by the RS Aero UK Class Association
The first split RS Aero UK 6 & 9 Nationals took place over the Bank Holiday weekend with the two Classes competing at a sun drenched Weymouth enjoying a wonderful variety of conditions.
The RS Aero 6 saw their largest fleet to date with 43 boats showing incredible popularity and growth after just one year in production, a testament to the identified demand for the rig size. The RS Aero 9 fleet of 22 was the largest in recent years, with the abundant power/weight ratio for an exciting ride proving popular with the larger sailors.
Competition was red hot in both fleets with Olympic campaigners and past RS Aero National, European and World Champions taking part. The UK Championship saw good support from international visitors, helped by charter RS Aeros from RS Sailing, with 7 nations in total represented including Ireland, Netherlands, Germany, France, Iceland, Norway and Great Britain.
Over the three days and eight races the championship saw a variety of 6 distinctly different conditions in wind strength from 5-20kn and varying direction as the breeze changed through the course of each day. This kept the racing interesting and gave all sailors, heavy or light, an opportunity to shine with the most consistent performers ultimately coming out on top. Race Officer Bob (Arky) Wainwright did an excellent job chasing the breeze and whilst two races needed to be abandoned on the first beat we were ultimately pleased to achieve 8 of the 9 race series before close of play on Monday. Juror, Sian Reynolds, kept a close eye on the action to help keep the racing fair and fun with her yellow flag ever ready to correct anyone stepping over the line. Sian gave pre-race briefings and post-race debriefs which will help everyone’s better understanding of the limitations of the rules going forwards.
In the RS Aero 9s Ben Flower (Paignton) dominated with a sting of 1sts showing excellent speed and race craft. Peter Barton (Lymington) and Magne Klann (Soon, Norway) went into the last day near equal with Peter going on to take 2nd with Magne 3rd. A month sailing the length of Norway’s west coast unsupported and camping out of his RS Aero has helped to make Magne a very fast and competent RS Aero sailor!
There was a real tussle for the RS Aero 6 title. Chloe George (Lymington) won two races on Day 1 and Noah Rees (Lymington) was overnight leader with a 3,1,7. After two more challenging races on Day 2 Andrew Frost (Sutton Bingham) had taken the lead with a consistent set of top 5 results. Day 3 started out with 20kn dropping to 8kn over three races and Ben Whaley took control smashing in three 1st places to be a clear winner from Jon Emmett (Weir Wood) in 2nd, Noah in 3rd and Andrew slipping to 4th.
For the category prizes the first International Visitor in the RS Aero 9s was Magne Klann (Soon, Norway) and in the RS Aero 6s it was Roy Van Maanen (Greystones, Ireland). Chloe was first Female in 5th. Ian Escritt (Yorkshire Dales) was first Master (O55) and Grand Master (O65) in 10th. First Youth (U22) was Sam Blaker (Thorpe Bay) and first Youth Female was Abigail Larr (Draycote).
Many thanks to Weymouth and Portland NSA and all their volunteers for hosting another excellent RS Aero championship. Thanks to Rooster for their generous support of the prizes and to RS Sailing for the day prizes.
RS Aero 6
1 – 4272 – Ben Whaley
2 – 4434 – Jon Emmett
3 – 4295 – Noah Rees
RS Aero 9
1 – 2550 – Ben Flower
2 – 4396 – Peter Barton
3 – 3746 – Magne Klann
Focus now turns to the upcoming RS Aero World Championship in two months time in Sardinia 26-30th July and a month after that is the RS Aero 5 & 7 UK Championship in Tenby, Wales from 20-25th August. RS Aero UK Events Calendar; https://www.rsaerosailing.org/index.asp?p=events&rg=UK%20and%20Ireland
Championship photo gallery thanks to Oli King; https://olikingphotography.pixieset.com/aero69nationals/