Volvo Noble Marine RS800 National Championship – Here we are. It’s been a busy season but the bell is about to ring for the BIG one! The RS800 Nationals at Castle Cove are fast approaching and the teams are starting to limber up for the big occasion.
Tight racing, overly loose socialising, it’s not to be missed. There will be drone camera footage, podium bibs, billions of prizes, good food, a ceilidh, post sailing yoga, BBQ and a skittles night. Wowzers I hear you say! Dig out your 800 and come along – the more the merrier! Entry is now open here
To help ramp up the tension we have handpicked the teams hoping to tag team their way to the top of the podium. Shamelessly pursuing the wrestling theme to new lows and for no particular reason I have used this website to find out the actual wrestling names of those involved. How very exciting!
James Green / James Trewick (Bionic Hammer / Silver Frost)
If upright in 18+ the Jimmy Green boys can normally be spotted flinging it into the far horizon. Serious speed machines in the fresher stuff, the boys from Beer will be hoping for a high wind nationals and will be looking to put the pedal down on a big bay day. Boat handling has been an issue in the past but as this has been ironed out they have started to emerge as a formidable partnership. As one of the fitter pairings they will have the stamina to fight it out to the bitter end.
Strengths: Serious horsepower in breeze
Weaknesses: The old mast in the sky thing
Secret Weapon: After much practice, a mean capsize recovery
Tim Saxton / Fiona Hampshire (Great Basilisk / Toothless Python)
Tim is a seasoned campaigner in the 800 and has been charging around the front of the fleet for a while. Tim came close at last year’s nats and won in Garda 2014 with gin and tonic supremo Sam Littlejohn. Now sailing with 29er veteran, Fiona Hampshire, this new pairing will be looking to mix it up in the lighter stuff as well.
Strengths: Real sailing pedigree in this boat – solid all-rounders
Weaknesses: DOWN THE MIIIINE!!!!
Secret Weapon: Tim’s embrace of hangover mode – Rambo-esque. Plenty of match racing experience on this boat if it goes to the last race
Roger Philips / Will Crocker (Fastidious Reaper / Snide Punisher)
Last years’ national champions will be strong favourites for the title at Castle Cove. Boasting impressive consistency in a range of conditions, it would be foolish to bet against them Roger has also recently bought a new cap and it’s rumoured to be stiff and fast.
Strengths: Rocket like boat speed in most conditions. Clever sailing
Weaknesses: Are there any? Maybe the big wind stuff
Secret Weapon: litres of boat polish and strong buffing arms
Hugh Shone / Hannah Tattersall (Devon Saturn / Big Suicide)
Currently leading the circuit these locals will be looking towards the podium at this years’ nationals. Traditionally under performing at the bigger events will there be any home advantage for the class chair in Weymouth?
Strengths: Sheer keenness, class chair ability to make favourable amendments to race schedule. Local knowledge will also help them when parking and attaining a fantastic VMG to the local pub
Weaknesses: Big fleet starting and anything involving pressure
Secret Weapon: Some serious lunch box tekkers
Luke McEwen / Emma McEwen (Dancing Zodiac / Nigerian Austin)
Consistent performers Luke and Emma (Gill) are seasoned performers in the 800 and have been peppering open meeting podiums over the last few years. On the pace and usually at the front of the race. Black kite, black wetsuits, black rashies and black shades – it’s all very ninja and they will be hoping to supplely fight their way to the front. (photo: Beer SC)
Strengths: Consistency – also good at circumnavigating globes
Weaknesses: Dodgy elbow
Secret Weapon: Marital bliss
Andy Jeffries / Allyson Jeffries (Fusion Skull / Garrulous Venus)
Famous for sailing twice as far as everyone else at just over twice the speed, Andy and Allyson will be vying for top spot. The living embodiment of Gung-Ho, the team from Eastbourne will be expecting to mix it up right at the front of the fleet.
Strengths: Speeeeeed and some very strong on-board colour scheming. The pink theme is just fabulous darling
Weaknesses: Consistency. Reds/Oranges anything really that clashes with pink
Secret Weapon: Fearless approach to putting it all on the line! The all or nothing approach to getting the job done. Swing her down etc.
Peter Barton / Chris Feibusch (Polar Cannon / Ponderous Death Taker) – definitely my favourite wrestling name combo
Taking ‘high-mode’ to a whole new level, Peter and Chris will have their eyes on the prize. After winning the Southern Champs in their shiny new boat, the early indicators are that they will be very strong contenders in Weymouth.
Strengths: Higher and faster. There was also some chat about matching tracksuits…please make this happen
Weaknesses: Slippery new ropes and vivid RS Aero flashbacks whilst out skiffing
Secret Weapon: Buckets and buckets of experience
Ben Schooling / George Kingsnorth (Irksome Monk / Grand Theft Assassinator)
Veterans of the fleet coupled with Ben’s recent exploits in the musto skiff mean that these boys are serious dark horses for the podium.
Strengths: A reflective break from the fleet in which to come back stronger than ever
Weaknesses: A reflective break from the fleet in which to come back stronger than ever
Secret Weapon: We assume that Ben will have sprouted some extra hands after boshing it about in the Musto.
Phil Walker / John Mather (Ringo Jackhammer / Vanilla Giant)
Recent Eurocup champions, Phil and John will be looking for an eight gusting 8.29 knot nationals. Fast and competent enough to consistently get off the line in good order these boys are future 800 champs in the making – is this year too early?
Strengths: Some serious moves on the dancefloor. Will the Ceilidh be able to handle them? We think no. Great pub quizzers as well
Weaknesses: ‘where does this rope go?’ ‘How many holes out?’ ‘Can you mend my mast track for me?’
Secret Weapon: Extra stiff battens (no pun intended)
Matt Humphreys / Amy Cartwright (Insidious Skull / Bipolar Python)
One of the newer teams, Matt and Amy showed great potential in their opening season. Development may have been stalled by a busy wedding schedule in 2015 but we are not sure as to what has been going on behind the scenes. Race winning potential – can they put it together over the series?
Strengths: Quick learners who will be right up there if they maintain trajectory!
Weaknesses: Seemingly too popular after a busy wedding schedule in 2015 has disrupted their opportunity to test themselves over opens this year.
Secret Weapon: Apparently they know rules and are not afraid to use the protest button when things get serious. Also we are sure that all this wedding prep means they will be seasoned boozers – could help on the Sunday.
So there we are, perhaps you fancy a swing at this year’s Royal Rumble? Give the RS800 a dust down, pressgang a crew and come down to sunny Weymouth for four days of quality racing and some very reasonably priced bar refreshments. Dates are 20-23 August. Be there.
by Hugh Shone