Day eight through to day eleven saw the continuation of the inaugural RS Aero Youth World Championship. Seventy three sailors representing 12 nations aged between 13-21 years old battled over the five days in a fantastic array of conditions, from a fresh 25 knots to a challenging 5 knots.
The young sailors enjoyed great racing, the international camaraderie ashore and making new friends for life. Congratulations to our first ever RS Aero Youth Champions, Vejas Strelciunas LTU1542 in the RS Aero 7 and Jonathan Bailey GBR3929 in the RS Aero 5.
It was great to celebrate some true RS heritage with five of our flat-out racing classes on-site at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy.
The RS700 National & European Championship and the RS800 National Championship enjoyed four days of racing in a great range of conditions, both inside and outside the harbour. The 31 boat strong RS700 fleet enjoyed some incredibly tight racing. Well known for not being for the faint-hearted, the skill level of the RS700 sailors on the big-breeze days was inspiring to see. Congratulations to our new RS700 Champion Theo Galyer GBR1063.
The RS800 fleet had 22 teams competing in their National Championship. They also had a four-day regatta and relished the full spectrum of conditions over the period. Teams at the RS Games showcased the diversity within the fleet, showing once again that this is the skiff class for all – men and women, young or not. Congratulations to Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore GBR1144, the new RS800 National Champions, they demonstrated that fierce racing and impeccable boat handling is the way to the front of the RS800 fleet.
The RS Vareo had an excellent three day regatta with a fleet of ten boats. It was a tight battle for second, third and fourth place, but Luke Fisher GBR621 sailed away with the win with an impressive seven first places.
The RS400 class had three great days of racing during their stint at the RS Games. Steve and Sarah Cockerill fought hard for the win but they were just pipped to the post by one point. Congratulations to our new RS400 Champions Ollie Groves and Sam Waller GBR1362. The RS200 class joined the RS Games for two days of great racing, Chris and Nicola Webber were beaten on countback by Tom Hewitson and Lucy Hewitson GBR1633, who were crowned champions.
Check out the results for each class here – https://www.rssailing.com/rs-games-results/
Check out the daily videos so far:
- Day Eight Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQzWyILdEow&t=42s
- Day Nine Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqO62TRLgnA&t=4s
- Day Ten Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptxz1A-_B1Q
- Day Eleven Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agZIArraDb8
Special thanks to our event partners; Rooster, Selden, Harken, Lifejacket, RS Sailing Store, Marksetbot, WPNSA, Digital Sailing, Kingfisher Yacht Ropes, Fernhurst Books, Noble Marine, Allen, Hyde Sails, Spinlock and 18 Words.
Keep up with all the action at the RS Games 2022 by following @rssailing. Check out the event report by each class below.
RS700 European and National Championship
Report written by Theo Galyer
A solid forecast of gusts of 20 knots was superseded when the RS700 fleet started peeling their covers off Sunday morning. It was averaging 25 knots on the harbor wall and some slightly worried faces set a mood in the camp. A discussion was had with management about the worry of an increasing forecast. The main issue was the amount of safety in place alongside space to run a trapezoid. After a suggestion of sharing an inner loop with the RS800s was made a coin was flipped. The result was the RS800s would do two races on the inner with the RS700s to go out on the same course after them. At this stage a couple of boats thought their time at the event had come to an end and a few undercovers were produced.
However the majority of the fleet were keen and people changed into kit with strong intentions to make the most of the last day. It was an eventful launch with a dead offshore. One boat decided it was going to launch without its owner before the class was released! This provided some entertainment as John Lawson threw himself into the water showing immense front and backstroke techniques. A rib in the marina took pity and rescued John and his boat!
