Open meeting round up from 27/28 April
Wembley SC, home to the UK's largest inland RS 200 fleet, held their annual RS 200 open meeting on 28 April. A truly wild weather forecast deterred a number of expected visitors, but those brave enough to travel were joined by 13 boats from the home fleet and rewarded with an exciting and memorable day's racing.
An ideal wind direction straight down the Welsh Harp permitted a windward/leeward course and the force 4-5 wind, complete with many alarming gusts, guaranteed a hard slog upwind and a scorching ride downwind.
The tone for the day was set early on with several boats capsizing on the way out to the start line, including Jon Lewis. In race 1, locals Simon and Mary Davis and Chris and Linda Woodard were first and second round the windward mark, but Jon Lewis came through on lap 2 to take the victory ahead of them.
Throughout the race the Harp was littered with upturned hulls, including one abandoned, and by the finish eight boats had already returned to the safety of the beach!
Race 2 saw a repeat performance for first and second, this time pursued by Wembley's Martin English and Bridget Cooke, again with numerous capsizes
throughout the fleet and 10 non-finishers.
After lunch, some of the morning's retirees were keen to get back on the water to make amends, but if anything, the conditions were even wilder! Lewis and Hall sewed up the meeting with another victory, chased by English and Cooke, but on the final run a huge gust knocked over everyone in the pursuing group. The Woodards were quickest to recover and snatched third, followed by Andi Riley and Julie Marsden from Stewartby.
With Lewis and Hall able to go in for an early tea, English and Cooke scored a well earned win in race 4, with the Woodards second, and Sam Waddoups and
Steve Jannering getting to grips with their borrowed boat to finish third. Then to cap it all, as the fleet sailed back in from the finish an unbelievable squall came though leaving only one boat upright!
Despite lots of muddy mastheads, this was a classic, - an exhilarating day's racing that will be the topic of conversation amongst the competitors for a while yet!
1st "Smoking Joe", Jon Lewis/Paula Hall Burghfield (3).
2nd "Birthday Girl", Martin English/Bridget Cooke Wembley (6).
3rd "Feck RS Cakes", Chris & Linda Woodard Wembley (8).
4th "Rscape", Simone & Mary Davis Wembley (12).
5th "Whippets Sarce", Andi Riley/Julie Marsden Stewartby (12).
6th "Capsize Supremos", Simon Gillow/Tracey Hill Wembley (16).