The weekend of the 24/25 June saw the 6th and final counting event in this years RS Feva national series hosted by Grafham Water Sailing Club. This series has taken the fleet all over the country from coastal venues like Weymouth and Hayling Island, to inland venues at Leigh & Lowton, Draycote and Grafham.
Saturday started with glorious sunshine forecast for the entire weekend, but for a fleet who like a lot of wind there was a disappointing lack of it! Despite this we launched into a shifty but sailable 6-10 knots of breeze with the intention of completing 4 races on both days.
Race 1 was definitely a race for those who could spot the pressure, and then try and stay in it, with Benedict Welfare and Freddie Wood showing the rest of us how it’s supposed to be done. Second to finish were Ed Stubbs and Noah Kenny closely followed by Max Rawlinson and Edie Johnson. The racing was a pretty intense mental workout for all of us as we tried to get into pressure, but as is always the way in winds like this there were significant winners and losers throughout the fleet.
The wind in Race 2 was almost exactly the same as race 1, with a similar group of boats making the most of it and showing the way home. Max and Edie taking the win this time, followed by Ed and Noah, then in 3rd Scarlett MacLennan and Izzy Bartlett.
By this point what little wind there was had started to get very difficult for the race team to predict, so after a long time with the AP flag flying we finally got away for race 3. Bob and I managed to find the only significant pressure on the lake and lead the fleet home, with Scarlett and Izzy 2nd, and Max and Edie 3rd who were being incredibly consistent. At this point I think its safe to say that the entire fleet were delighted when racing was abandoned for the day so that we could go and empty Grafham’s freezer of every available ice cream!
Sunday dawned with the promise of 30 degrees and a building breeze through the day. We launched as early as possible with a plan to get 5 slightly shorter races in, and to try and avoid getting dehydrated or too much sun burn! Race 4 started in a moderate 12 knts and was a great race long battle between about 5 of us, with Bob and I just coming out on top ahead of Ben and Freddie and then the ever present Max and Edie. Races 5, 6 and 7 really let us sail the Feva to its absolute maximum with gusts hitting the mid-twenties and brilliant downwind legs. This wind did split the fleet quite a bit leading to a group of about 5 boats consistently pulling away, with Bob and I just getting the better of Max and Edie in all 3, but the lead swapped on almost every leg meant that the racing was close and fun throughout.
Race 8 started in a steady 20 knts, and with either Max and Edie or Bob and I able to take the overall win it was all to play for, and after an amazing final downwind they just managed to grab a well deserved win ahead of Bob and I then George Curtis and Ben Bryden posting their best result of the weekend. After this we were all extremely glad to limp back to the shore after nearly 6 hours in the sun!
The overall result for the weekend came down to the last race and was between Max and Edie’s incredible consistency against mine and Bob’s slightly less consistent scoring, with us coming out on top by a single point from Max and Edie, and Ed and Noah in 3rd.
The Race Officer Eric Joyce and his race team did a fantastic job to get all 8 races in across the full range of wind conditions, so I’d like to thank them on behalf of the entire fleet. Also thanks to our class sponsor Rooster, who have done a great job of supporting us all year. We would like to thank Grafham Water Sailing Club for hosting this event and finally thanks goes to our volunteers, without you these events wouldn’t happen.
Next stop for a lot of the fleet is Follonica in Italy for the worlds in July, which Grafham did a pretty decent job of emulating with the weather this weekend!
Written by Imogen Green
Photos by Paul Sanwell/OPP