RYA Winter Match Race Series 1 Report


Saturday saw a fine day of racing at the first of the RYA Winter Match Race Series held at Weymouth. A novice RTYC team consisting of Claire Lasko, Fiona Hampshire, Honor Fell and Suzy Russel (guest and super-sub) were raring to go early on Saturday ready for the half an hour of much needed training!

We thought we had done all the boat handling manoeuvres before the first race, but when Claire called a gybe-set at the top mark it was clear that wasn’t the case! Although we had the edge during pre-start, a few boat-handling errors on the first 2 races cost us the win, however after a small break and some coaching tips we managed to win the next 4 races and secure a place in the semi-finals. We were really happy with our improvement during the day (only Suzy was experienced in Match Racing) and it was a great day for our introduction into the discipline. We completed a Round Robin of seven flights with Kelvin Matthews coming out on top with 5 wins, followed by Emily Nagel, Claire Lasko, and Annabel Vose, all on 4 wins.
Stronger winds on Sunday made for some exciting racing! We raced Emily in the semi final which was 'first to three points'. We managed to capitalise on our steep learning curve from Saturday and win the semi 3:0. Some great starts from Claire, a good upwind speed and smooth boat handling helped us wrap up the semis in record time.

So we were in the final! We were very pleased and felt we had exceeded expectations coming into the event, and especially considering our start the previous day. We managed to give Annabel a good final, but despite our best efforts, we were just unable to match Annabel's slightly better boat speed. However we did manage to win a few of the starts! A slight misjudgement by Annabel in the second race cost her a penalty and the race. However, she took the third race back and forced a fourth race. This  was closely fought, Annabel led off the line and at the windward mark but we found some downwind speed and caught them at the leeward mark. By this time the gusts were coming through pretty strong and we struggled at the leeward mark, unfortunately conceding a penalty. We worked hard on the final lap but couldn’t quite get back in the race and Annabel took 1st.
All in all, it was a fantastic weekend with great racing and we all learnt a lot. We all thoroughly enjoyed getting the chance to do some match racing and we're looking forward to next time! Many thanks to the RYA for organising.

Photos by Nigel Vick.