Redwing National Championship 2022

It is so exciting to be back in Tenby again for our championship – it has been long awaited and we are very grateful for having us for the week alongside the Enterprise championship.

National Redwing DInghy Association – Tenby National Championships 2022

Congratulations to Mike Stace and Deanna Morton in R255 Sweetsong our National Champions (and Inland Champions) this year. A well deserved win with the most consistent results in the fleet.

Sunday – Practice race.

Due to the Uffa Fox 50 event happening on the Isle Of Wight at almost the same time as our championship, the Sunday was designated a practice race to allow those coming from the UF50 event time to travel with our usual 1st points race happening on Monday instead. Conditions were overcast and light. 5 of our fleet braved the day with the others saving their strength for the points races and building their resolve by the bar. It was the first time many had seen the potential of Robin and Dan in, new to them, R241. Great to see the boat back in the active fleet and doing well with new passion in the Tenby fleet. 

Monday – Points races 1 (Plymouth Hoe Challenge Cup) and 2 (City of Plymouth Trophy).

Conditions began murky and breezy but continued to brighten through the day with the wind dropping off towards the end of the 1st race. 

After an initial postponement while visibility improved race 1 kicked off with a competitive start but all behaving well. It became clear after watching some local boats shoot off that the right side of the course was favored for the incoming tide producing an almost bang the corners approach to the race. Downwind sections were excellent with planing possible along all the first reach while climbing waves followed by some lovely surfing on the second reach. R244 took a swim with a roll to windward putting them in last place. R249 failed to judge the current and lost several boat places on a penalty for touching the mark. R240 was the leading light gaining a significant gap from the fleet in the 1st lap and consolidating throughout. R250 fought to second, closely followed by R241 in 3rd.

The two boats that attended the Uffa Fox 50 event were sporting the small red UF50 shroud flags. One of which was accused of possibly lodging a protest by flag before the rib was close enough to see what it was.

The second race of the day was much lighter. The right side of the course was still heavily favored and occasional planing and surfing still possible though the waves were now also a bit smaller. R250 enthused by their previous success crossed the line prematurely which caused some confusion where many thought they heard general recall. As we were all so closely bunched together it took some time to separate and get decent air. R240 having made such a convincing start to the championship were now struggling with the lighter air finishing in 5th. R250 held it together and worked their way up to 8th through the race. R241 improved upon their 3rd and won the race taking them to 1st overall after day 1. R225 took 2nd and R251 3rd.

Tuesday – Points races 3 (Chris Crockford Memorial) and 4 (Babbacombe Trophy).

Today was a quieter day for wind, still enough for the wire and smaller wave surfing just about. Sadly before the start our newest boat R255 had their jib halyard let go and so needed to sail back to shore on main alone, unfortunately they were unable to make it back for the second race. We were further out and so the wind bias was far less present meaning much more of the course was used. R244 found their rythm and took their first bullet of the championship with R251 in second and R225 in third.

The start of race 4 went off without a hitch. Unusually while most of the fleet continued to favour the right side of the course, R249 was the only boat to go left and seemed to catch a lift to end up in the lead at the windward mark. They managed to hold the diminishing lead until the end of the race taking 1st place. R244 sailing strong took 2nd and R241 third.

Thursday – Race 5 (West of England Conference Trophy) and rudder exploration.

Todays race was an offshore wind with mild but stronger than expected wind speed, with extremely variable direction giving the race team an exceptionally hard time – again, we thank you for all of your efforts, we know it is not easy! The race began with a shift during the start sequence giving a strong enough port hand bias to tempt some of the more brazen in the fleet. R241 made a cracking start on port from the pin to lead the initial part of the beat and made their way ahead of the starboard fleet. R249 followed and also made it with R255 starting in the second line on port, forced to duck almost all of the remaining boats. The beat was shifty and benefited those tacking in the shifts and able to get to the wire quickly. The leading part of the fleet were switching positions chasing after R225 who had established a gap from the rest and maintained the lead until the windward leg. R249 managed to overtake R225 amid a short and shifty tacking duel to lead the remainder of the race. The finish did cause some confusion among the tail of the fleet. R255 sniffed at the line before sailing back to a different mark having to avoid R252 amid their 360 for hitting the leeward mark and were not expecting boats to be coming back from the finish line. After some confusion R255 finished behind R252 and R228 who they had just overtaken at the mark.

After the race, the crew of R250 jumped onto R255 sporting a Fireball rudder blade and R249 with a B14 blade to see what may be possible with what is available. The fireball blade was light to the touch and nice to use but stalled and lost all grip when pushed. The B14 blade was much improved on this but is still a little too small. It was nice to voyage into what may be possible as we explore this avenue as a class.

Friday Race 6 (Looe Sailing Club Challenge Trophy).

With a forecast to match Thursday the crews headed to the harbour knowing that the positions were far from set and the points were closer than they have been in a long time or possibly ever.

Sadly as we approached it became obvious there was little to no wind. The wind picked up the day before but no matter how hard the race team tried they could not find a course with the minimum 5mph required for the race to run. 

A few disheartened individuals had already made their decision and had started packing away when the race was eventually abandoned. The standings now cemented allowed us to declare R225 Sweetsong helmed by Mike Stace and crewed by Deanna Morton our 2022 national champions! Congratulations go to both.

The main race to be the first to pack away then got underway and with sails, trailers and masts all flying all over the place. After the frenzy was over and calm restored people turned their minds to the massive buffet put on by Tommy – thank you! The prizegiving began, combined with the Enterprise fleet with a huge thank you to Tenby, their race team and support teams that made the event so amazing!! Then separated into our fleets we celebrated our prize winners and enjoyed the company of friends. It must be said that there were many an early night spotted with some sneaking away SOBER to make a very very early bank holiday weekend traffic beating getaway – highly unusual.

It was really nice to be back in Tenby, once a major stronghold of the fleet. Picturesque harbour, wonderful sailing area and socials that we will remember for some time. Thank you for having us and I hope we see you again soon. 


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