RS200 Youth Nationals
Conditions were varied and the winner, Alex Good and Nicola Smith from Ripon, sailed an excellent series to take the 2002 title. Alex learned his trade in the Topper Squad System whilst sailing his dad's RS200 at the same time. This was typical of the entry list, with many either making guest visits to the RS200 with an eye the future, or borrowing a helm or parents boat.
Saturday's sailing was run under clearing skies and a nice 10-12 knots of breeze. The decision to run all the racing under the black flag caught out some of the eager competitors but did ensure that all future starts were off first time. As the race unfolded it became apparent that the competition was going to be tough right through the field as every competitor was scrapping for positions on the water.
Out in front from start to finish was Paul Dorrer sailing with Ian Robertson, pushing him along for much of the race was Adam Fox and Alex Mills. However some clever sailing from Camille Parsons crewed by Mr Motivator himself, Jon Lewis, snuck through to take second leaving Adam in third at the finish.
Race two got underway with the fleet spread evenly along the line and splitting up the first beat. This race was very tight for those in the leading pack, who broke away slightly from the group, and places in the top few changed on nearly every leg.
The race was eventually won by Mathew Winter and Sophie Hartley with Charles Roome and Rachel Whigmore finishing in second after being in almost every position in the top 5.
Race 3 proved to be another classic of 200 close races, this time there was no split between the pack and the leaders and places changed regularly with some boats losing or gaining 5 or more places on a leg. The consistent pairing of Alex and Nicola pulled through to get their first win of the event, closely followed by Charles and Rachel.
Under a setting sun the competitors headed to the club house for some food and waited for the disco to start up.
Sunday dawned with an excellent wind forecast but the reality was no wind, low imposing grey clouds and occasional drizzle - nice! Slowly the wind filled in to, at first, a light and patchy F2 then by about 11.30 it had filled in sufficiently to run racing.
The conditions were testing for everyone on the water: competitors and race management alike.
Race 4 got underway and those who came of the start line cleanly and moving pushed forward into an early lead. The team Daniel and Sean Vernon pushed out to a decent size lead and holding off the charging pack Paul and Ian held onto to second. Third went to Mathew and Sophie who did some nice manoeuvring through the fleet.
The overall event was still wide open with five boats in a position to win as preparations for race 5 got underway.
Race 5 was started on a very pin end biased line that in the final few seconds was worsened by a shift in the wind. The leading boats tacked and found themselves on the layline. After executing a fine pin end start John Pinks and Steve Wilson gradually sailed away from the fleet on a biased course.
Behind them the tactics of how to a reach had been forgotten by many who sail
windward-leeward courses and this opened the possibility for a reasonable amount of place changing. Storming through the fleet from a poor first mark position was Daniel and Sean, who snuck through then held onto third, boosting them to second overall. Edward Chapman and Tom Peel, who borrowed a boat for day 2 of the event, showed that they know where to go by sailing into second place for race 5.
The RS200 Youth Nationals now seems to have an established slot in the calendar of many youngsters. This is probably because of the RS200's versatility in the hands of lightweight teams and the emphasis the RS Class Association places on good quality racing backed up by a strong social scene.
1st 766 Alex Good Nicola Smith Ripon SC
2nd 762 Daniel Vernon Sean Vernon Rotherham SC
3rd 695 Paul Dores Ian Robertson Bowmoor SC
4th 719 Matthew Winter Sophie Hartley Beaver/Ripon SC
5th 812 Charles Roome Rachel Wigmore HISC
6th 754 Camille Parsons Pongo Lewis Bowmoor SC
For full results see page 2...