September 27, 2019
After a difficult day 3 when, in the only race possible, the wind switched off as the leaders started the second lap, leaving a 30 minute driftathon up the final beat, the fleet was hoping for a more consistent breeze for the final day. It didn’t look good as we headed out in a fickle breeze that switched off altogether causing the start sequence for race 8 to be aborted. This did nothing to calm the nerves of those towards the sharp end of the leaderboard. Overnight, only 5 points covered the first four places with another three competitors with a chance of winning if they had an excellent final day.
As race 8 eventually got away in about 8 knots it came with the wind flicking noticeably to the left. Steve Cockerill kept a close eye on his closest rival, Steve Bolland, as the beat progressed and there was a flurry of tacks from them both as they neared the windward mark. Steve C got there first and extended down the run as Steve B got swallowed up by some of the chasing pack. Up the second beat Steve C still covered as Steve B tacked off looking for a large slice of luck on the left. However, those going right pulled through with those going left losing out heavily. This was to have a significant effect on the results overall. At the finish the order was Peter Mackin, Harry McVicar, Steve Cockerill and Steve Sallis.
The wind had gone right by the start of race 9 but there was a significant left shift up the first beat. Cheryl Wood was all over this and led the fleet by a distance at the top mark. However, as the race progressed Alistair ‘Storky’ McLaughlin used his light wind prowess to take the win from Steve Cockerill, Peter Mackin and Steve B.
This made things interesting. With Storky now dropping a 16th place he was right in the frame. However, Cockerill was still holding the whip hand with a 4 point lead. Places 3 to 5 were covered by a single point.
The tenth and final race started on a port-biased line in about 7 knots. Storky and Steve C were both showing well up the first beat before the latter had to tack off after being squeezed out by the former. Steve Sallis led from Steve B and Storky at the first mark. Steve C was around 6th. Game on. With Storky moving up to 2nd on the run Steve C had to make a similar move and he did so, starting the final beat in 5th.
The wind went a bit funny on the final beat but at the final windward mark Steve C was still the virtual champion, Storky remaining in 2nd place with Steve C still in 5th but only a couple of lengths from 4th. In a dramatic final twist, Storky took the race lead on the final run and Steve C, despite several attempts, was unable to make it up to 4th. The result? Storky winning on countback in one of the closest championships for years, with the fight for 3rd place also being decided on countback. Phew!
At the prize-giving Storky thanked the dedicated volunteers of Porthpean SC who had gone above and beyond to make sure that the fleet were welcomed and looked after, from the coming ashore beers on day 1 to the final cream tea, with everything from pasty deliveries to tin can alley and keeping the 2ndhanddinghies.com Boom of Doom charged with rum in between. Thanks also to the generous title sponsors, Volvo and Noble Marine and to Rooster, Geeta’s and Speedsix for their contributions. The curry night simply wouldn’t have been the same without Geeta’s Premium Mango Chutney!
In 2020 the RS300s will once again share a Nationals with the RS100s, travelling to SCYC, Abersoch, 17th-20th September 2020 #beatthestork