On Sunday 21st August, Team Southampton took to the waters of Hayling Bay to compete in the RS200 Nationals against 180 boats!
The first day brought a fantastic 10-12 knots providing some classic Hayling Bay conditions for the chaos that was 182 figuring out how to gate start together for the first time. This initial emotional trauma was soon replaced with big hikes upwind and the required accuracy to surf the waves downwind. Ollie and Rudd took the first start by storm, sticking in the bunch that crossed the whole fleet on port and proving our club boats can be sailed at the top! Jamie and Ellen had some serious pace downwind, meaning both boats started the event with a top 15 result.
Day 2 brought more wind and the consistent theme of big hikes prevailed. Jas showed some serious hiking skills which rewarded them with some great pace on day 2, and even greater sportsmanship by offering butter with the rolls that ensued all along the starboard layline to the windward mark.
As per the sacred rules of this elite sport - you can’t just win the event, you must also win the social. And so in this spirit our very own girl band featuring Ollie and Jamie performed a stellar rendition of Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In the World)” for Monday night’s karaoke - a great strength of the club (along with big love for drag queens). Don’t forget your ear plugs for next year's rendition… they were needed!
The announcement for 3 races on day 3 was met with nothing but a lack of enthusiasm, tired legs and some potential sore heads battled round the race course. Jamie and Ellen were handing out ham rolls left, right and center in the first race, finishing 4th! Lessons were learnt by Ollie and Rudd in the 2nd race of the day, with a poor start saw them fighting for clean air the whole way round. As the breeze built throughout the day, it became clear the Soton sailors needed to hit the gym a bit more than Jesters.
Tuesday night's fancy dress party saw a lot of shepherds with even more bushes, and Zoe and Scott standing around a lot due to the large, inconvenient, but so stylishly decorated cardboard boxes they were wearing.
Day 4 brought lighter winds and a forecast with the breeze going right all day. Jamie and Ellen took this into consideration by starting at the very end of the gate, banging a hard right corner taking the shifts all the way to victory in race 8! Backing this up with an 11th in the next race, a superb day sailed by the ex-commodore and ex-Vice Commodore!
With only one race left to sail, day 5 brought lighter winds again, and getting caught up inside the armada that was the rest of the fleet felt physically painful with the holy grail of clean air being virtually impossible to find. Big shoutout to Zoe for braving the fleet with her dad joining as a superstar crew. After almost swimming our boats back ashore against the strong tide, sailors were greeted with a well earned beer which made it all nearly worth it.
Concluding the event, so much fun was had by all! Jamie and Ellen finished first youth boat which is an incredible achievement. A notable mention goes to one of our previous commodores Tommy Darling finishing in a fantastic 4th place. Many thanks goes to all the organizers in putting on a fantastic event that all sailors would recommend attending next year.