RS Games: RS100 and 500s preview
This will be the second RS100 National Championships ever held, and the fleet will enjoy 10 races as part of the RS Games multi-class regatta that is being held this summer at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
The RS100 single-hander shot to fame after its launch at the 2010 London Boat Show, attracting a number of top sailors to the fleet. The 2011 Nationals already has 42 entries signed up.
Form jockey is Neal Freeman (Parkstone Yacht Club) who won the first RS100 Nationals last September and recently took the honours at the Gul Grand Prix event at Highcliffe in June.
But there is competition at every turn in this fleet! Alex Morrison (Leigh and Lowton) has also taken top spots at Gul Grand Prix events this year, whilst current RS100 Inland Champion, Paul Childs (Southampton), is fresh from victory at the RS100 Eurocup in Lake Como, Italy. Huw Powell took second at the first RS100 Nationals will want to go one step further this year.
Another face that has consistently been at the front of the fleet in recent months, taking the overall win at a Gul Grand Prix event earlier this year, is Chris Larr (Northampton). Chris has a depth of talent in the RS single-handers, having been RS Vareo National Champ in the past, and clearly he is now starting to master the RS100 too.
Dark horses could include Steve Birbeck (Royal Torbay Yacht Club) a top Laser sailor and former RS600 National Champion; Lars Holm who is making the trip from Denmark; and Nick Peters, Director of RS Sailing, whose prowess in several RS classes is widely known.
There’s no doubt that the RS500 will be a class in the spotlight at the RS Games, a multi-class extravaganza taking place at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, exactly one year ahead of the Olympic Games. Racing nine races between 16-20th August, this double-handed trapeze class will compete for both the UK National and the World Championships.
This dual championship marks the coming of age of the RS500, being by far and away the biggest event that the class has held so far; 56 entries have already been taken for the Magic Marine RS500 World Championship. Half of the entries (28 boats) have come from the UK, with the other half of the fleet hailing from abroad. Entries have come from across Europe and even as far away as Hong Kong.
Followers of this fleet could be mistaken for thinking that the championship will be a two horse race. Tim Wilkins/Heather Martin (Hickling Broad) start as favourites following wins at the RS500 World Championship in Holland last year as well as at the 2010 UK National Championship. But stiff competition will come from 2009 European Champions, Alex Taylor/Bryan Mobbs (Budworth), who will be eager to reverse the 2010 Worlds result when they settled for second.
However, these top tips will be faced with some serious competition from mother-daughter team Debbie and Charlie Darling. A past double Olympian 470 sailor, Debbie (nee Jarvis) will be crewed by her 14 year old daughter, Charlie who is current RS Feva National Champion and 2010 World Champion. A formidable duo indeed!
Also in with a good chance is Mike Saul (Yorkshire Dales) who was the inaugural class National Champion in 2007. Mike is returning to the RS500 class after a short break, and doubtlessly will be keen to push back onto the pace.
Strong performances to date on the 2011 UK class circuit indicate that the Curits’s (Island Barn) and Phil Highfield/Tamsin Butcher (Great Yarmouth) could well also be in contention, especially at the latter pairing were runners up at last year’s Nationals.
And of course, with such a strong international presence, there’s sure to be a few foreign faces at the front of the fleet giving the Brits a run for their money. Amongst the most promising teams are Michael Geerling/Hilde van Susante (Holland) who have steadily been increasing their game from a 6th place at the 2010 Worlds, gaining second place at the RS Eurocup in Carnac in May.