Following the successful introduction of the RC1000 Class over the last two years , we have decided to create the RC900 Class for smaller boats with an IRC rating between 0.88 and 0.94. This will include J24’s, Laser 28’s, Impalas etc. Racing for this fleet will follow a similar format to last year’s RC1000 events with racing scheduled for the same 5 weekends this season for both classes.
RACE REPORT – EVENT 1:
13th and 14th of May saw the very first RC900 weekend which co-starred with the 2nd RC1000 weekend of the year. Conditions were challenging with the NW gradient being cancelled out by a steady south-westerly sea breeze on both days.
Saturday’s racecourse saw the committee boat sit between New Grounds and Melampus for the first RC1000 race. The RC900 fleet had laid marks approximately 100m inside the navigation marks to create a clean racing area for both fleets and to ensure a quick turn around during races. Sunday started cooler and so the sea breeze did not establish itself until well after the first race of the day.
Whilst only achieving 4 entries, racing could not be tighter within the 900’s with what turned out to be 2 separate match races developing within the fleet race as the weekend progressed.
Annie and Nick Haigh with their team on Firefox locked horns with Mark Lewers and his J24 team on ‘Hijinks’ straight away with first blood going to Lewers by just 4 seconds on corrected time. Race 2 saw just as close racing, but this time Firefox with Annie at the helm as usual was to take the win by just 11 seconds. Race 3 for the day was to be a coastal / round the cans. The breeze was still light but steady, so the course kept the 900’s inside the breakwater with the finish on the club line. The race win and indeed the day went to Firefox.
Further back all those watching was treated to the J80 battle between Graham Walker and Will Broughton and Plymouth University Yacht Club represented by Samuel Hopper and his team. After a somewhat delayed first race start by Walker, team ‘Jackaroo‘ clawed their way back to take a win over the Plymouth Uni J80 by 45 seconds, giving them a 3rd in the 900 results. The following 2 races saw a very competitive prestart from both J80’s but Walker showed their strength in the conditions to take both races and finish the day with a clean sweep of 3rds.
Sundays first race was what would be the trickiest of the weekend, with the gradient breeze battling with the sea breeze to create a very tricky, shifty breeze which demanded huge concentration from the fleet.
In the battle of the J24 vs Laser26, Annie Haigh brought her team home first over the line after a huge battle throughout the course and the swapping the lead a number of times. It was not to be enough to get the win on corrected which went to Hijinks by just 45 seconds. Race 5 saw the Sea breeze establish itself from the same heading as Saturday and once the course had been relayed the start saw another highly competitive prestart dual. This time Lewers and team ‘Hijinks’ were completely dialled into the conditions and took the win by what was the biggest margin of the weekend. The coastal / round the cans was a repeat of Saturday, seeing the 900’s fight it out within the sound. Everything was to play for, results were tight, and it was all going to be decided on the final showdown. Again, prestart was key and a well-positioned Firefox was to establish an early dominance that led to a 36 second win over their rivals.
In the battle of the J80’s for the minor places, race 4 would be the tightest of the weekend, having seen Jackaroo disappear into the distance they fell into the breeze converging zone and there they sat as they watched the Uni J80 gain on them. Indeed on the second beat there was a lead change that continued up to the end of the 2nd run to an inner laid mark where Jackaroo regained the lead just in time to finish 58 seconds ahead to continue their run of thirds. This was to continue for the remaining 2 races in the series.
The overall results saw Firefox and Hijinks tied on points, but team Firefox took the win on countback having won the last race. Jackaroo took 3rd place with the Uni closing out the results having had great racing all weekend.
All in all the event was a great success. The ‘inner and outer course’ format proved to be enjoyable by all and kept separation whilst ensuring that both fleets finished in a reasonable time to ensure a quick turn-around in races.
With at least 4 new RC900 compatible owners committing to the next round on the 11th June, the class is soon to be established as the tightest fleet racing available on the best courses offered in the region.
Watch this space!!!
photo courtesy of @paulgibbinsphotography