Following a couple of years’ worth of Winter Champs with classic light wintery conditions this year’s event seemed destined for a decent blow. Forecasts in the run up to the weekend tracked the passage of a big low pressure coming in from the Atlantic, and conditions at the weekend did not disappoint!
Run with a generous sprinkling of Christmas cheer, the Winter Champs is a great chance for sailors across all the classes to get together one last time prior to Christmas. Key emphasis is on fun and this year a number of new courses were used to maximise the likelihood of specific racing situations and enable the development of adaptive sailors.
With a SailGP style reaching start the racing on this course was fierce with the race within a race being to get the inside line around the first mark. Big fleet sizes made for plenty of excitement on the start, and an excellent spectator sport for the safety teams in between assisting sailors as required.
On the bravo course a downwind start gave plenty of excitement for sailors and race management teams alike. Windsurf coach Sami reported that the ‘racing was fast, furious and fun’ with boats and boards doing their best to outrun the ribs at times. 29ers were all going for it with kite hoists at the start and max commitment which did lead to just the odd capsize here and there. 420s showed the progress that they have all been making over the last year, keeping control of their boats in conditions that would have flattened them all just a few months back.
The mid-afternoon arrival of storm Atiyah with thirty knot gusts, torrential rain and deteriorating visability brought the racing to an end, with sailors heading back to the slip at a rate of knots. Sadly the PRO (principal race officer) made the only sensible decision and cancelled racing for Sunday. Although Christmas festivities continued through the prize giving, with a number of special prizes presented thanks to our special guest. Full results will be posted on the event page and special mentions are below. Hope everyone makes the most of the Sunday, with rumour having it that team windsurf will be meeting Atiyah early doors on Sunday at Troon.
Special mentions and Christmas presents presented courtesy of Santa.
- William O’Keefe for encouraging all the younger optimist sailors and helping them to set up rigs before they launched off the slipway.
- Suzie Sturrock for endless enthusiasm and full immersion to help with the launch and recovery of the topper fleet, whilst wearing a very aptly chosen elf t-shirt.
- Orri Robertson/Stuart Farmer for best Christmas outfits with full on Santa onesies over all their sailing kit and the Christmas cheer to match.
- Macy Law for perseverance over the season and pushing herself out in windier and winder conditions.
- Tom Mitchell for dry bag man overboard recovery for another sailor
- Sam Hawthorn for lighting up the race course with full body Christmas lights.
- Ben Urquhart for keeping Christmas lights attached to his boat and producing one of the best starts of the day to punch out of the reaching start.
A massive thank you to the volunteers who made it possible to deliver the event in really challenging conditions and we hope that you’ve all dried out and warmed up by now. Best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year.
Full results available on our Event Site by clicking here.
RYAS Performance Team