CONGRATULATIONS TO JOHN BOOTH YOUR 2023 RS700 NATIONAL CHAMPION!
Event photos thanks to William Stacey. You can buy photos from his superb event gallery here
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Day one report
Day two report
Day three report
Day four report
RS700 Noble Marine National Championship Day One
Best day one ever? I don’t think you would get a resounding yes from all sailors, but I certainly enjoyed it! Fuelled by Wednesday night’s excellent chicken casserole and fresh from a pleasant snooze under the warm starry sky.... (alright I’ll stop and get to the sailing)... the 30 strong fleet glided out of the river into a 6 to 10 knot South Easterly exactly as forecast.
Race one saw Richie Thurlby shoot out of the pin end and use his upwind pace to round first by a fair few boat lengths with John Booth in 2nd. Ultimately though it was Rob Higgins who paired good strategy with pace to take the win. John and Richie swapped places several times with Richie's upwind speed proving to be the deciding factor.
Race two saw Tom Porter shoot out of the blocks, trapeze hard and show the fleet a clean pair of ...rack bars.... With untouchable upwind speed, he held his lead to the finish with Rob getting the better of the chasing pack only to fall victim to an unfortunate schmelting.... I mean snagging incident just before the finish allowing John through with Richie close behind.
In race three John managed to sneak around in first and extend on a tussling Pete Purkiss and Rob Higgins. Unfortunately though, 30 years of sailing hadn’t taught him to read the number of laps and so he left the chasing pack to enjoy a bit of variety as the right side of the course paid for the first time with more breeze than the patchy left. Rob got the better of them to take the win with James Clarke reading the conditions best to progress to 2nd.
Day two forecast is less promising but there is a short burst of more 6 to 9 knots South Easterly after midday. With a belly full of another excellent meal (chilli this time) I am optimistic but fingers crossed anyway.
Report by John Booth
Up on Y&Y here
Day one daily prize giving
Winner: Rob Higgins
Mid-fleet: Mike Banks
Day Two of Noble Marine RS700 National Championship
Day two dawned with a cold and misty start (17°C). A three hour delay was inevitable and meant we were launching at a similar state of tide as yesterday, leading to another long trek down the slipway.
Race one proved getting a good start was essential for a clean lane out to the left, with almost all of the fleet heading to that corner. John Booth showed incredible upwind speed to round in 1st followed by James Clark and Richie Thurlby. John had a commanding lead the rest of the race ahead of Richie and Marek Dudak who sneaked past James to take 3rd.
With it becoming apparent the left was strong, the pin end was getting busy as everyone was fighting for a clean lane. Pete Purkiss was a bit too keen, jumping the gun in the second race - whatever it takes to keep his nickname Pistol Pete. It was Jack Grogan who, with a combination of a great pin end start and strong boat speed, rounded the top mark in 1st, with John and Rob Higgins close behind. John and Rob showed their rapid downwind speed to sneak past Jack at the gybe point. John continued his dominant performance to take the win, followed by Rob and then Jack.
Special mention to Tom Porter for capsizing at the mark and righting it without losing any places!
Report by Richie Thurlby
Up on Y&Y here
Day two daily prize giving
Winner: John Booth
Mid-fleet: Nathan Steffenoni
Day Three of RS700 Noble Marine National Championship
Another morning dawned and the fleet were met again with mirror like conditions. So a short postponement was posted to allow the wind to come in. We finally hit the water and the fleet had to navigate around the smack and barges which has just started their race, not your usual sight.
Another light wind start saw John Booth take the lead with his lightening upwind speed and disappear into the distance. Behind it was a lot closer for the rest of the fleet, lots of close racing and place changes. Rob Higgins took second and Richard Allen 3rd in his brand new boat. Great to see that the new boats available from RS are straight in at the pointy end.
A keen fleet saw the first recall of the week. The race officer feeling kind allowed the fleet to try again under no further restrictions. A rare bad start from series leader John allowed some of the other to enjoy the pointy end. Marek Dudak shot out the middle of the line to hold an early lead. Marek didn’t quite hit hard enough left (a common theme of the week) and allowed Rob and Philip Highfield to sneak in. Rob held onto to take the win from John who had recovered incredible well to take second. Phil took third.
With most of the fleet praying the race officer was going to tell us to go home the flag went up for the third race. Marek and Richie Thurlby shot out of the line and held the early advantage. John cleared his air went a bit further left, along with his speed snuck in at the top mark to take the lead. John took the win, Marek showing great speed all day took second, and Rob managing to sneak past Richie taking third.
The fleet were welcomed ashore for the second day in a row by ice chilled cans of pop or booze thanks to RS Sailing. This was a great reward for the return of a tally.
The fleet enjoyed another great evening with a club home cooked dinner and plenty to drink setting us all up for hopefully a better forecast tomorrow. It’s tight at the top so it’s all to play for going into the final day.
Report by Rob Huggins and James Clark
Up on Y&Y here
Day three daily prize giving
Winner: John Booth
Mid-fleet: David Bridle
Overall Report for RS700 Noble Marine National Championship
Carrying on the completely non-existent tradition of starting with alliteration, I will sum up this event, as the light left leaning lake-like event…. with tide, rivers and barges… so not lake like at all really.
