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RS Aero UK Inland Championships - Draycote Water SC, Rugby, UK 16/10/2021 - 17/10/2021
RS Aero UK Inland Championships - Draycote Water SC, Rugby, 16/17th October
74 RS Aeros ventured to Draycote for the RS Aero UK Inland Championships to enjoy a weekend of close racing in light to medium breezes.
Saturday proved light as per forecast but with lovely warm sunshine the race officer's perseverance was rewarded as a breeze filled in to allow three pleasant but challenging races after a short postponement. As ever the intriguing racing quest of seeking out the best wind and angles played out. Particularly challenged were the RS Aero 7s with a 50 boat start line long enough for quite different wind at each end in the unstable conditions. That is what discards are for and this weekend was generous in allowing two. The Draycote Water SC apres sail bar was full of the tales of snakes and ladders, 'how many discards?' and all the wonders of hindsight!
Sunday morning provided a good medium breeze and the opportunity for heavier sailors to stretch their legs and recoup any deficit from the day before. Four races allowed the potential for comebacks in the overall ranking and with some fiesty gusts sailors needed to be alert to capitalise good racing gains and avoid potential mishaps.
In the RS Aero 5s Teddy Dunn (Isle of Man) sailed a solid series to take the win from Joe Slipper (Queen Mary), Tristan Ahlheid (Frensham Pond) and William Bailey (Yorkshire Dales). It was fantastic to see three Irish RS Aeros, in addition to three Isle of Man RS Aeros, joining the event with Roy Van Maanen (Greystones) travelling from Ireland to take 5th.
The RS Aero 7s had the largest fleet with 49 entries and the biggest challenge to remain consistent enough for a good score line. After a couple of shockers on Saturday Chris Hatton (Lymington Town) had a word with himself and came back all guns blazing on Sunday for four good counters and the overall title. Narrowly missing out after the last race decider saw Craig Williamson (Staunton Harold) 2nd just two points behind and another two points back was Ellie Craig (Starcross) in 3rd, top Lady and winner of race 4. Grahame Newton (Staunton Harold) was top Master in 5th and Tom Ahlheid stepped up to the RS Aero 7 to be top Youth in 10th. Special mention to Abby Hire (Lymington) who was overnight leader and winner of race 1, demonstrating that the lightweights can have their day when sailing cleverly in moderate conditions.
The RS Aero 9s enjoyed the lighter breezes and then the extra exlhilaration when Sunday's gusts hit. After a careless initial UFD with a minute to go in race 1 Peter Barton (Lymington Town) kept it clean to rebuild a series for the title from super speedy Chris Larr (Draycote Water) in 2nd and Nigel Rolfe (Burghfield) top Master in 3rd.
On the water was Class Juror, David Battye, checking in with the fleet to help promote fair and enjoyable racing whilst also assisting to educate the Class as to the limits of the rules with good feedback and debriefs after racing. He explained his observations, decisions and how to best avoid risking penalties in the future!
Many thanks to Draycote Water SC for being as welcoming and well organised as ever. Everybody loved the Aero chocolate bars that the Draycote fairies popped on their RS Aeros overnight and the additional treats at the prize giving helped weary sailors on their drives home! Race officer Matt Rowley certainly made the most of the conditions available for 7 good races. Thanks to Rooster and Noble Marine for their continued support and the fantastic spread of prizes for the three fleets with many categories awarded at the prize giving.
The winter months see no let up in RS Aero activity with RS Aero events coming up at Spinnaker, Broadwater and Bowmoor, the RS Aero UK Youth Champs at Torquay, a six weekend winter training programme and the well supported annual SailJuice Winter Series. Check out the all season RS Aero UK Events List.