RS400 Nationals Day 3
Report - Matt Sheahan; Photos - Sportography
Just days after the country’s ‘A’ level results were published another major set of results were released late last night – the RS400 Gold/Silver split.
The reaction to the new 400 rankings was much the same as the Sixth Form stress raiser with an outpouring of relief and emotion, albeit without the option to go through clearing in order to join a better gang.
The split came after today’s racing, (Day 3) where, despite the lighter conditions, the two races were a nerve wracking affair.
For those that had enjoyed and indeed revelled in the stronger breezes beforehand, Monday’s weather forecast suggested that Day 3 was going to be tricky.
The punchy conditions of the previous two days had given way to a gentle 5-8 knot breeze while the race course moved to Weymouth Bay rather than Portland Harbour. In the context of this championships at least, this was new territory for all and resulted in a scattering of the fleet from the very first start as if a pack of sniffer dogs had been released in an open field.
From the wide range of tracks up the first beat it was clear that there was little consensus as to which way was best. Even the hot shots were finding it tough with overnight leaders James Downer and Jono Price (1385) being forced to look at more transoms than they’re used to on the downwind legs of the first race.
But gradually the fleet decoded the light conditions and appeared to favour the right hand side of the course on the upwind leg and the opposite side for the downwind trickles.
The second race of the day saw the breeze wind itself up a notch or two to just under 10knots but the direction remained stubbornly similar providing few passing opportunities. Instead, keeping clear air and finding the pressure was the key.
By the end of the day the results provided the final data for the all important split.
In Gold, Downer and Price share the lead with Francisco and Teresa Lobato (1480) with Stewart and Sarah Robertson (1463) just one point behind in third.
Interestingly, just three points behind them lie Jon Heissig and Nicky Griffin (1454) with Alex Barry and Richard Leonard (1144) just one point further back. Five boats separated by 5 points with four more races to go – say no more.
In Silver it’s a similar picture with David Swift and Rob Burgess (934) leading the charge with Adrian and Tracy Neal (421) just one point behind. Kevin Podger and Heather Chipperfield (1439) are just two points behind them and so the close points grouping goes on.
For the next two days it looks as if the high pressure system over the Azores is doing its best to deflect the approaching fronts away from us resulting in light winds on Tuesday that build a little for the finale on Wednesday……..Graduation day.
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