The race officer was true to his word and got the RS700 in sequence very promptly. This was gratefully received as the pound coins were visibly shaking off peoples championship mains! The race got underway in a steady 20 knots which had moderated from earlier and continued in this fashion for the rest of the day. Theo Galyer had the committee boat to himself whilst the bulk of the fleet were flying down the line at speed perhaps due to the F flag. Matt Carter tried hard to roll over the top of Rob Higgins who decided to crack off and go for speed. Theo held a clear lead at the windward mark and held on to this for the rest of the race with Rob and Matt in tow. Ben Cooper fueled with rage after some tough points scored on Saturday cruised into the line comfortably to take a 4th. Czech boat Michal Kotek proving consistency came in just behind to take 5th.
A couple of boats were timed out and the race officer got things going quickly again. By this point the wind was more like 18 knots sometimes entering the low 20s. Theo started committee boat again whilst Matt and Rob were middle of the line. Theo tacked early rather than hitting the lay line and it cost him. Although he rounded first Rob was one boat length behind him at the top and Matt in touching distance of Rob. A quick kite set from the top two meant a fast blast down ‘Death Alley’. The wind was funneling down the side of the naval ship. Theo didn’t like the look of the situation and decided on an early gybe with the intention of ducking behind Rob. Rob showing some concern at a boat gybing on to port next to him came off the wire and slowed right down. Theo tried to park it, as eye contact was made it was clear Theo needed to avoid the collision. A gybe back on to starboard resulted in a capsize (well received by half the fleet of course). Having done the maths Theo decided to head into the shore with a smirk on his face. Rob and Matt battled it out and perhaps Karma was dealt at the end of the race when Matt nailed the lay line and came storming through with his kite up to pip Rob on the line. James Clark came in behind with his second top three of the event which bumped him up to top five overall and on top of this snagged himself the silver trophy.
Overall the fleet had a really good event at the RS Games and will look forward to returning again in four years’ time! Massive credit to the RS team who manage to cope with huge amounts of boats in a very short space of time. Thank you to our super event sponsors: Noble Marine, RS Sailing, Rooster, Hyde and Fernhurst Books. Thank you to WPNSA for hosting us so splendidly. And biggest thanks to our smashing race officer Tom Rushbridge and his super team for hosting such high quality racing in some properly difficult conditions.
I personally want to say thank you to Clare Sargent (RS Class Association Secretary) for all the hard work she puts in time and time again at the events, it wouldn’t be the same without her and it has been a pleasure working alongside you. Also thanks to all the friends who sailed or still sail the RS700, long may the friendliness of the class continue. Best of luck to Matt Carter the new class Chair who is perfect for the job. That’s me signing out for now.
RS800 National Championship
Written by Tom Morris
Day three of the RS800 nationals dawned with a more familiar and more reliable South Westerly driven by a gradient wind, albeit slightly overcast.
But before the racing could commence the fleet was held hostage by the class AGM, postponed after racing and dinner took priority on Friday afternoon. Lots of enthusiasm for the class was expressed, ideas on improving events, and palpable excitement for the biannual pilgrimage to Garda for the 2023 Europeans.
A side effect of the AGM was that yours truly [Tom Morris] ended up as the new Chair, a role to be shared with Hugh Shone. Thanks was given to the outgoing chair Dan Goodman who has piloted the RS800 through some turbulent years.
Three races were held in the building breeze. Luke and Emma McEwen moved past Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore in the first to extend a comfortable lead on the second run. Fresher breeze brought new boats into the picture down the final run and a battle to hold kites to the finish resulted in Rob Gullan and Tom Partington, and Cameron and Darrol Moss coming in third and fourth respectively.
After a general recall and reactionary deployment of the U-Flag the second race started and again saw Tom and Guy lead only to be passed, this time by Rob and Tom. Another game of who could hold the kite longest ensued on the bottom reach, with Rob and Tom flinching first, dropping then being made to pay for their conservative sailing by Tom and Guy who held longer and passed to take the gun.
After finishing it turned out that Rob and Tom had picked up a UFD, so the final leg drama had been for show only. This bumped Ben Palmer and Dicken McClean up to second and allowed Joe Bradley and Louis Johnson to claim their first podium of the event.
The third, and what transpired to be the final race of day three brought full twin wiring conditions and glorious sunshine. Again, Tom and Guy led at the windward, but this time it was Joe and Louis who mounted the strongest challenge, making a pass on the second beat, before coming up a little short on the starboard lay and paying the price with two extra tacks.
Still in touch, Joe and Louis went aggressive on the final run, choosing to gybe set in search of a passing lane. Unfortunately, the role of the dice backfired and allowed the McEwens and Rob and Tom to find pressure further out to sea and sneak by for second and third leaving Joe and Louis down in fourth despite such a strong race.
Saturday evening was the RS Games BBQ, where class stalwart Ralph Singleton was a popular winner of the very generously raffled Hyde Sails RS800 spinnaker. Cue music, drinks, dancing, and bar talk about the expected big 20 knot three race day to finish off the championship.
Saturday night’s bar chat was all about a three-race day in 20 knots, where 2nd place would be contested between Rob and Tom and the McEwens with a potential match race to bring the boy’s UFD back in to play. Further intrigue focused on the four-way battle for fourth, with Ben and Dicken, Joe and Louis, James Penty and Eddie Grayson, and Cameron and Darrol Moss all separated by only two points.
When Sunday came reality proved different. The 20 knots had become 25. Three races had become two (confirming Tom and Guy’s championship). Luke and Emma are wiser than to match race in 25 knots and with the two boats happy to get around in scoreboard order little changed at the top.
Even the four-way battle for fourth was soon whittled down to two as first Eddie and James and then Joe and Louis succumbed to gear failure. This left Ben and Dicken in charge, and they led the father-son duo of Cameron and Darrol in both races to clinch fourth overall.
As is so often the case, the real stories of dare and do came from outside the podium rush. For many day four will last long in the memory as one of the windiest days on championship record, with the attrition rate similar to infamous Eastbourne waves of 2019.
Some highlights were Tracey and Freddie Covell, recently recovered from pre-start capsize, finding themselves in perfect position to port tack the fleet, leaving those supposedly racing for top positions with blushes on their faces. The mother and son team went on to record their championship best finish of sixth, mixing it with far more seasoned teams.
Another notable performance was Blake and Brett Tudor, who after taking a battering on the sail out found their composure to join the fleet for the second race and were rewarded with a series best result themselves. This young sibling team will be worth keeping an eye-on, with the RS800s off to their home club of Brightlingsea for next year’s Nationals (7- 10 September 2023).
Finally, Bryan Ormond and Anna Prescott, one of, if not the lightest team in the event, capably got their skiff round the course in the big airs to pick up the endeavour prize. Normally a reward for the back half of the fleet given to the boat completing all races with the highest score. Yet here, such was the toll of the final day’s breeze and UFDs that Bryan and Anna’s tenacity also saw them finish an extremely credible twelfth overall.
A special shout out must go to Jubby and son Tom, who might have also picked up the Endeavour had it not been for a harsh UFD penalty incurred after getting stranded upside down the wrong side of the line in the pre-start of the penultimate race.
The RS800 class now looks forward, with two more circuit events at the Grafham Inlands (1-2 October) and then the RS End of Season Regatta the following month (5-6 November). Post Covid we have the difficult task of rebuilding attendances. It’s perhaps obvious that sailing an RS800 makes one incredibly attractive to prospective partners, but the somewhat undesirable side of this has been that our attendances have been disproportionately affected by the resultant weddings and arrival of offspring.
We are looking at in detail at ways to add value to our events, but the overarching strategy for 2023 is to see fewer literal marriages and more of a figurative marriage of great social programmes, tips and tuning seminars and the usual exhilarating racing. Stay tuned for more details!
Well done to all our competitors for racing so hard across a gruelling nine race regatta. Thank you to our super event sponsors: Noble Marine, RS Sailing, Rooster, Hyde and Fernhurst Books. Thank you to WPNSA for hosting us so splendidly. And biggest thanks to our smashing race officer Tom Rushbridge and his super team for hosting such high quality racing in some properly difficult conditions.
