RS200 Nationals - Mounts Bay
Photo Credit: Sportography.tv
The last championship of the summer was the RS200 Nationals at Mounts Bay, where 96 teams turned up to a very breezy Penzance bay, with gusts of 40 knots recorded on Saturday.
We were warned that "if you don't like the weather in Cornwall, wait 10 minutes", and this was certainly the case for the first day of racing on Sunday. The overnight storm had blown through but left a choppy swell, which made for great downwind legs and difficult beats. We started the first race in 15-20 knots and finished the last race in about 10. We got off to a decent start making the most of the bigger breeze and crossing the fleet in race 1 but unfortunately ending up with a couple of rusty results that we failed to convert against a top quality fleet. It was obvious it was going to be a high scoring event with the level of competition but also the forecast spinning to a light northerly through the week.
Monday was Wacky Races day, with the breeze slowly fading throughout the day the RO managed to get in the two scheduled races but not without a huge amount of controversy as race 4 was shortened at the wrong mark. With the breeze filling in from behind a bundle of 40 boats crossed the line in one go, good luck spotting any actual results. After a number of protests and redress hearings the result was deemed "fair enough" even with stories of people going from 5th-50th on one leg from the lack of breeze (at times below 4 knots) and big shifts. We were somewhere in the middle and scored a disappointing 14th and 26th, putting us on the back foot but still on the edge of the top 10.
As with last year, we lost Tuesdays racing leading to two big last days with 3 races a day. The come back was on but with a shifting northerly it was all on.
Fuelled by the spirit of last year we went out to take on 'Big Wednesday', the turning point of our event last year, and we looked to do the same again. We started by leading race 5 for two laps before eventually conceding the lead on the second downwind leg with the breeze filling in behind and had to settle for 2nd. Defending was proving tough especially against the lighter teams in the marginal plaining conditions. The next race we got off the start and played the shifts well to finish 5th, another solid race in the shifting breeze, and with our tails up we launched out the gate early and managed to round well inside the top 10. At this point the top 30 carried straight on only to see the remaining fleet gybe at the mark into a gust and the race turned inside out and we had to fight through the pack to finish 17th.
Going into the last day it was a tight affair with only about 20 points separating 4th and 12th overall and one last shifty, gusty day to contend with. The first race did not go to plan. We got a poor start and did a bad job of bailing out and eventually imploded with a bit of a whimper into 27th, not our finest hour. This was followed by about 10 mins of silence in the boat before Sophie managed to turn round and pick us up, "same as every other race, do your best leave the rest, we have nothing to lose". Off we went again midline out the gate, and a big right hand shift came through, but luckily we managed to get round just ahead of the main pack and pick our way through, playing the shifts well downwind and finishing in 10th, gate boat for the final race of the event. The wind continued to track right and as we were forced to go right as gate boat this paid dividends and we led around the first mark and managed to hold off the challenges from a team of Hayling boats to take the bullet and finish on a high.
Looking back after racing there seemed to be a lot of people who had struggled to put a good day together and once ashore no one was certain of 10th to 3rd. Once the results came out it was only 8 points that separated 3rd to 7th and we had managed to pull through to 5th courtesy of our race win.
It was a tough week, with really hard fought and tricky racing proving why the 200 is the class of choice for the pros and club racers alike. Congrats to James and Jo who won convincingly at the end setting the bar high for everyone to chase! Winter is coming, it's the opportunity to look over the boat and get training, both in the UK and the mountains!
Results and Y&Y report:
We tried the new Halitec main halyard which worked perfectly, no stretching and no snags. As always we took our full armoury of Rooster kit with the Supertherm Longjohn and added hiking pads allowing us to keep our legs feeling fresh and hiking hard for the full week.
Thanks Steve and the team at Rooster for your continued support!