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RS Fat Face European Championship Travemunder Woche, Germany

  • RS700 Nationals Plymouth 2014
  • RS700 Eurocup, YC Carnac, May 2018
  • RS700 Eurocup, YC Carnac, May 2018

Almost everyone who visits Travemunde week is taken aback by the scale and profile of the event.  Mainstream sponsorship from Volkswagen, the level of media coverage, and the non stop program of events and entertainment make for a very special atmosphere which far exceeds anything you`ll find in the UK.  And then you consider the sailing scene, with 5 race courses hadnling everything from lasers to sports boats with a number of old square riggers regularly doing trips round the bay under sail, this is a true festival of sailing.


Having arrived to a stiff 20 knot breeze over the weekend it was somewhat disappointing that Mondays racing started in a light breeze.  Rob Chaplin signalled his intentions for the week when he went hard left up the first beat to take full advantage of a shift to lead at the first mark, a lead which he held to the finish.  Behind him Jon Heissig and Nigel Walbank were fighting for the runner up spot   Nigel came off worse from an incident at the windwark mark and had to settle for third after having completed his turns.  The wind was consistently dropping during the course of the race as the sea breeze struggled to overcome the gradient wind.  The outcome was a draw so sailing was cancelled for the day.


Having enjoyed an evening sampling the many many bars on offer along the promenade the fleet set off again looking forward to some more wind after the problems of the first day.  Unfortunately the Police warned the race committee that thunder and lightning were in the area so the race commiittee were obliged to send everyone home immediately and eventually had to cancel racing for the day.   OK, where are those bar´s again?


With one race to show for two days sailing, the event was not exactly going to plan.  However, Wednesday was windy, very windy with 20-25 knots on the course with some serious gusts providing an additional challenge for the fleet along with the choppy sea.  Game on! 


Alex Southon led out of the block and showed exceptional speed upwind to lead at the windward mark from Nigel Walbank and Jon Heissig.  However a pattern for the day was to shortly play out as Alex dropped it at the first gybe allowing Nigel Walbank and Jon Heissig through.  It was clearly catching as Jon then suffered a number of swims allowing Alex to pull back into second with Rob Chaplin filling out the top three.


In race three Jon Heissig shot out of the blocks to lead at the windward mark from Alex, only to suffer the traditional leaders swim at the first gybe.  This allowed Alex, Nigel and Rob through to enjoy a nip and tuck race which was only resolved when Alex managed a windward capsize at the windward mark allowing Nigel to take his second win of the day with Alex second and Rob third.


The final race of the day again saw Alex sailing higher and faster than the rest of the fleet to lead at the windward mark from Christian Brandt and Jon Heissig.  Nigel went for an unusual swim when tacking for the windward mark which saw him in fifth.  The group bunched down the run and when Alex went for the traditional swim at the first gybe, things were bound to get interesting for those who followed.  Rob Chaplin managed to navigate the situation best and took the lead from Nigel Walbank with Ian Nolan in third.  Points were very close at the top with both Nigel and Rob on 4 points with the same results profile.


Thursday dawned with 8-10 knots blowing across the race course and a lot of shifts allowing the more tactical sailors to really show their form.  Jon Heissig showed his intentions by port tacking the fleet.  Unfortunately he found himself the wrong side of a shift and quickly lost his advantage sand it was Nigel Walbank who led the fleet with John Peet and Matt Stark in close order behind him.  To compound his error a fast charging Jon Heissig managed to drop the boat during the first gybe but didn´t let this hinder him as he worked his way back through the fleet to take the race win with Matt Stark second, Rob third and Nigel down in fifth.


Race 6 saw the wind increase slightly to provide a really close game of snakes and ladders.  Nigel Walbank again led the fleet from Dave Gorringe but they both badly misjudged the layline for the finish and let Jon to take his second win of the day from Rob and Christian.  Race 7 saw Nigel back on form and leading the race throughout with Jon second and Rob loosing the final tustle going into the finish to let Mark Pollington and Dave through.  This again left the championship race very close with Rob, Jon and Nigel all ver y cloe on points.


The committee decided to sail a fourth race to make up for those lost earlier in the week.  It was Jon´s turn to dominate the race leading from start to finish with Rob and Nigel battling it out behind.  Rob led down the final run but crucially mistimed the final gybe allowing Nigel though to take second in the race and the championship lead on 10 points with Jon second tied on 12 points with Rob. 


Rob,s last gybe mistake proved to be extremely expensive as with 40 knots blowing across the course area, all sailing had to be cancelled for the day, leaving Nigel Walbank crowned a popular 2007 European Champion.  Next time Rob, next time!  The fleet joined the other classes in the Regatta village for the prize giving before retiring to the bars to enjoy a few well earned beers whilst watching the spectacular Laser and firework show set over the river with the four masted Passat as a backdrop.


The class would like to extend their thanks to the Travemunde team and to Fat Face for their continuing support.  With sailors of 5 Nationalities competing, the 700 is becoming a truly international fleet and it was a great opportunity for the European sailors to pick up some of the tuning and techniques available from the established UK fleet.


The 700 Eurocup circuit continues in the Autumn with the French RS Nationals at Carnac.  See you there.


Ian Nolan.


1 GBR 966 Walbank, Nigel Lymington Town SC 3 1 1 2 [5] [4] 1 2 10,00 1
2 GBR 882 Heissig, Jon Lymington Town 2 5 [DNF] [8] 1 1 2 1 12,00 2
3 GBR 1 Chaplin, Rob Queen Mary 1 [3] 2 1 3 2 [5] 3 12,00 3
4 GBR 963 Pollington, Mark HISC 4 [7] [7] 4 4 5 6 4 27,00 4
5 GER 959 Brandt, Christian Blankeneser SC [DNF] 6 5 5 6 3 4 [7] 29,00 5
6 GBR 960 Nolan, Ian   [DNF] [8] 4 3 7 6 7 5 32,00 6
7 GBR 902 Gorringe, David Lymington Town Sailing Club [DNF] 4 8 6 [9] 7 3 8 36,00 7
8 GBR 934 Stark, Matthew Netley [DNF] [10] 6 7 2 10 9 9 43,00 8
9 FRA 734 Friederich, André YCDer [DNF] 9 9 [DNS] 10 8 11 10 57,00 9
10 GBR 788 Peats, Jonathan DWSC [DNF] [DNS] DNS DNS 8 11 8 6 65,00 10
11 GBR 927 Newton-Southon, Alex   [DNF] 2 3 [DNS] DNS DNS DNS DNS 69,00 11
12 GER 818 Snedker, Jan CKA [DNF] [DNF] DNS DNS DNF 9 10 DNS 83,00 12
13 GER 792 Kreutzer, Achim BSC [DNS] [DNS] DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 96,00 13
13 FRA 895 François, Maillard   [DNF] [DNF] DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS DNS 96,00 13
13 GER 830 Döhler, Max LYC [DNF] [DNF] DNS DNS DNF DNS DNS DNS 96,00 13
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