RS400 Celebration Regatta
Report written by Ben Williamson
The 400s joined the RS Games for 3 days of racing for a Celebration Regatta that certainly reminded us all of everything great about the enduring RS400 fleet. Weymouth delivered perfect weather, loads of sunshine with a mix of conditions light, medium and a full on foam up super Sunday to give something to everyone. This coupled with relaxed and friendly camaraderie amongst the fleet both on and off the water made for a memorable event.
A short delay before the forecast breeze set in on the Friday afternoon got us away in a light wind. Good starts and eyes out the boat was order of the day. Steve and Sarah Cockerill, got off to a fast start and did the best job of reading a 90 degree wind shift halfway through the first downwind leg to deliver a convincing win, which they followed up with a second bullet in race 2 which saw the breeze build from the new direction. Howard Farbrother and Louise Hosken were looking very quick with a second and third and Kevin Podger with Heather Chipperfield sailed consistently to round out the top 3 at the end of day 1.
Saturday dawned with more wind forecast, racing was started on schedule by the super on the water race team who didn’t put a foot wrong all regatta to deliver superb and fair racing for the fleet. Steve and Sarah’s ominous start continued with another convincing win in race 3, followed by Howard and Louise with Ollie Groves and Sam Waller starting to get their new boat going in third place. Were the Cockerill’s going to storm away or could any of the fleet step up and challenge the momentum they were building. The breeze started to build a little more for races 4 and 5 and with that Ollie and Sam found their form and delivered two bullets that would propel them up the leaderboard. Howard and Louise continued to sail consistently to keep in the fight and Kevin and Heather were always there or thereabouts to keep in the game.
The fleet headed out on Sunday morning to be greeted by a solid mid twenties breeze and a rapid ride down to the start line towards the West end of Portland harbour. Sam and Ollie set out their intent from the off and reveled in the conditions with a faultless day that earned them three wins from three. Heavy weights Ben Williamson and Jon Willars were keeping the pressure on Ollie and Sam with two seconds and a third and lightweights Steve and Sarah sailed skillfully to keep around the front of the fleet throughout the day. Neil Bevington and Alan Skeens and Paul Smalley and Anna Kerslake also found the conditions to their liking and were consistently knocking around the front of the fleet all day to move up the leaderboard.
So after 8 fabulous races, Ollie and Sam took the regatta by 1 point from Steve and Sarah, with Ben and Jon finishing third overall.
A massive thank you to everyone at WPNSA, all the on the water race teams, RS Sailing, the RS Class Association and sponsors Rooster for delivering a superb Celebration Regatta at the RS Games.
Bring on 2026 and we can do it all again!
RS200 Celebration Regatta
Written by Jo Hewitson
Fantastic conditions greeted the RS200 fleet in Weymouth for their Celebratory Championships.
The RS Games staged an excellent event packed with giveaway goodies and food, a fab night of drinking and dancing and catching up with lots of old friends. The RS200’s were particularly touched by the tribute to Jon Lewis. A stalwart of the 400 and 200 fleet and leaving his inspiration with so many young sailors, he is sadly missed. It was lovely to see Ellen Morley sailing his 200. Between her and mother Jo, and several other female helms including upcoming talent Millie Irish and the hugely experienced Karen Oldale, the girls gave the boys a run for their money.
Day 1 was a medium wind and very shifty. The day was won by Chris and Nicola Webber with Karen Oldale and Jo Hewitson taking line honours In Race 2.
Day 2 was hooning with all the fleet working hard to stay upright. Tom and Lucy Hewitson were super fast all day and went onto win on count back. The Webbers, Karen and Matt had very close racing to fight over the second place spots.
Race officer Brian and his excellent team where on form and produced a fantastic weekend of racing.
