The main point of interest lay in Race 1 when our Starting Coach managed (deliciously) to get into irons on the line and didn’t get away until the Preparatory signal of the 800s. He still managed to overhaul us all for the first of three wins. (I reached the windward mark first but still managed to come last; a neat symmetry).
Sunday was a different kettle of fish with a Westerly of 12kts or so with frequent gusts up into the 20kt range, continuous rain and some big shifts resulting in a surprisingly enjoyable day’s racing. Jerry Wales ran away with it, pressed hard in the first of the day by Colin who then had to retire with a broken trapeze harness. Success or otherwise in all these races rather depended on keeping out of trouble (and the ability to count laps up to three; you know who you are). Nearly everyone capsized once or twice during the day and choosing the better side of the course on the run (which changed from lap to lap) could result in huge gains. Everyone will have been pleased with at least one race in such tricky wind; James Bayliss sailed very consistently and missed out on overall 2nd only on count back. In fact only 6 points separated James, Chris Kirk, Matt Conner and Graham Blake and this reflected the close racing they enjoyed; it could have gone any way in each of the races.
This was the first outing for Queen Mary’s new live “TracTrac” GPS tracking system. All the races for the three fleets could be followed live on the big screen in the clubhouse and reviewed after racing. There is a link to the Club homepage at www.queenmary.org.uk.
Congratulations then to Jerry Wales, 2013 RS700 Inland Champion; it must be the only trophy that doesn’t already have his name on it! Mike Dencher’s Series Champion cup was awarded in absentia so congratulations to him also.
Many thanks to the Queen Mary team for hosting such a well-organised event, to PRO Hugh Brooman for taking charge in his inimitable style and for laying two good courses in such difficult conditions. It can’t have been much fun on the Committee Boat on Sunday so extra thanks to all the race and safety team.
GUL were our generous sponsors so to them, thank you!
That’s it for 2013 for our fleet. See you all next year!