Riding the Tide with Red Bull
The second Red Bull Tide Ride was held at Hayling Island SC, with over one hundred boats from the 49er, B14, RS800 and International 14 classes competing over short windward/leeward courses in a series of elimination races for prize money.
Breaking away from the traditional open meeting race series, the Red Bull Tide Ride presents competitors with a first day of qualifying races in a round robin format, which seed the elimination racing for the final day. Then an elimination format, over short courses with gates to keep the action compact and maintain maximum boat contact, in which crews can recover from a poor race to win the title as no points are carried forward - each round a new start.
After Saturdays qualifying races the elimination groups were decided and Sunday saw the start of the sudden death stage. Starting with twenty boats from each of the four classes racing in ten boat groups, each class was reduced to six finalists and the action was transferred to as close to the Hayling shore as possible. With the start line and gybe mark set close to the new clubhouse, assisted by the extremely high tide, action was easily visible to the spectators.
First away were the B14s in a force 3 north-easterly and Simon Nelson and Andy Ramus were quickly up to speed and untroubled as they powered away for a comfortable win from Tim Fells and Dave Cunningham, with Dave Hayes and Sean Dwyer. This was a first time at the event for the class and Simon Nelson who had worked to get them involved was totally enthused with the close racing and hectic style of event - he even promised to get fit for next years.
Next up were the RS800s and this turned out to be the highlight of the event. With the breeze still holding up and the tide not yet in full spate the 800s started with Geoff Carveth and Craig Davies leading from the pin, inshore end. At the windward mark Richard Lovering and Nick Hutton had broken through to lead down the first gybe from Carveth, with Mike Lennon and Nicky Griffen in third place. By the gybe mark Lennon was up into second and James Date and Mike Warren had pushed Carveth into fourth.
By the second time at the gybe mark Lennon had closed on Lovering and they started the final beat with Lennon to windward. Meanwhile Carveth recovered to third in a melee at the mark, which saw Barry Edgington and Roz Allen penalised. Down the final run Lovering pulled out enough space to gybe for the line with a four boat length lead and retain the title he won last year. Lennon was second with Carveth just holding third ahead of Paul Jenkins and Colin Hatton.
By the start of the International 14 final the wind had started to ease and it was Rob Greenhalgh and Dan Johnson away very slowly at the pin end, in a now very strong tide, followed by Peter Dann and Dominic Stainislaus. They worked the Hayling side with better progress once they cleared the island. Coming down the run Greenhalgh just maintained his lead over Dann at the gybe mark, leaving the drop as late as possible in the strong tide. Third round were James Fawcett and Jonny Mears.
As the 14s started their final upwind leg the 49ers were in their starting sequence, as the Race Officer attempted to get them away before the tide completely overcame the failing breeze.
Rounding just a couple of boat lengths behind Greenhalgh at the final gybe mark Dann was penalised for touching the mark and had to do a penalty turn. This forced him to sail behind the 49er fleet as they came off their start, out into the foul tide, letting Fawcett through into second. This was the finishing order with Greenhalgh and Johnson winning comfortably.
The start of the 49ers was in a now roaring tide and it was slow progress to the first mark where Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith led from Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes. Morrison found better power down the run to lead through the gate from Brotherton with Pieter Lantenmens and Pim Nienwenhuis of the Netherlands in third. At the gybe mark this was the order, followed by Chris Sundby and Frode Bovim of Norway
Morrison sailed high on the second beat while Brotherton dived through his lee for the slacker water and seemed to have succeeded, but a shift to the right favoured Morrison and Brotherton's charge was over. At the start of the final round the order remained the same with Morrison having increased his lead and the Tide Ride lived up to its name as the gybe mark started out of the harbour. A boat took over the station and Morrison and Rhodes whistled downwind to the line and victory.
An event of this magnitude requires a lot of input and ability by the organising club and HISC were well upto the task with two sterling Race Officers; Paul Carpenter and Bev Moss and their teams, controlling the many races in changing conditions. Red Bull provided the onshore backup and commentary services and kept everyone entertained during the racing and in the evening, they also put up the prize money for the winners and runners-up in each class.
Is this the future? From the comments of those taking part it is defiantly a popular format, providing a break from the every race to count, fleet type event. Red Bull and Hayling have an event which could just prove to be a mould-breaker and with right conditions is a crowd pleasing event that deserves to be better known.
1 Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes
2 Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith
3 Pieter Lantenmens and Pim Nienwenhuis
4 Christopher Sundby and Frode Bovim
5 Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks
6 Rodion Luke and George Leonchuk
1 Rob Greenhalgh and Dan Johnson
2 James Fawcett and Jonny Mears
3 Peter Dann and Domonic Stainislaus
4 Paul Vine and Dave Dobrrvuvic
5 Mark Upton-Brown and Andrew Jameson
6 Colin Smith and Pestor Helm
1 Simon Nelson and Andy Ramus
2 Tim Fells and Dave Cunningham
3 David Hayes and Sean Dwyer
4 Mark Barnes and Thomas Pygall
5 Matthew Searle and Richard Bell
6 Matthew Flint and Simon West
1 Richard Lovering and Nick Hutton
2 Michael Lennon and Nicky Griffen
3 Geoff Carveth and Craig Davies
4 Paul Jenkins and Colin Hatton
5 Barry Edgington and Roz Allen
6 James Date and Mike Warren