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RS Aero UK National Championships - Hayling Island, UK 18/08/2021 - 22/08/2021
RS Aero UK National Championships - Hayling Island, 18-22 Aug
The forecast is for a mixed week weather-wise with something for everyone of the 144 entrants set to compete for the RS Aero UK National Championship at Hayling Island. Updates here daily...
Racing is underway at the 2021 RS Aero UK Nationals with a whopping fleet of 144 RS Aeros signed up and looking forward to a fun week hosted at Hayling Island Sailing Club. A mixed forecast looks set to provide good racing with opportunities for everyone to shine.
Pre Event Coaching Wednesday was a chilled warm up day for the main event. In the morning UK Class Training Coordinator Sammy Isaacs-Johnson delivered a coaching session ashore, sharing the lessons learnt over the Class’ seven years to help those new to the Class and to championship racing.
RS Aero Challenge Cup Later in the afternoon the fleet set out for the RS Aero Challenge Cup supported by Harken, an all RS Aero trophy/practice race with Class starts but an overall average lap PY results sheet. With the breeze increasing from lightish to fruity the RS Aero 7s packed out the top of the leader board with Tim Hire (Lymington) laying down his marker ahead of Craig Williamson (Staunton Harold) and Jack Miller (Felpman) in 3rd (after a scoring query). Top RS Aero 9 was Chris Larr (Draycote) in 9th and 1st RS Aero 5 was Andrew Frost (Sutton Bingham) in 14th. Ladies made a play at the fron with Ellie Craig (Starcross) 10th in her RS Aero 7 and Sasha Tydeman 23nd in her RS Aero 5. Top Youths were Sam Brackley (Felpham) 6th in his RS Aero 7 and Tom Ahlheid (17th) in his RS Aero 5. RS AERO CHALLENGE CUP RESULTS
Club & Family
A fun focus of the UK Championships series is the annual Club and Family Champs titles, both set to be hotly contested this year with the large entry. The Club Champs requires the top three sailors’ overall rankings from each club. For the Family Champs the top two from a family household are taken.
This year 12 Clubs qualify and are in the hunt with at least 3 sailors. Lymington Town is a regular contestant in the Club stakes but this year the incredible home team Armada of 33 RS Aeros from Hayling will prove a formidable force. Checking Wednesday’s Challenge Cup results keep an eye on Felpham’s large team of 10 after they smashed in a 3, 6, 11…
In the Family Champs 15 teams contest the family title, with Team Ahlheid and Wharmby hedging their bets, both with 3 family competitors! Last year’s champions and runners up teams were both made up of siblings (no parents required!) and both the Hires and Halls return this year to contest the title again. To equate the three different sized fleets an approximate multiplier will be applied as necessary.
A tricky day on the water! Sloppy chop and a light fluctuating breeze kept the 144 RS Aero sailors working hard throughout the day! The racing challenges were quickly forgotten when back on shore with Drinks for Tallies hosted by RS Sailing and the daily prize giving going deep down the fleet with top tip gems shared by the leaders! In the RS Aero5 and RS Aero 7s the day rewarded consistency with it difficult to get three good results. Doing the best job of that and top of the scoreboard overnight were Tom Ahlheid and Craig Williamson respectively. The RS Aero 9s day belonged to Ben Rolfe with a 1,1,2 taking a commanding lead.
Day 1 Movie
More wind than expected! After a 2 hour postponement ashore the fleet were rewarded with a nice 12-14kn out of the SW with waves building through the afternoon - Hayling Bay at its best! This gave an opportunity for sailors to put their shoulders back upwind and seek out large rewards for good wave catching techniques down the run.
Tim Hire smashed the RS Aero 7s knocking in three 1sts and Greg Bartlett two 2nds, both making amends from struggling on Day 1. Three consistent scores see Craig Williamson on Ben Flower at the top with mover and shaker Jack Miller moving up with two 3rds.
David Peaty won the day in the RS Aero 5s with two 1sts to take the lead with Andrew Frost 2nd with two 3rds.
Three wins in the RS Aero 9s saw Peter Barton take the overnight lead however Ben Rolfe is keeping it close with three 2nds
Drinks for Tallies and Aero chocolate on coming ashore went down well, hosted today thanks to Selden Mast.
Day 2 Movie
Day 3 6-12kn blew on Saturday and the wind was set to move SE->SW which left the fleet thinking to protect the right. However, if only it was that easy with a flicking breeze and the Hayling Bay tide!
