Second nationals

The RS500 fleet saw their second ever National Championships take place in Netley

Tuesday August 19th 2008, Author: Debbie Darling, Location: United Kingdom
The Gul RS 500 National Championships were held at Netley Sailing Club on 15-17 August.

The class association organised a pre-nationals training day on the day before run by Nick Martin who also provided coaching advice for the first two days of the championship which was especially welcomed by those who were participating in their first championship event.

Day one saw 37 boats take to the water in a fickle five to eight knot breeze with huge wind fluctuations making the sailing very challenging.

Wayne and Meg Fletcher led around the first but were overtaken on the downwind leg by Debbie Darling and Bethany Robson but they could not keep James Peters and Ollie Spensley-Corfield from taking the lead which they held to the finish. Mike Saul and Sophie Hartley finished second with Alex Taylor and Bryan Mobbs coming through on the line to finish third.

Race two saw the breeze kick in with 15 - 20 knot gusts across the course. Again Peters and Spensley-Corfield dominated the race with Taylor and Mobbs second until the final run when David Giles and Colin Hatton pipped them at the finish.

Race three with the wind increasing still further and just as shifty was dominated by Peters and Spensley-Corfield but Giles and Hatton kept second for the whole race with Matt Johnson and Tom Weatherhead a well earned third.

Day two provided exciting max power sailing. The race officer fitted in four races with two in the morning and two in the afternoon. The wind strength was again very gusty averaging 15 knots.

Race four of the championship saw Alex Taylor and Bryan Mobbs dominate from the first mark and although James Peters and Ollie Spensley-Corfield were close on their heels, gear failure forced them to retire allowing David Giles and Colin Hatton to take second place with Matt Johnson and Tom Weatherhead third.

The race officer was forced to use the black flag rule for race five as competitors became too eager with the tide now pushing them over the line. Again Taylor and Mobbs were in front at the windward mark with Giles second but they were soon overhauled by Peters and Spensley-Corfield who seemed to have superior boat speed downwind. At the finish it was Peters in front followed by Taylor in second and Mike Saul and Sophie Hartley climbing up to take third place.

The tide was in full flow for race six after lunch and it was Giles and Taylor fighting for the lead at the windward mark. Taylor disappeared to win by a good margin with Peters snatching second place from Giles at the last leeward mark.

Race seven saw Peters regain his domination with a perfect port tack start and the fleet were then unable to catch him. Giles held onto the lead on the second beat, nd despite being overtaken by Tim Wilkins and Jordan Rumsby on the run only to get them back on the following beat. The final round saw the wind increase to 20 knots with many capsizes through the fleet however a mention must be made regarding a newly turned 13 year old who completed all four races today whilst crewing for her dad, quite a feat considering how many boats had retired from the race track.

The final day dawned bright and breezy at Netley Sailing Club. After a 15 minute postponement whilst the fleet watched Ben Ainslie achieve his third Gold medal the race officer produced another set of great races for this up and coming fleet.

Andy and Liz Palmer-Felgate could only sail the Sunday of the championship and they benefited from being fit and fresh. They rounded first at the windward mark with James Peters and Ollie Spensley-Corfield and David Giles crewed by Colin Hatton hot on their tail. Peters eventually overhauled Palmer-Felgate on the second run whilst Mike Saul and Sophie Hartley overtook Giles only to loose it again downwind. The final positions were Peters in first, Palmer-Felgate second and Giles third.

The wind increased again for race nine with 20 knot gusts. Peters, Giles and Alex Taylor crewed by Bryan Mobbs tussled all the way round but it was the final run which proved decisive. After Taylor and Peters fought a gybing duel it was Taylor who struggled to drop the kite in a gust allowing Peters to retain the lead and the championship with a race to spare. Giles snatched second with Taylor having to settle with third.

Race ten started in 20 knots but increased even more. Giles, Taylor, Saul and Tim Wilkins crewed by Jordan Rumsby battled at the front of the fleet but again places were not secure until the very end. Giles held the lead to the finish with Taylor close behind. Both Saul and then Wilkins capsized at the final mark allowing Matt Johnson and Tom Weatherhead through to take third and so secure fourth overall.

An exhilarating and exhausting three days sailing culminated in a well deserved National Champion and worthy runners up. James Peters (fresh from his ISAF World Youth Championship win) and Ollie Spensley- Corfield were worthy winners of the Championship crown and first Youth prize; whilst second overall went to David Giles and Colin Hatton who also won the first Masters prize. First Lady Crew went to Sophie Hartley in sixth place with Anita Di Iasio from Italy the first Lady Helm in ninth place.

Many thanks to Netley Sailing Club who made us extremely welcome and provided a great venue for our second National Championship.


1-James Peters and Ollie Spensley-Corfield, 9 pts
2-David Giles and Colin Hatton, 17 pts
3-Alex Taylor and Bryan Mobbs, 19 pts
4-Matt Johnson and Tom Weatherhead, 37 pts
5-Tim Wilkins and Jordan Rumsby, 40 pts
6-Mike Saul and Sophie Hartley, 41 pts

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