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FORMULA ONE 2011 Nationals

Rutland SC once again hosted the Hunter Formula One National Championships over the long weekend of 16-19 June. A strong fleet of 12 boats took part in the event with Richard Webley, Diana Beverly and Kim Sturgess from Greenwich YC joining the fleet for the first time having very recently purchased their boat Otolinghi. The Formula One fleet at Rutland SC is currently thriving with new owners and crew joining the already strong fleet inspired this season by the fleets efforts to attract and develop new crews and the RYA Activate your fleet initiative. It’s particularly pleasing to see a number of younger helms and crews joining the fleet and adding to the competitiveness.

Two races were sailed on a very grey and damp Day 1; the wind was a shifty 6 -12 knots from the south with some pretty big snakes and ladders with the wind gradually dying off and swinging towards the south east as the afternoon went on. Chris Wright on Kingfisher from Rutland SC won Race 1 very closely chased by Josh Wilce on Evolution from Rutland SC and Bruce Bonar on Tearaway from Rutland SC third. Race 2 was sailed in a lighter breeze with a number of boats opting for the larger genoa; Kingfisher took the win followed again by Evolution and Mark Felton on Tenacious from Rutland SC third. As has become the norm in the Formula 1 fleet there was very close racing throughout the whole fleet with positions changing regularly. A slightly damp fleet returned to the comfort of the RSC clubhouse, just in time for the wind to drop completely, and enjoyed copious amounts of Pimms sponsored by the Formula One class association having had a great day's racing. At the end of the first day Kingfisher lay 1st, Evolution 2nd and Tearaway 3rd.

Day 2 dawned bright and breezy with the prospect of some heavy showers. Race 3 started as the first squall of the day passed through and made for a tough first leg with winds of 20 knots +. As the wind settled at 12-15 knots Evolution lead the race from start to finish with Kingfisher second and Tearaway recovering to third at the finish. Race 4 started with another squall battering the fleet up the first leg; Tearaway was first round the windward mark and lead the fleet round the course to finish first with Evolution second and Kingfisher third.

Race 5 was probably the most eventful of the day and started in 12 knots of breeze and a tense first leg saw Evolution round the first mark with Tearaway hot on their heels. As the fleet approached the windward mark for the second time Kingfisher had just squeezed inside Tearaway as another squall swept through the fleet as they approached the gybe mark. What happened next is a bit of a blur to the author who was concentrating quite hard on keep his rig above his hull but a large number of the fleet took part in a synchronised broaching exercise with various cockpits thoroughly rinsed out. As order was being regained across the fleet Evolution swiftly dropped their spinnaker and planned off towards the leeward mark followed, slightly less gracefully, by Tearaway. Kingfisher suffered a slightly longer knockdown and battled hard with John Ball on Fracas in pursuit of the leading two boats. With the rain now horizontal and the wind still blowing the PRO took pity on the fleet and shortened the course; Evolution held on to just win the race from Tearaway with Fracas finishing third just ahead of Kingfisher in fourth. Special mention must be made of John Ball on Fracas and Nick Bett on Apocalypse who were there of there abouts all day despite being only 3 up and not 4 up like the other front runners. A tired and wet (some wetter than others – you know who you are!) fleet returned for a late lunch with many tales to tell and some repairs to make before joining in the club Caribbean theme party that evening. Much rum punch was consumed by all with the forecast for day 3 looking much drier and less squally. At the end of day 2 Evolution lay 1st, Kingfisher 2nd and Tearaway 3rd with all to play for going into the final day.

Day 3 dawned with sunshine and plenty of breeze and still three potential winners of the championship. With crews breakfasted all boats were quickly afloat for a prompt 10am start. By the start of Race 6 the wind had increased to a steady 20+ knots and a number of boats chose the option of reefing. Evolution, Tearaway and Kingfisher were locked in a race long battle at the front of the fleet with Evolution hanging on to win the race and take the championships with a race to spare. The final race started in similar conditions; some spectacular broaches were witnessed on the downwind legs and some fantastic 3 sail reaches were on offer for those brave enough to hold their kites. Tearaway took the race win from Kingfisher and Evolution with Apocalypse finishing fourth. Big grins and tired bodies all round but a spectacular days sailing!

Evolution sailed by Josh Wilce, Mike Wilce, Fiona Wilce and Hannah Moss were deserving winners of the event with blistering pace upwind and super slick boat handling when the breeze picked up. Team Tearaway just piped Kingfisher to second place and John Ball and team on Fracas finished fourth overall. Thanks must go to Nick Bett from the Formula One Class Association for his organization of us all and of the event and huge thanks from everyone to the race team of Bob Glennie, Mick and Sandra Rust and Rex Kellet for managing the racing so slickly – thanks guys – a good job very well done!

Overall Results:

Nationals 2011 Results