RS200s at Welsh Harp

David Giles reports on last weekend's action

Wednesday April 16th 2003, Author: David Giles, Location: United Kingdom
The first meeting of the inaugural South East Travelers series took place on the Welsh Harp on Sunday 13th April and the 24 competitors who took part were blessed with bright sunshine and a good but gusty breeze.

After the extremely wild conditions last year and the drifter the year before it seemed that the weather was finally cooperating! Unfortunately, however, just as racing started, the wind shifted to the southeast – a tricky direction on the Welsh Harp – and set the pattern for the day was set with constant wind-shifts and substantial changes in strength, - exhausting stuff!

Races 1 saw Ollie Holden/Sarah Freestone emerge from a congested start line to lead throughout, pushed hard by Martin English/Bridget Cooke. After a poor start David Giles ably crewed by his ten-year-old son Matthew, worked their way up to third.

Race 2 was dominated by Giles and Giles with English/Cooke again in pursuit. Holden/Freestone finished third, only to discover that they had been OCS.

After lunch Holden/Freestone perfect start put them back in control. Simon and Mary Davis and Giles/Giles followed them off the line. As Holden and Freestone pulled away Giles closed in on Davis managing to pass on one of the short downwind legs. This order remained to the finish.

By race 4 it was a straight fight between Holden and Giles for overall victory. Strange things happen at times in competitive sailing and so it proved in this race. An incident between these two at the start left Giles doing turns and then retiring as the fleet disappeared up the first beat, believing Holden to be uncatchable. Shortly after Holden was forced to retire with a shredded mainsheet. This was particularly ironic as whilst coaching at the training event the previous day, Holden had been emphasizing the need to ensure race equipment is in top order! Holden’s retirement handed victory back to Giles! With these two out of the way race 4 saw a Wembley top-3 with Davis/Davis leading home Simon and Kate Gillow and Chris Woodard/Alex Porter. In a final twist, the strongest gust of the day brought the fleet down the final reach at full speed and caused complete carnage at the finish, with four boats capsizing on the line, and three continuing straight on into the dam wall – oops!

The next RS 200 Southeast traveler is at Bough Beech on the 26th followed by Weir Wood SC on the 11th May.

1 – David & Matthew Giles, Weir Wood (6)
2 – Simon & Mary Davis, Wembley (7)
3 – Martin English & Bridget Cooke, Wembley (10)
4 – Simon & Kate Gillow, Wembley (11)
5 – Andi Riley & Julie Marsden, Stewartby (13)
6 – Chris Woodard & Alex Porter, Wembley (15)

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