RS Vareo National Championship
Report written by Paul North
Friday 29th July was day nine of the amazing RS Games at WPNSA and day one of the 2022 Noble Marine RS Vareo National Championships, with additional sponsorship from Rooster. The fleet of ten RS Vareos were to race alongside the RS400s at their Celebration Regatta and also joined by the RS200s for Saturday and Sunday.
The forecast for 6-8 mph winds hadn’t yet filled in so all fleets were held onshore. Our D flag release came an hour later around 1 pm so we headed for the slip. As Lee Bratley pulled on his kicker the webbing strap let go with a crack like a small cannon. Thankfully there was enough time for Luke Fisher to help him jury rig a replacement that would survive the light conditions. And so we headed out to Portland harbour for our two races. The course was “LRA” meaning a beat to windward, round a port hand mark and spreader before heading downwind to a gate at the bottom in front of the start line, on the final lap to turn left through the gate and finish across the bow of the committee boat. Thankfully our black windward marks were closer than the pink ones used for the RS400s.
As we lined up for the 1st race the board on the committee boat indicated two laps with bearing of 120 to the windward mark in the ESE light but steady wind.
I managed a fast start at the pin end and after a long steady beat got to the windward mark second behind Nigel Tinkler and ahead of Nick Crickmore and Luke. With a quick spinnaker hoist we then headed downwind try to find any little gusts to pick up speed. Just as we were approaching the leeward gate the wind shifted by 90 degrees and we had to drop the kites to lay the mark! I ended up completely stalled in Luke’s dirty air and while the safety boat was signalling a change of course chose to round the starboard end, only then looking up to see the windward mark had been reset on the other side of the course, where the rest of the fleet were. 2nd to 9th in about 30 seconds! The beat to the windward mark required no tacks and I managed to get into 8th on the downwind leg before tucking inside Jim Short at the leeward mark and sailing past him to finish 7th. Luke had reacted quickly to the shift and took the win from Nigel then Nick Crickmore.
There was a short delay while the course was completely relocated. According to the race board the direction was now 220 and with a shorter course 3 laps to sail in the slightly freshening breeze.
Luke got away and led to the finish with Chris Abbott keeping him honest all the way round for second. I had a real ding-dong race with Nigel swapping 3rd and 4th on every leg, Nigel winning upwind but I was faster downwind and able to get past with some very close rounding at the leeward gate. In the end a strong upwind final leg from Nigel left me with too much to do on the last leg.
Once back on shore we swapped out tallies for a hot sausage roll then met the RS Vareo shore team for a beer and some Lancashire Parkin baked by my wife Moira (RS Vareo Fleet Cake Officer). After a quick AGM most of the fleet then went for a curry and we were delighted to be joined by our RS Class Association Secretary Clare Sargent.
The forecast for day two (Saturday) was pretty much double day one with a Westerly 12 gusting 18. With a release soon after 10am we returned to pretty much the same area in the harbour for the 11am start. As we were the only course in the harbour the course could be lengthened to allow two lap races. Once the RS400s and RS200s were away it was our turn to start and there was a little nervousness about how soon the RS400s would be coming back to the bottom of the course as we started. Although this was never an issue there was certainly some decision making to choose a better side of the course avoiding them as they flew downwind.
In the stronger conditions Luke realised he needed to make a good 20-30 yards on Nick upwind to stay ahead as Nick was really heating it up downwind and making the RS Vareo fly over the waves. Another strong performance from Chris to finish third. In the lower half of the fleet some excellent close racing saw Richard Woods, Mike Dicker, Jim Short and me never far from each other and trading 5th to 8th with Richard taking the honours at the line. Lee suffered a toe strap break along with the unravelling of his temporary kicker and retired.
Finally in race four Alan Bassett found his form and took up the baton of pushing Luke at the front who continued his masterclass in how to sail upwind. However Nick’s superiority downwind saw him get past Alan on every downwind leg to finish second just in front of Alan, followed not far behind by Nigel and Chris. In the Silver fleet with Alan back at the top we were now trading 6th – 9th with Richard once again finding better upwind speed than I could manage and getting enough lead that I couldn’t quite catch him down wind.
Up at the front in race five Alan got a great start beating Luke to the windward mark, but sailing too deep while Nick and Luke heated up the kite to sail further but much faster. Final positions: Luke, Nick, Alan, again! Mick Dicker found some great form upwind taking 6th ahead of Richard. In these conditions the fleet are now more closely matched so overall it was much closer racing from top to bottom – in the last race I noticed that nobody ever got a clear leg ahead or behind. A fabulous day’s racing in glorious sunny conditions with a very steady breeze that held up around 12-14 all day.
Back to shore to swap our tallies for Macaroni Cheese followed by more beer and parkin. The discussion was the forecast for Sunday, currently running at 18 gusting 29, and the earlier information from the race team that we could expect at least one day’s sailing out in Weymouth Bay, a daunting prospect for us pond sailors.
Come Sunday morning, Jim, Richard and Lee had already decided to call it a day. We were delighted to hear we were not sailing out in the Bay but as our launch time approached it was steadily blowing over 20. I’ve since seen the conditions described on the RS Games daily video as “Fresh to Scary” in the harbour. Once off the slip it was indeed a very scary downwind ride to the start area. Mike, who had been carrying a leg muscle injury all weekend felt it go and decided it was safer to return. After a series of really quite frightening long broad reaches punctuated with the boat nose diving at regular intervals and 300 degree tacks in between I got down to the start area with not a little trepidation.
Once the RS400s and RS200s were away it was our turn. There was no slow approach so it was just a case of sitting behind the line trying to keep the boat moving and for me staying on board in the rolling chop. We got away cleanly and up the beat we all had the boom at least a couple of feet outside the rear quarter. It was a long way to the windward marks needing a lot of concentration to try to steer through the chop and hold the boat in some way flat and moving. But it was exhilarating!
Luke of course showed us how it was done, leading all the way round the two laps followed by Alan then Nick and Nigel. There was a distinct lack of any use of the spinnaker. I was some way behind Chris focussing hard on keeping the boat moving and not getting stuck in irons in the tacks. Once round the windward mark and trying to find the safest route downwind I passed him on top of his turtled boat from which he would retire for the day. As I crossed the line at the end of the second lap they could probably hear my whoops of delight at still being on top of the boat back on shore!
It had taken us pretty much an hour to complete the two laps (it felt like 50 minutes up and 10 down) so thankfully the Race Office moved our windward marks a bit closer.
In race seven Luke was again followed by Alan, but Nigel found some better form to beat Nick to third. I was finding better speed but still a good way behind and had yet another scary moment when as arriving at the final downwind gate realised the RS200s were on the line with less than a minute to go and I needed to sail parallel to their line on a broad reach on port and not get in their way. Thankfully their start came seconds after my finish, phew. But I was done. At my age there’s only so much adrenalin available and two fifths in those conditions was an awesome result. I sailed the first beat of the final race and then carried on home. As I was approaching the windward marks I had a view of the surviving RS Vareos pulling up their kites in the (slightly) easing conditions and just looked on in awe. My downwind legs had involved me gripping the side deck and the very idea of letting go to pull up the kite just didn’t bear thinking about. As I approached the shore I was caught up by Luke whose shroud had let go. On the course Nick took the win from Alan with Nigel third.
Back on shore, after the tally chocolate brownie we washed the boats down and got ready for the prize giving. Huge congratulations to Luke Fisher who sailed magnificently in all of the conditions, a very worthy RS Vareo National Champion.
Our thanks of course to everyone at WPNSA: shore, race and safety teams. It’s such a privilege to sail at the Olympic venue and park your boat under the rings.
Also huge thanks to our sponsors Noble Marine, RS Sailing, Rooster and Fernhurst Books – we’re very grateful.
Finally, many thanks to Clare Sargent of the RS Class Association for all she does for our fleet. Luke presented Clare with a small token of our appreciation at the prize giving.