It’s a long old poke up to Prestwick which is hosting the RS300 Nationals for the third time in seven years. The average journey for those playing away from home must have been something like 300 miles. It was worth it though as we were treated to a spectacular sunset on Wednesday evening.
Of course, some made the journey harder than it needed to be – Steve Bolland losing his car keys shortly before departure (still not found as Mrs B has pointedly mentioned more than once) and Steve Sallis setting off from Weymouth after finishing Burton week, driving to Lincoln to swap boats and then enjoying (!) a diagonal journey to the West coast of Scotland.
Paul Rigg won the first wooden spoon because, having avoided the low bridges through town, he then proceeded to knock his bike off the roof rack going through the car park barrier! Muppet. Perhaps the frustrations of long distance travel in the UK was best summed up by Matt Sargent’s cry for help as the “rush hour tidal gate” closed on him near Manchester.
Sailing-wise we were treated to a rather unsteady South Westerly of 10 – 15 knots including some rather frustrating sloppy bits in the middle. The dominant factor in both races was a noticeable right shift coming off the line – lovely if you were all over it, not quite so funny for the pin enders. All over it at both starts was Dave Acres (Emsworth and Thorney Island) who led at the first mark in both races but was unfortunately unable to make it stick.
In race one he was followed by Tim Keen (Sheffield Viking) and Steve Bolland (Bristol Corinthian), the first of the pin enders struggling to get across. As the race progressed Bolland overtook Keen on the second beat and closed up with Acres downwind. Was it going to be a repeat of 2014 when they had a coming together in the first race in identical circumstances at the same venue? No. Both have clearly matured since then. Instead they indulged themselves in a hike-off up the last beat. In a fascinating, and quite frankly painful, contest Bolland’s “unbelievable” fitness won out. At the finish it was Bolland, Acres and Keen with Paul Watson (Bowmoor) lurking with intent.
Right paid again in race two but this time Acres was hunted by Paul Rigg from East Lothian. Bolland nearly got through on the first set of reaches as Rigg went high and Acres luffed. They could have carried on for much longer as far as I was concerned.
Unfortunately though they saw sense before doing themselves too much damage. After this it was a three-way battle for the rest of the race with Bolland covering Acres and Rigg (closely) covering Bolland. At the finish it was Rigg, Bolland and Acres in that order, with only a few lengths separation. Alistair “Storky” Mclaughlin from the host club got a fourth.
Highlight of the last lap was Paul Watson getting a shift from heaven on the final beat and moving up a hatful of places as a result, winning “champagne moment of the day” for spotting that one.
Thursday morning, day two, and it’s 14 degrees and pouring with rain, or “high summer” as they call it in Scotland. Wind forecast 12 to 16 knots from the South.
by Steve Bolland