What a difference a day makes! With big breeze forecast the committee kept the fleet inside the historic Plymouth breakwater on Saturday, a wise decision as gusts of up to 28 knots were recorded. Under these conditions, it was the teams who kept cool under pressure who were set to see their fortunes change. In the first of 3 races the black flag made an early appearance, with the tide helping to push the confident fleet over the start line. However all boats got away on the second attempt. Awesome planing conditions meant not even the rain could dampen spirits, and with the tidal effect from Drake Island, staying right was a tactic that continued to pay throughout the day.
Harlequin helmed by Sebastian Ripard was on fire in the breeze, with a hat trick performance today they are certainly hungry for the title. Back in the bar his crew (and uncle) Jonathan Calascione described the boat as a joy to sail. The team are competing at the J/70 Cup in Lake Garda next weekend.
Others that were on the podium today included Allen Higgs’ ESF Energy who are in their final stages of preparation for the J/70 Worlds in San Francisco later in the month. With a 2nd and 3rd on the board today they have plenty to play for going in to the last day.
Other teams who were having a great time in the high breeze and moving through the fleet included the J/111 World Champion Martin Dent sailing with his daughter Ruby. Nigel Evans with Spinnaker Wealth Management, who recorded 15.3 knots on a downwind leg, scored a 3rd place in race 5, their best result so far.
As the weather continued to deteriorate the decision was made to head home after 3 races. The crews were delighted to seek shelter in the welcoming bar of the Royal Western and a drinks party courtesy of sponsor Sagres. A delicious class supper was also on the menu. Racing concludes on Sunday.
For results visit http://rwyc.org/j70-national-championships/