September 27, 2019
Days 3 and 4 and Overall
Saturday proved to be one of those frustrating days, when the wind simply didn’t want to hang around too long. The PRO did well to get one race completed, but it was a light wind affair that didn’t start until competitors had been served their on-the-water pasties. Delicious! As there was not a lot happening for 2 hours, the fleet was well dispersed when a gun was heard which led to a mad (although slow) dash back to the committee boat.
The U flag was being used again to punish anyone trying to push the start, but it was a day for the lightweight flyers. Brett Aarons got away quickly to lead at the first Mark, followed by Clive Eplett, Andrew Jones, John Richardson and Ian Gregory. The wind started to drop down the run and the race was shortened to finish at the windward mark. With the wind so light, the minimal current in the bay became significant, with nobody certain of their place until they crossed the line. Aarons took the gun, but Eplett was greeted by silence as he had been OCS, giving Jones second with Gregory third. Behind them Richardson Senior was fourth followed by Smart in fifth ahead of Steve Main, leading the Silver fleet but discovering he was OCS too gifting Richardson Junior sixth with Powell seventh. That result was starting to see change in the overall results, with Smart squeezing ahead of the younger Richardson into third overall with Powell’s grasp of second overall starting to wane. Aarons was almost guaranteed the overall win by now, unless all the races were run on Sunday and he had three bad results. That wasn’t looking likely.
Day 4 Sunday 15 September
This was the day with the lightest wind forecast. Powell lying second was hoping racing wouldn’t happen and Richardson the Younger lying fourth was praying for three races. Smart in third was sandwiched between them and wanted to avoid undue stress on his old Master’s body. Aarons had a comfy lead and just needed to avoid any mishaps.
The fleet was released at 10:00 when there was a reasonable force 2 to 3. That didn’t last and the wait for wind started again. After 45 minutes, a light Northerly appeared allowing the PRO to quickly set a short course. Flag U was used again, but the square line became port biased with only 1 minute to go. Only some of the fleet spotted this, with Andy Jones making the perfect port end start to cross the fleet, but with the sound of a second gun making a few of the fleet nervous. Aarons went back to start again – not actually allowed under U, but nobody else returned. Smart went left up the beat benefitting from extra pressure to lead at the top mark followed by Aarons (how did he do that after going back to restart?). Behind him were the normal light wind suspects of Eplett, Richardson junior and Giles Peckham with Adam Knight also showing some great light wind speed. At the finish Aarons had squeezed past Smart to cross the finish line in silence, with Smart following to take the win, only to discover more silence as he had also been OCS. That meant Richardson took the bullet with Eplett second, Peckham third and Gregory fourth. Powell was also OCS. That meant a real shuffle at the front. Aarons was starting to sweat with Richardson getting closer as the second discard came into play.
After a quick course reset Race 9 started with Smart again favouring the left sailing neck and neck with Richardson. Aarons was not to be seen, being buried in the pack. Mark Harrison was showing his staying power battling with the rejuvenated Andrew Jones and the ever present Gregory and Eplett. Richardson just sneaked the win from Smart with Harrison third and Jones fourth. Powell was seventh with Aarons an uncharacteristic eighth. With one race to go, Richardson was now only 2 points behind Aarons. Smart in third was now 3 points ahead of Powell who was on equal points with Gregory but 7 ahead of Eplett. Would there be upsets in the final race?
There was now a reasonably stable Force 2. The main protagonists checked their transits 10 times to be safe from the U flag doom that almost everyone had suffered at some point. With all to play for, it was good to hear silence after the start, so all the players were in the game. Aarons flew off the start line showing both speed and height up the beat to lead at the top mark. Behind him were Eplett, the Richardson’s, Harrison and Jones, with Powell and Smart just hanging on. However Harrison failed to spot a beating 300 and collided, taking him to the back of the fleet. Richardson tried hard to catch Aarons, but Aarons was too wily, taking the gun and the championship. Richardson was second, securing second overall. Third was John Richardson, allowing him to overtake Steve Main to take the Silver fleet win. Eplett was fourth, but Gregory finished tenth, allowing him to stay just one point ahead of Eplett overall. Smart had climbed to fifth in the race keeping Powell in sixth, so allowing Smart to finish third overall 4 points ahead of Powell in fourth overall.
It had been a topsy turvy championship with consistency across light and heavy winds proving key. Aarons had demonstrated speed in all conditions to claim the title. Richardson had also won the youth prize while Smart won the Masters prize. The Fidelis prize for the regular Nationals competitor outside the main prizes went to Eplett.
Porthpean SC had demonstrated great teamwork, great enthusiasm and great professionalism to deliver a memorable championship. From the doughnuts at the end of sailing, cream tea at prize giving to the infamous pasty boat, all competitors needs were catered for with support from the event sponsors Volvo, Rooster, Noble Marine, Harken and Geeta’s. Aarons thanked the club for being fabulous hosts and in particular the PRO James Dowrick who had set courses to all points of the compass.
2020 will be the 10 year anniversary of the RS100 class, with the championship travelling to the fabulous seaside town of Abersoch in September. It should prove to be an event and party not to be missed.