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Reports & Results


RS Aero UK Ladies Championship & Coaching - Bowmoor, UK
18/09/2021 - 19/09/2021


Salcombe Gin RS Aero UK Ladies Championship & Coaching - Bowmoor, UK, 18/19 Sept
Thanks to Sarah Desjonqueres for her report!

How to deliver the first ever RS Aero Ladies Training Day and RS Aero Ladies Championship in a few easy steps...

Firstly, you will need the world's friendliest lakeside sailing club, some sleeping pods and a well-stocked bar. Then, take 36 wonderful lady sailors and liberally douse them with wisdom from four hugely knowledgeable, top instructors sprinkling in a little warm September sunshine as you go. Then, gently stir in some wing flicks and tricks along with anti-wrinkle advice and some slick roll tack demos and simply allow the ladies to improve quietly on a calm body of water. Then, before giving them a crazy shake on the dance floor, gently marinade them in Salcombe Gin. With luck they will be ready for some top-level Championship racing the next day. Easy.

And, so it was that on 18th & 19th September 2021, Charlie Sansom and his team at Bowmoor SC, welcomed 36 women and a full training team to the first ever RS Aero Ladies training day and Championship, sponsored by Salcombe Gin and Rooster, and although the wind was limp all weekend, to say the least, nothing could dampen the enthusiasm and appetite for the event.

Saturday's training day began out on the grass where we were all treated to a masterclass from Sammy Isaacs-Johnson and Andrew (Frosty) Frost, in ways to prevent your sail from failing down, how to avoid saggy hiking bums and most importantly, on what to do with your wrinkles... in the sails that is. There were plenty of discussions and demonstrations on where best to sit to keep good trim, and on hiking techniques, particularly for those of a shorter stature. We all leaned in and listened like perfect students. Well, we did until the concentrated silence was disrupted by a car alarm, triggered, apparently, by a window that had been "left open to make sure the wine didn't get too warm". No comment.

After a good 2 hour on-land training session we prepared to go out and practice our new skills on the millpond that beckoned. All along the grassy banks, ladies were trying out new rigging techniques and pretending that they had remembered everything they'd been taught. With halyards jammed tightly into cleats like never before, we bobbed out onto the lake to join our various different training groups to do an experiment on whether the heavier ladies would be able to float as fast as the lighter ones. Well, that's what it felt like. As the former, I would suggest that extra ballast did not pay so well, but then I managed to 'park' my Aero, so I may not be the best example.

Over lunch we watched, with hope, as a lovely little breeze spread across the lake. Taking advantage of this, Frosty leapt into action to flex his World Champion expertise and give us all a demo in roll tacking and roll gybing. The super Melissa Meredith and our totally cool event organiser Caitie Atkin went lakeside and articulately talked us through each movement with a step-by-step guide to the whole roll process. It was brilliant. Then it was over to us to give it a go. As we launched, the wind wandered off elsewhere, but that did not stop us. Out we went, rolls we tried and capsizes we did (well the odd 1 or 2). You could hear laughter up and down the lake. It was heart-warming.

Now, with a Championship looming the next day, it was key that the ladies had a healthy meal and an early night on Saturday, in preparation and all that. After all, there was some gin to win. Back at the pods however, chez the Hayling Ladies, a pres party was under way; the bubbles were flowing and Bridget had even abandoned her crocheting for the evening. As we watched the moon rise over the far side of the lake, the sound of Salcombe Gin being poured into a long glass wandered across the field and began subtly to lure us toward the Club House.

Then, overwhelmed by the dulcet tones of Beyoncé calling all the 'Single Ladies', the pre-race early night idea drowned itself in a gin and elderberry tonic and the dance floor filled. DJ Caitie A was in 'da house' now, and absolutely killed it with some banging tunes that outdid anything from the RS Aero Nationals (apparently). With the odd dance floor interruption for an Indian takeaway delivery and the distraction of 'round the table' climbing competitions, masterfully executed by Teresa Doran, oh and Bridget doing the splits, the evening was one raucous dance off, swimming in laughter and Salcombe Gin. At this point, most were quite glad the weather wasn't going to be honkingly windy tomorrow. Thank you to Bowmoor SC for allowing us to be so crazy.

Contrary to all our arm lifting efforts of the night before, every lady was up early and signed on to race by 9.30am. Weatherwise, we had pretty much the same windless effort as the day before, although there was a slight ripple disturbing the mirrored surface this morning. Plan for the day was 2 races back to back in the morning, round a funky lake shaped course, followed by lunch and a final afternoon race to end the Championship. Launching bang on 10:30, the 7 rigs went first, under a U-flag because we are all so well behaved, with the 5 rigs chasing after. That said, in both race 2 & 3 there were a couple of over eager sailors who ended up OCS - not bad in no wind.

Starting with such little puff is always a tricky one, and there was definitely a rafting incident further up the line near the pin end on one start. But everyone comported themselves perfectly, 720's were done and the racing was fun and fair. In fact, at one point in the second race there were 12 boats which pretty much arrived, slowly, at the gybe mark at the same time. At this point, several ladies discussed the state of play with ladies in the boats adjacent to them, there was some clarification of the rules and then, in the space of about 5 seconds, every single boat rounded the mark, calmly and politely without a single expletive uttered or a single boat to boat bump. It was quite beautiful.