In the RS Aero 5s David Peaty (Draycote) and Andrew Frost (Sutton Bingham) pulled out a good lead on the fleet to be within a point of each other and ready to duke it out on the final day.
In the RS Aero 7s the day belonged to Noah Rees (Lymington) with a smart 5,1,1 and some impressive winning margins to give him the overnight lead. A solid day mostly inside the top four of the 74 boat fleet left the chasing pack of Ben Flower (Paignton), Tim Hire (Lymington) and Craig Williamson (Staunton Harold) all within three points of the lead and set for a final day showdown.
In the RS Aero 9s both Ffinlo Wright (Isle of Man) and Rory Cohen (South Cerney) came to the front with a race win each. Peter Barton (Lymington) and Ben Rolfe (Burghfield) extended their margin at the front for another final day decider!
On Saturday night the fleet enjoyed a wonderful BBQ on Hayling Island Sailing Club’s balconies overlooking the harbour followed by the ever legendary Hayling Disco until late!
Day 4 Blue skies graced the racecourse on Sunday and with a pleasant 6-10kn diagonally offshore the Championships have had a good variety of conditions with something for everyone! Two races remained and all three UK titles were up for grabs with tight score lines at the top of each fleet!
David Peaty suffered an OCS in the first race but Andrew Frost failed to capitalise on it with a 5th. It all went to the last race and fittingly the leaders took the 1-2. David won the race but Andrew Frost’s 2nd immediately behind was just enough to secure the title by a point! Andrew is an ex RS Aero 5 World Champion but this is his first national title after missing out to Lina Kolk of Estonia the last time we were at Hayling in 2017 - before we wrote the national rule into the NoR! Tom Ahlheid (Frensham) took 3rd and top youth ahead of Harrison Pye (Draycote) in 4th and Sam Blaker (Benfleet) in 5th.
Congratulations to top junior (U16), local sailor Charlie Gran in 6th. Special mention to the huge new home RS Aero fleet at Hayling topping 50 RS Aeros there now, with 33 competing this week! This is boosted by the large numbers of Ladies taking to the RS Aero 5 Class there.
In the RS Aero 7s the top four was reversed with both Tim Hire and Craig Williamson scoring four points each with a 2,2 and a 1,3 respectively. This left a tie break at the top of the score sheet with the title lifted by Tim Hire on tie break by virtue of his three 1st places in Friday’s good breeze. Ben Flower took 3rd overall with Noah Rees in 4th and Greg Bartlett (Starcross) 5th. Noteworthy is the enthusiastic group of young RS Aero sailors from 6th-12th, set to make their mark on the top positions in future years. Special mention goes to 15 year old Peter Cope (Isle of Man) in 12th overall - one to watch!.
The RS Aero 9s saw lots of place changes over the last two races. With better discards in the bag a 4,1 was just enough for Ben Rolfe to leapfrog into pole position for the title by a point overall from Peter Barton, decided on the final finishing leg! The day belonged to UK Class Chairman Richard Watsham (Starcross) with a 1,2 to step up to 4th overall, with Chris Larr (Draycote) in 3rd.
PHOTOS thanks to all our UK Nationals photographers;
Many thanks to Hayling Island Sailing Club for being such excellent and welcoming hosts with an abundance of enthusiasm and expertise. Our Race Officer Mark Woods did a splendid job following the wind as necessary and with minimal delay which enabled great racing with 11 races in a good variety of conditions.
Huge thanks to the support of Rooster, Selden, RS Sailing and Harken in providing an excellent spread of goodie prizes with daily awards where the leaders passed on their top tips daily on how they did it! ‘Drinks for Tallies’ hosted by RS Sailing and Selden Mast was as popular as ever and enabled a refreshing sociable chat after the day’s racing. The fleet of charter RS Aeros provided by RS Sailing enabled both extra family members and new sailors to the Class to try out and join the fleet for the Championship.
The Class now moves to a busy late summer and autumn schedule with championships in Sweden, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. The domestic UK scene is as packed as ever with a variety events headed by the upcoming Inland Championships at Draycote on 16/17th October with 100 RS Aeros anticipated. Check out the RS Aero Events List here and keep in touch with the RS Aero Class via both the Class website and Facebook Group
Wednesday was the RS Aero Challenge Cup
Thursday to Sunday was the Championship Series
Masters category results just count the first two races each day