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GUL Grand Prix & GYG Regatta Great Yarmouth & Gorlestone SC



    It would have been hard for the wind to blow much stronger for the RS500 Gul circuit event at the weekend (Sat 9 & Sun 10 June). Great Yarmouth and Gorleston Sailing Club received its fair share of angry weather on the Norfolk coast and despite the blue skies and sunshine the sailors were under no illusion that Mother Nature meant business on the water.


    Just to be sure that the calm conditions on the land caused by an offshore breeze didn’t reflect what was going on at sea, the fleet sent Class Rep Tim onto the water to check out the actual wind strength. The conclusion came back as ‘hellishly windy’ with 46 mph gusts regularly blowing off the land. At that moment visitor Tom Crockford (Datchett Water SC) made the wise decision to take a trip down the coast to the local kite shop. After successfully flying the shiny new power kite without being blown out to Holland everyone headed off to Horning to watch the start of the infamous Three Rivers Race from the comfort of a waterside pub serving plenty of cold beers (and white wine).


    Sunday was a different story, with a welcoming breeze blowing in from the South East setting up four perfect back-to-back windward-leeward races. Blue skies and sunshine added to the anticipation for getting on the water, and six local boats (plus Tom and crew Fenella Williams) launched in time for a 10.30am start.


    It was a close battle up the first beat of the first race with nearly everyone rounding the windward mark at the same time, but it was Tim Wilkins and Heather Martin who took an early lead. Running into the tide made it all about the downwind tactics - should it be about powering up and getting in shore out of the tide, or soaking it straight down the middle to the leeward mark? Tim and Heather powered up, as did experienced locals Phil Highfield and Tamsin Butcher, but it was the soaking that paid off, bumping Dave Houghton and John Symonds into first place, who kept their well-deserved lead all the way to the finish line.  


    The second race saw another battle with Richard Smith and Andrea Prime putting themselves on the map as they chased down the fleet – an impressive performance from the team newest to the class. However, Dave and John were on top form and they sealed another win.


    Meanwhile Tom and his crew Fenella were battling it out with Anna Zmura and Keith Sykes, regularly swapping positions throughout all stages of the course. Close boat-on-boat action gave both teams a chance to put their racing tactics to the test.


    Breakages during race two put two boats out of action for the third race (Phil/Tamsin and Tim/Heather). But a quick trip to the beach and a bit of swapping equipment meant that two broken boats could be converted into one working boat, allowing a new team to form - helm Phil recruited Tim as a crew for the final race of the day and both were ready for action.


    Meanwhile in race three Richard and Andrea, sailing their recently acquired boat, led the fleet to a well-deserved win, and close behind were Dave and John who were performing consistently at the top of the fleet. Local Norfolk Broad sailors Kevin Murphy and William Slater led the rest of the fleet to secure third position.


    In the final race Richard/Andrea and Dave/John were neck and neck for most of the race with several changes of position.  At the finish Dave and John were just ahead to claim their third win of the day and to seal an overall victory for the day’s racing. Richard and Andrea finished second and also second overall.


    Race team Veronica and Ben Falat did a splendid job providing excellent start lines and courses, with four races turned around quickly to keep the sailors on their toes and ready to go.


    The next event for the UK Gul circuit will be held at Stone SC in Essex on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June.


    Don’t forget there is still time to enter the World Championships due to be held at Lake Garda in July 2012!

    For more pictures of the event see the RS500 Sailors’ group on Facebook. 

    1st RS 500 795 GYGSC Dave Houghton John Symonds 972 1.0 1.0 (2.0) 1.0 5.0 3.0
    2nd RS 500 981 WOBYC Richard Smith Andrea Prime 972 (3.0) 3.0 1.0 2.0 9.0 6.0
    3rd RS 500 625 GYGSC Tim Wilkins Heather Martin 972 2.0 2.0 6.0 DNS (7.0 DNS) 17.0 10.0
    4th RS 500 665 GYGSC Phil Highfield Tamsin Butcher 972 4.0 (7.0 DNF) 6.0 DNS 3.0 20.0 13.0
    5th RS 500 748 GYGSC Anna Zmura Keith Sykes 972 (5.0) 4.0 5.0 4.0 18.0 13.0
    6th RS 500 678 Datchet Tom Crockford Fenella Williams 972 (6.0) 5.0 4.0 5.0 20.0 14.0
    7th RS 500 638 HBSC Kevin Murphy William Slatter 972 (7.0) 6.0 3.0 6.0 22.0 15.0
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