With plenty of wind, sizeable chop and a tie-breaker finish for first place, the RS21 North American National Championship at Lakewood Yacht Club, Texas, did not disappoint.
Teams competed in crews of 3-4 people and raced in the club’s 12-boat fleet of RS21s. The breeze was on in full, on both days – September 30th and October 1st. The race committee did a great job getting five races on Day 1 and three races on Day 2. Scores were very tight including a tie-breaker for first. It was team ‘Shake ‘n’ Bake’, helmed by James Brock, who snatched the title with a swift 13 points.
Laura Dalgleis, was the helm on ‘Upper Management’ who came second in the tie-breaker, just missing out on the top-of-the-podium spot.
“We had some pretty sporty conditions with great competition. The waves were probably the biggest obstacle and it was really important to stay powered up as much as possible going upwind (and stay positive, remembering everyone else was stuffing their bows as much as we were). We got caught a couple times chasing planes downwind and ultimately decided, more often than not, to work down on reaches and go wing-on-wing with the kite. The race committee ran 8 great races, with 5 the first day and 3 the second and I’m totally whooped!”
In true RS21 fashion, the racing was tight and fast, right up until the final race. Laura continued: “Regardless where you were in the fleet everyone got to enjoy one big screaming reach on Race 7 before non-spin went into effect for the last race. Hats off to Lakewood Yacht Club for a great event!”
The event follows on from the Chubb U.S. Youth Triplehanded National Championship in August. Lakewood Yacht Club was the first club to buy a fleet of club-owned RS21s in the United States. They christened their 12-boat fleet in 2019. After reviewing J22s and J70s, the club chose to invest in the matched fleet of RS21 keelboats for a multitude of reasons. “It’s a new, good-looking boat, and can be used for adult learn-to-sail classes, twilight club racing, as well as youth and match racing. It’s very versatile and very stable. Being able to sail in both Clear Lake and Galveston Bay 12 months out of the year, we’re happy with the choice. Cost-wise it’s a great fit.” Lakewood’s past commodore Ash Walker, speaking in an interview with Sailing World.
The RS21 is the ultimate one-design racing class. Sticking to the Corinthian ethos, sailors compete in identical RS21 keelboats; levelling the playing field and intensifying the competition. Success on the racecourse is determined by the skill and strategy of the crew rather than the difference in equipment. More and more clubs, alongside private owners, are investing in the future of keelboat racing. As the fleets grow we expect to see more great events like the North American National Championship at Lakewood YC continue to take the States by storm.
RS21 USA Fleet 1: North American Championship Results:
- 1st – Shake ‘N’ Bake – James Brock / Thomas Young / Gretta LaCouture
- 2nd – Upper Management – Laura Dalgleish / Coco Solsvig / Terry Flynn / Dan
- 3rd – RS21 Boat 5 – Danny Pletsch / Mike McGagh / Mark Breen
You can see the full results here.