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RS Feva Volvo Grand Prix Series Round 1 at Northampton Sailing Club

The 2017/18 RS Feva Volvo Grand Prix Series started with a weekend at Northampton Sailing Club on the 16th and 17th September.  A fleet of 40 boats attended with this Grand Prix also doubling up as one of the indicators for the winter training squads which include the RYA UK Junior Squad, RYA Zone Squads and the Feva Class National Squad.  In addition, sailors attending all six Grand Prix events will benefit from coach support at the 2018 Europeans to be held in Weymouth.



New pairings and new faces were the order of the weekend as this is the time of year when the class sees sailors transition, pairings change and new young sailors joining.  Principal Race Officer Miles Odell’s briefing outlined all that the fresh faced and very enthusiastic sailors needed to know for the 6 races to follow and all set out to the race course in a light but steady breeze. 

Race 1 saw sibling team William and Becky Caiger (Sevenoaks School) get off the blocks well and win, Sophie Dennis and Olivia Bracey-Davis (Hayling Island Sailing Club) were second and Tom Storey (Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club) and birthday boy Rupert Jameson (Hayling Island Sailing Club) finished 3rd.

Race 2 quickly followed, new team Alice Davis and Alastair Brown (Great Moor Sailing Club) showed the fleet how to sail the shifty conditions with a great win, they were followed home by Ben Hutton-Penman and Abi Jayasekara (Corinthian Otters), who had struggled in the first race, with William and Becky again up there in 3rd.



Following a course reset to allow for the shifty conditions, Race 3 started in a building breeze and it was Tom and Rupert who lead from start to finish with Ben and Abi chasing in 2nd and Alexander Ratsey (RWSC) and Issy Spurway (Bowmoor SC/ HISC) in 3rd.



The forecast for Sunday looked light and with a constant breeze the race committee decided to get a fourth race in and trigger a discard.  The race started in a good breeze but this started to drop soon after the start and swung which made it a challenging race for all.  However the front boats kept their concentration and finished well with the race time, those that didn't finished were whiskied.  Ben And Abi held their nerve in the shifting conditions and showed the fleet a real masterclass in light wind sailing, reading the shifts and keeping their concentration from beginning to end to take the win and with it the overnight lead, Ralph Nevile and Luke Anstey (Frensham Pond) were clearly comfortable in the shifty conditions and finished 2nd with Josh Davis and Ian Ratnage (Sevenoaks School) 3rd


Further down the fleet there was confusion as the shortened course sound and flag was misread by some as an abandonment which led to some not sailing the course and having to retire, others decided they would propel their boats by any means possible given the light conditions.  There are always lessons to be learn't as this is a junior class, the following morning a full debrief of race 4 was completed by the Principal Race Officer and the Feva Class Chairman which led to voluntary retirements from very sporting sailors who realised they had either sailed the wrong course or who had not always relied solely on wind propulsion.  Everyone then took to the water happy and many with a clearer understanding of flags and sounds!


Two races were the order of the day for Sunday in a light but reasonably constant breeze, race 5 had Tom and Rupert winning, a fantastic result for Caitlin Morley (Burnham Sailing Club) and Joe Blaker (Benfleet Sailing Club) in 2nd and Robbie MacDonald and Teddy Ferguson (HISC/Windermere School) in 3rd.


The final race was sailed in very light and shifty conditions with three teams in with a shout for the overall title.  The race was lead from start to finish by Ben Tuttle and Jakey Wood (Hayling Island Sailing Club), who opened out a huge lead, and whilst Regatta leaders Ben and Abi and contenders William and Becky got bogged down in the fleet in the shifty conditions, Tom and Rupert sailed an excellent race finishing second and with it taking the overall win.  In 3rd place finished birthday girl Alice and Alastair which ensured a great end to their very well sailed Regatta.

So the top three were Tom and Rupert in 1st, Ben and Abi in 2nd and William and Becky in 3rd.  The Endeavour prize went to the very young twin pairing of Rosie and Susie Sheahan who sailed a great first Regatta in very difficult conditions.



The next Feva Grand Prix is the weekend of the 30th September/1st October at Parkstone Yacht Club.  The organisers are busy working to deliver a super weekend for all with sailor’s supper and prize giving tea all included in the entry price!  If you fancy joining us then entry is open on the RS Feva UK website.






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Nick Hutton-Penman
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