RS Games: RS300 and 700 class previews
With 30 boats so far entered for the combined RS700 UK National and European Championships, this single-handed trapeze fleet will battle it out over a 13 race series. The class will compete from 19-23rd August, as part of the RS Games, a unique event which brings together nine of the RS classes in a series of concurrent championships. With a packed schedule on and off the water, participants can look forward to a buzzing event and the chance to socialise with other RS fleets. The RS700s will also benefit from daily coaching sessions throughout the championship, which will take place prior to racing.
So when it comes to the competition, what does the line-up look like?
Defending National Champion, Jon Heissig (Llangorse) looks set to lead the fleet from the start. But there will be a good number of others vying for pole position too.
Notable amongst those will be Tony Dencher (Netley Sailing Club) who finished third at the 2010 National Championship, together with Steve Powell (Queen Mary Sailing Club) who finished fourth at the same event. Mike Dencher (Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club) will also be pushing hard, hoping to top his position of third at the 2009 Nationals. Any of these three are capable of pulling the right result out of the bag when it comes to the event itself. And bearing in mind that this is also the European Championship, outside chancers from foreign waters cannot be ruled out.
The A W Accounting RS300 National Championships will be made up of a 12-race series, scheduled to take place at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy between 23-26th August. The RS300 will be one of nine RS classes taking part in the RS Games multi-class championship extravaganza, a unique event which will see concurrent championship events hosted over a 12 day period.
The RS300 is a niche single-hander that demands a high skill level and is renowned for being one of the trickiest dinghies there is to master. Despite that, the RS300 is currently enjoying a spike in its popularity, and the record entry number set at the 2009 Nationals (33 boats) is not far off being broken, with less than 3 weeks until the start of the event.
Hanging over the RS300 fleet is the big question of whether anyone can topple Steve Bolland (Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club). Steve has won the last three RS300 National Championships in a row, and in 2011 won both of the Gul Grand Prix RS300 events he sailed, so will naturally be looking to top the podium at this year’s championship.
But it won’t be an easy ride. Front-liners trying to stop Steve making it four national championships in a row will include Dave Acres (Thorney Island), who was runner up at the 2009 Nationals, and Tim Keen (Sheffield) who took third place at the 2010 Nationals.
Meanwhile, Mike Bees (Brightlingsea) can claim many good RS300 results from past regattas and will doubtlessly be another force to be reckoned with. Mike has proven both his enjoyment of and skill in championship sailing already this year by winning the recent B14 Nationals.
The Scottish invasion cannot be ignored, and will also have much to impact on who eventually takes the victory.
This may be one of the smallest fleets taking part in the RS Games, but the competition will not be diluted. Showcasing its capacity as a class which accommodates all ages, the RS300 entry list has competitors from age 17 to the ever green Sir Barry Steel who has been a “tad over 55” for as long as the RS300 has existed!
Barry will also entertain the RS300 fleet ashore and no doubt some of the other fleets, as the RS Games social schedule will provide the opportunity for inter-fleet socialising. On that note, Mr Bolland is another one to watch, having huge potential on the social side of things, as proven the last time the RS300 Nationals were hosted at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy!