The new RS200 South West Ugly Tour sponsored by West Country Boat Repairs got off to an awesome start at Bristol Corinthian YC on March 28th with a bumper turnout of 39 boats and some very entertaining racing in very varied conditions. Bristol Corinthian YC is a nearly round large reservoir in beautiful rural Somerset countryside on the Somerset levels right in the lee of the Mendips. Only snag is with location when the wind is in the north the wind comes over the Mendips and produces very interesting shifts. On Saturday the mean wind was 12-18 knots from the WNW but varied between due west and due north often at the same time on different parts of the lake giving PRO Rhys Lankester a nightmare. That four such good quality were held with relatively short delays was ample testimony to the superb work of the now slightly greyer Rhys and his constantly in action team of mark layers.
Generally it was a nice sunny day but frequent big black lumps from the Bristol direction kept on producing some very lively wind and rain although most crews did not spot the rain from the downwind spray. The leeward gate at times became a bit of an upturned hull grave yard; crew to helm which leeward mark are we going round? Answer the one with the less capsized boats around it. With such a high calibre fleet and such varied conditions there was some terrific close racing with constant place changing throughout the fleet on every leg; you never felt you were out of the race.
Race 1 and after a close tussle James Peters/Alan Roberts pulled clear to win comfortably after 4 laps from Pete Vincent/Tessa Nicholls who even by their admission had outrageous luck on the second beat and Ian Martin/Chris Martin. In race 2 Peters/Roberts, the Martins, Vincent/Nicholls, Ben Saxton/Kate Macgregor arrived at the second windward mark at the same moment resulting in Peters spinning and the Martins taking a handy lead. Vincent/Nicholls sneaked through on the third beat to win from the Martins and Saxton/Macgregor.
Race 3 and Ian Pickard/Karen Falcon got over their first race capsize whilst tacking to lead from Vincent/Nicholls but the Martins disappeared in a cloud of spray on the left to pull out a what looked like a race winning lead but right at the end of the final run Peters/Roberts found the new pressure first to just win from the fast James Stewart/Toby Lewis and the Martins third.
All to play for in race 4 and the Martins made no mistake this time again holding a handy lead with BCYC finest lardy boys Christian Humphrey and Chris “play pen” Bishop for company they at last won a race having led the previous three at some stage. Everything now depended on who finished in what order behind them, Saxton/Macgregor were second, Humphrey/playpen just held onto third with Peters/Roberts ahead of Stewart/Tobytastic. This left the Martins and Peters/Roberts both on 6 points with Peters/Roberts winning overall with one more first place.
Exe SC finest Rosie Sands/Andy Williams won the silver division in 10th place from Burghfields Ellie Martin/Katherine Lovering ahead of club mates Paul Whitbread/Neil Hayes. BCYC’s Stephen Woodward/Emma Yates won the bronze division in 15th ahead of Paul Smalley/Claire Usherwood and Neil/Lucy Chadborn from Saltash.
End of a great day, have a look at the terrific shots on Fotoboat.com. Next round of the Ugly South West Tour is at Starcross YC on Sunday May 3rd.