Raceboard season under way
10 April 2009
The 2009 Summer Course Racing season got underway on Sat 21st March in the Midlands and London Regions, both of whose events were blessed with glorious spring weather, even tempting the occasional shortie out of the wardrobe. The Midlands sailors, at Hollowell SC, were luckier with the wind than the Londoners, starting off with 6 knots or so then building up to 12-14 later in the day, whereas the southerners, at Bough Beech SC near Sevenoaks had to be content with occasional puffs of 8 knots maximum.
29 Midlands competitors were on the water, 15 Technos and 14 Raceboards, including a couple of the new Starboard 380 Phantoms which are beginning to make their presence felt around the country. Two Technos and 17 Raceboards turned out in the south, including two Phantoms and two of the new Tushingham XR Race 9.5 sails, specifically intended for raceboards and developed with assistance from raceboard ace Rob Kent.
Even though the new Phantoms are a very welcome addition to the raceboard scene and are going faster and faster as their new owners learn how to maximise their potential, the old raceboard kit in the right hands can still give them a good run for their money, as proven by Tom Naylor (1st Raceboard), Tim Gibson (1st Unlimited) and Mike Playle (1st 7.5), all of whom won their classes on vintage raceboards at Hollowell. The London region event was won by Rob Kent on a Phantom (1st 9.5), with Nick Kidd (1st Unlimited) in second place overall and Annette Kent (1st Lady - 8.5) in 3rd, both of them on older boards. It will be interesting to witness the impact of the new Mistral Equipe III when it begins to filter through to the UK start lines later this year.
James Grimsley, now 33 years old, who used to sail in the London region as a youth, was tempted back on the water at Bough Beech by the loan of some raceboard kit, had a great day's racing and would have achieved 2nd place overall but for a slight navigational error which dropped him from a certain 2nd place to 14th in Race Three. He is now looking forward with anticipation to his next raceboard event, exactly the kind of reaction needed to boost the Raceboard Revival in 2009.
The Techno sailors were out enjoying themselves, especially when the wind kicked in at Hollowell, Matt Brown revelling in the stronger winds and taking 4 first places to add to his 2nd, giving him top spot in the 7.8 fleet. The 6.8 fleet was won by Joe Bennett. In the more subdued winds in the London Region event, Stuart Hards, a National Squad sailor from Hythe, held his own to win the 7.8 class convincingly.
Although there were no RS:X sailors out at Bough Beech, Midlanders Jamie Ingram and Charlie Money gave a good account of themselves at Hollowell, getting in amongst the raceboards and taking advantage of the Force 4 later in the day.
Photo: Rob Kent at speed on the new Phantom 380 powered by the new Tushingham XR 9.5 sail.