RS Vareo National Championship

16 boats sailed in the 2023 RS Vareo Nationals hosted by the club. The 8 local boats from WOBYC, RBSC and GYGSC were joined by 8 visitors from seven different clubs with Nigel Tinkler, from British Police Sailing, winning the honours of making the longest trip to the ‘far east’, over 241 miles from the ‘far west’.

The three day event saw some big winds on Friday but perfect sailing conditions on a cloudy Saturday but beautiful sunny Sunday, i.e normal conditions for Gorleston !

Smile please

Friday – Most forecasts suggested it was to be a day of light to medium winds, which it was when we launched but as the day progressed the wind increased and when the tide changed the sea state got lumpy, very lumpy.

Ready, steady…….

Race 1 saw Michelle Collier-Brooks and Luke Fisher leading the fleet with the latter ahead after the first lap.  On lap two Michelle took the lead and maintained it to the finish. On the final lap Howard Astley-Jones moved up to second with Luke third with Nigel Tinkler maintaining a constant forth place on each lap.

… go

Race 2, the wind and sea had increased and with it one or two capsizes. Michelle and Howard held the top two spots for the entire race with Michelle winning another race. Alan Bassett moved up from fifth place on lap one to third at the finish with Luke forth.

Heading towards the leeward gate

Race 3- the wind now a good F4 with some big gusts and the sea providing some challenging conditions. Several capsizes meant only six finishers, in fact just about everyone had at least one capsize, with many suffering more. However, the off wind legs provided some fantastic rides although many were thinking more about the pending gybe. Michelle looked to have made it three in a row but capsized on the final gybe to the finish allowing Luke to take line honours with Michelle quickly recovering to finish second. These two were some way ahead of the fleet. Dave Houghton was next to finish just ahead of Nigel.

Richard plans his start

Saturday – despite a forecast of a F3 from the south initially the wind was from the east, thankfully just before launch time it shifted to the south and remained steady all day providing a great day sailing for all.

And they’re off..

Race 4 – Luke took an early lead which he held for most of the race with Howard close behind. The finish was very close with four boats approaching the line together with Michelle just ahead of Luke, who was just ahead of Dave, who was just ahead of Howard. Behind was another local, Nick Crickmore who moved up the fleet on each lap finishing fifth.

Everyone ready for the final days sailing

Race 5 – a good race for the locals. Michelle and Nick read the conditions well and got a fantastic first beat rounding the windward mark with a big lead on the fleet. However, Michelle suffered a rare capsize leaving Nick with a good lead and Luke leading the chase pack. After three laps Nick held onto his lead, Dave moved up to second and Howard finished just ahead on Luke.

And the final days sailing starts

Race 6 – Michelle sailed a faultless race leading from start to finish. Behind Luke, Howard and Dave had a race long tussle with positions changing every lap, each leading at some stage. It was close at the finish with Howard leading at the line to finish second and Luke third, Dave fourth and Nick on a late charge moving up from eighth to fifth.

Overnight leader Michelle had one hand on the Championship, holding a five point lead over Luke and Howard.

Heading upwind

Sunday – It was a beautiful sunny day for final days sailing, the wind a F3 from the SSE providing another great day of racing.

Race 7 – The leading three had a stranglehold on the front of the fleet with positions constant throughout the race, Howard, Luke then Michelle. Behind Nick nipped in front of Dave on the final run to the finish fourth, with Alan holding a consistent sixth place on each lap.

Lovely conditions to finish the event

Race 8 – Luke led the fleet for the entire race. Dave managed to hold off Michelle for two laps but she moved ahead on the final lap to finish second. Howard recovered from an eventful first lap to finish fourth and another local, James Jarvey finishing fifth, pretty good for his first outing in a Vareo.

The colourful sight of spinnakers, blue seems popular

Race 9 – Luke, obviously enjoying the conditions held a small lead after lap one closely followed by Dave, Howard and Michelle with Alan just behind. On lap two, Howard moved ahead of Dave and Nick jumped from seventh to fourth. These positions remained same to the finish with Nigel Tinkler fifth.

Despite a late charge on the final day by Luke, Michelle held onto the lead to win the 2023 RS Vareo National Championship by two points, with Howard third.

What a team !

Three days of great sailing finishing with clear blue skies and temperature in mid twenties on Sunday- Costa del Gorleston at its finest.

With this event being run in conjunction with our annual Beach Regatta,  a lot of organising was required and a lot of effort from those who helped out. All involved did a sterling job, ‘team OOD’ set great courses (some great big courses !),  the safety boat team were quick to response to any incidents, and were kept busy, especially on Friday. A big thank you must go to Ted and his team from RNSYC and the Hickling Scouts for helping with the Safety boat cover, motoring to and fro from Lowestoft each day. The Beach Masters and Gorleston Lifeguards did a splendid job ensuring the marked area for our launching and return to shore was kept clear, this proved especially difficult on Sunday as the great weather meant a packed beach. Finally, and by no means least, the clubhouse team, who worked tirelessly providing snacks and drinks during the day and put on a fantastic meal on Saturday night, there were several comments from the visitors on what a friendly and  welcoming club it was, which of course we already knew.

Results for the Championship on the club site

The race team took several pictures which are on the the club Flickr site

GYGSC’s albums | Flickr