Looking up and down the racing fleet, there was a marked divide in the racing styles. Up at the front was the younger contingent, sailing with conviction, speed and silence stretching their lead with each leg. As you went further down the fleet, you could start to hear conversations between sailors, and then nearer the back, there was simply laughter. Plenty of place swapping took place throughout all 3 races, a bad start didn't necessarily translate into a bad result and vice versa. It definitely paid to watch for the gusts, if you managed to manoeuvre your boat into a dark blue bit, then you could make up some serious ground. There were also some sizeable lifts to capitalise on and some pretty hefty headers both of which called for the roll tack training to be put into practice.

The leading pack of ladies seemed to fly downwind and they looked like they had totally nailed the roll gybes which gave them those important extra bits of acceleration. Throughout the racing, the wind flicked on and off like a light, and it took some proper concentration to keep the boat flat and the tell tales horizontal when the lake mirrored over. To be completely honest, there were moments when you had to watch the reeds gently passing by as an indication that you were actually moving as the mark just didn't seem to be getting any closer. All good practice though...

In the end we did it, all 3 races in the bag. Every competitor finished every race with a sense of achievement and a smile. Well done everyone.

All that's left to say now is a huge thank you to Caitie Atkin, the RS Aero ladies representative for organising the event and to the trainers Sammy, Frosty and Melissa who gave up so much of their time and shared so much of their knowledge. Thank you to the whole team at Bowmoor who laid on a great race day, a super lunch and a crazy party. Thank you to Salcombe Gin and Rooster for your generous sponsorship and prizes. And thank you to all the ladies who came along, you are a truly fantastic bunch of women with and it was an honour to have spent the weekend with you all.

Finally, a big congratulations go to the winners of the first ever RS Aero Ladies Championships.
In the RS Aero 7s all 3 leading ladies finished with 4 points but it was Ellie Craig of Starcross who took first place, with Iona Willows of Lymington Town/Dorchester SC taking 2nd place and Abigail Larr of Draycote Water in 3rd position.
Bagging the RS Aero 5 title was local lady Sophie Van Theil followed in by her team mate Charlotte Hitchmough in 2nd position and Francesca Murphy in 3rd place.

Thank-you everyone. Roll on the next event!
Summer 2021 Gallery for larger photos 
Full Album thanks to David Fewings
Facebook Album thanks to David Fewings


RS Aero 7              
Rank Sail Name Club R1 R2 R3 Total Nett
1st 3866 Ellie Craig Starcross YC -4 3 1 8 4
2nd 3330 Iona Willows Lymington Town SC/ Dorchetser 3 1 -12 16 4
3rd 1888 Abigail Larr Draycote Water SC 2 -19 2 23 4
4th 1655 Sarah Pickard Bowmoor SC -11 2 5 18 7
5th 2321 Claire Power Emsworth Slipper SC -9 4 3 16 7
6th 2870 Cathy Partington Leigh & Lowton SC -17 5 4 26 9
7th 2615 Cathy Bartram Lymington Town SC 1 -16 10 27 11
8th 103 Hilary Baker Hayling Island SC 6 6 -7 19 12
9th 1510 Lucy Haydon Bowmoor SC 5 -12 9 26 14
10th 2439 Abby Hire Lymington Town SC 7 7 -8 22 14
11th 1009 Emily Watson Port Dinorwic SC -13 10 6 29 16
12th 2104 Sarah Davies Bowmoor SC 8 -13 13 34 21
13th 2952 Catherine Hemsley Felpham SC 10 -14 14 38 24
14th 1672 Paula Bentley Felpham SC 16 9 -19 44 25
15th 1354 Teresa Doran Bowmoor SC 14 11 -18 43 25
16th 1751 Fiona Lucas Bowmoor SC 12 (28OCS) 15 55 27
17th 2287 Emma Stokes Hayling Island SC -20 8 20 48 28
18th 2891 Karen Larr Draycote Water SC -23 18 11 52 29
19th 2571 Sarah Desjonqueres Highcliffe SC 15 -21 17 53 32
20th 2883 Hilary Sparkes Chichester YC 19 15 -23 57 34
21st 2050 Lizzie Fewings Bowmoor SC 18 17 -21 56 35
22nd 2322 Linda Stokes Hayling Island SC -21 20 16 57 36
23rd 1849 Nicci Kilpatrick Hayling Island SC 22 (28OCS) 22 72 44
24th 1149 Lindy Mitchell Hayling Island SC 25 22 (28OCS) 75 47
25th 3303 Jane Thompson Hayling Island SC -26 23 24 73 47
26th 3017 Sue Hunter Highcliffe SC 24 24 -25 73 48
27th       (28DNC) 28DNC 28DNC 84 56
RS Aero 5              
Rank Sail Name Club R1 R2 R3 Total Nett
1st 3851 Sophie Van Thiel Bowmoor SC 1 -2 2 5 3
2nd 3811 Charlotte Hitchmough Bowmoor SC 2 1 -3 6 3
3rd 3815 Francesca Murphy Pembrokeshire Performance SA -5 4 1 10 5
4th 3852 Aimee Bulkes Bowmoor SC -6 3 5 14 8
5th 1149 Rosie Berry Hayling Island SC 4 -7 4 15 8
6th 3854 Sian Clark Draycote Water SC 3 -9 8 20 11
7th 2682 Bridget Parker Hayling Island SC -8 5 6 19 11
8th 1535 Belinda Cox Hayling Island SC -7 6 7 20 13
9th 2370 Maria Rayner Hayling Island SC -9 8 9 26 17
10th 1300 Lucy Henry Hayling Island SC -10 10 10 30 20

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