By Bethan Matthew – RS200 Class Association
The RS200 Class Association continues to go from strength to strength since the first nationals were sailed in 1996 following the class’s design in 1995.
The double-handed class has a reputation for highly competitive racing paired with copious amounts of fun. This winning formula appeals to all ages: the demographic of the competitors ranges from children to grandmasters (60+). With the 25th National Championships sponsored by Noble Marine and West Country Boat Repairs just around the corner, there are currently 119 boats entered and it is set to be a fantastic week at Exe Sailing Club.
The Nationals is the sailing highlight of the year for many. The gate starts add variety to the racing and two races per day gives a great balance between exciting racing and socialising. There is a highly inclusive buddy system in place whereby boats are teamed into groups of three of varying abilities. This provides a support system between boats of higher and lesser experience and facilitates socialising between different circles within the fleet.
The Nationals has a packed social programme, with socials to suit all ages. This year’s socials include a Buddy Quiz, Youth Karaoke, Masters’ Meal, Fancy Dress Party and the Championship Dinner. The Championship Dinner is a black-tie event after the final day of racing and incorporates the prize giving. It is always a night to remember!
Aside from the Nationals, the class also has an exciting National Tour, sponsored by Rooster Sailing. So far this year, the class has been to Brightlingsea, the Yorkshire Dales, Hayling Island and Queen Mary, and events at Grafham Water and Rutland Water are yet to occur. The National Tour is well received by entrants who seek a competitive weekend with a social on the Saturday evening. It is a great excuse to travel to other parts of the country and sail somewhere new, seeing life-long friends in the process.
The class also has a Eurocup event each year, which it attends with other RS classes. Sadly, our trip to Lake Garda planned for July 2021 was cancelled due to Covid-19, but we look forward to visiting Carnac in France in June 2022, making the most of the double bank holiday facilitated by the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The Eurocup provides sunny sailing, and it is the perfect kick-start to the summer. We love collaborating with the other RS classes and seeing many old and new faces.
On a more local scale, the class has five area tours. There are tours in the South, West, North and East of England, and in Scotland.
Each tour is run by an area representative who is on hand to provide support to the local RS200 fleet. Each tour has an individual sponsor, and it is great to see club racers getting involved in the class and travelling within their region.
So, if you hadn’t guessed it, the success of the RS200 class is driven not only by competitive racing, but more importantly, the inclusivity and social aspect of the fleet. The Nationals is a testament to this, and it is set to be another great week battling it out throughout the fleet both on the racecourse and the dance floor!