Many of us rolled up early enough for the Wednesday night meal to enjoy a pleasant evening catching up with friends, admire the scenery and whinge about the forecast… but in wholesome positive way of course. Some eager beavers even got there early enough for a pre-event sail to check out the racing area and take note of the shallow bits.
Day One: Donning our Summer wetsuits as late as possible to avoid sweating off too many pints and taking as much water as we could carry in our new Rooster dry bags, we pushed off into the ebbing tide and set sail towards the windfarm to locate the committee boat and discover how many things we had rigged incorrectly.
Unbeknown to us at the time, this day was to have some of the strongest gusts of the event clocking in at a howling 10 or maybe even 11 knots.
In a faultless display of decision making that would run for the entire event, the race officer decided to heed the warnings of the forecast and make full use of the champagne conditions by running an extra race. By the end of the day the sailors had learned that left pays (no idea why) and therefore getting a clean start and holding your lane was paramount…. which is a problem, because that is no mean feat amongst 26 of the finest competitors sailing has ever seen. But then, no one buys a RS700 thinking it is going to be easy so we only have ourselves to blame.
In the battle of the clubs, those flying the flag for Chew Valley showed their class in the results taking the top spots but the real kudos (at least in the bar afterwards) goes to two representatives of Stokes Bay who held their kite for the entire final tight reach to the finish (needless to say I was not one of them).
That was a wrap on day one and with all the sailing cobwebs shaken off, all that remained was to watch from the club house as the sun set over the sand bar, enjoy the lovely meal and engage the brain for a quiz before trundling off to bed and dream about a day when the kite halyard works perfectly.
Day two and the wind blew from a similar direction but with a bit less oomph. Two pleasant races were sailed on the inner loop but I think most (if not all) were ready to go in having drunk their water supplies dry and with aching legs from the awkward positions that must be held in such conditions! The Stokes Bay massive managed to chip away at the dominance of the Chew Valley massive with the points remaining very close across the fleet.
Day three will go down history (I assume) as patchy day. A postponement allowed time for a walk along the sea front to see the tidal pool, catch up on some of the history of Brightlingsea and learn a thing or two about oysters.
Although there were glassy patches dotted around the course, there was a fairly steady wind to be had, unless of course someone to windward was stealing it. Upwind was spent mostly staring at tell tales and putting your feet on parts of the boat that definitely weren’t designed to be stepped on. Downwind was about soaking low with as much speed as you could gather from the large main and kite. Points remained tight at the top with special mention for our Czech counterpart Marek Dudak, who utilised clean starts and bold independent strategies to launch him into the top five.
Day four and we were on schedule for a full series of races which was more than many had hoped. In a fitting send off, the wind arrived hitting 10 knots or so in the gusts. The tide was under us for the first time shoving us upwind and extending the lovely downwind legs planing over the sun kissed waters off Mersea island. By now we were all getting the hang of this sailing malarky and despite the sore muscles, it was evident from the smiles that everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves.
With the points so close, prizes remained open until the final race but now the competitors could relax and enjoy a nice blast back into the mouth of the river Colne dodging the unseasonably large number of swimmers.
As always, our RS700 Class Association Secretary Clare Sargent was there to greet the incoming sailors with her eternal smile and coupled with the temptation of a cold soft drink or beer (thanks RS Sailing!) we were drawn towards the tally board like moths to a flame to tally off for the final time. The prize giving table was already set up and with just enough time to shower and mostly pack up our boats, we gathered in the club house to collect our wonderful prizes from Rooster, Noble Marine, Spinlock and Fernhurst Books and give the thanks that was due in ample measure for the sterling efforts of Clare, Brightlingsea Sailing Club’s race and shore teams, and of course the competitors for bringing their A game!
Report by John Booth
RS700 Final Prize Giving
Endeavour Trophy: plate, Fernhurst Books voucher, Rooster cup: Brightlingsea SC Stephen Carr
1st Weekend: plate, Rooster cup: Dabchicks SC Will Head
Fidelis Trophy: plate, Rooster cup: Lancing SC Matt Carter
1st Bronze: plate, Rooster cup: Dabchicks SC Thomas Dutton
1st Silver: trophy, plate, Rooster cup: Great Yarmouth and Gorleston SC Philip Highfield
1st Apprentice: plate, Rooster cup: West Mersea YC Jack Grogan
1st Youth: plate, Rooster cup: Hill Head, Stokes Bay and Castle Cove SCs Richie Thurlby
1st Master: trophy, plate, Rooster phone case: Brightlingsea SC Pete Purkiss
6th place: plate, Rooster phone case: West Mersea YC Jack Grogan
5th place: plate, Rooster blue hat, Noble Marine cap: Cere YC CZE Marek Dudak
4th place: plate, Rooster grey hat, Noble Marine cap: Chew Valley SC James Clark
3rd place: plate, Rooster blue hat, Noble Marine cap: Hill Head, Stokes Bay and Castle Cove SCs Richie Thurlby
2nd place: plate, Rooster towel, Noble Marine cap: Chew Valley SC Rob Higgins
1st place and RS700 National Champion for 2023: trophy, plate, Rooster laptop backpack, Noble Marine cap: Stokes Bay SC John Booth