Inaugural RS600FF Nationals at Hayling Island Sailing Club
by Simon Hiscocks 20 Oct 2008
If ever there was an ideal way to open a chapter in a classes history, then the conditions at Hayling Island Sailing Club must surely be it. The RS 600 FF National Championships began in 10 – 12 knots of wind, clear sunny skies and a very temperate 17 degrees C.
Although the Foiling ‘6’s (as surely they will be known) have had a number of official events but this really marked the start of the racing scene and what a start it was.
Sam Pascoe is a name synonymous with foiling Moths and has also done more ‘6’ foiling than any one else, having been working with L Jenkins in the development of the foil systems and new carbon boat . Unsurprisingly, he started the event as favourite but he wasn’t to have the event all his own way. Alex Tobert was an early adopter of the airborne flying machine and had impressed on numerous previous occasions, whilst another Alex, the Knight in flying armour, with his new carbon boat had the potential to cause an upset.
Race one got away, under the able and watchful eye of race officer Simon Payne (Moth National Champion), with a clean start and was unsurprisingly led from start to finish by Pascoe. The battle for 2nd and 3rd began in earnest. Tobert, Knight and Simon Hiscocks swapping places on each lap. Unfortunately Hiscock’s boat gave way with a lap to go leaving Knight to pip Tobert to the coveted 2nd place a trend that was to continue for the rest of the day.
By race three a number of competitors had worked out what to do and Pascoe had his work cut out when Alistair Richardson powered off the line to lead the early part of the beat, unfortunately, he capsized on his tack leaving Tobert to lead around the windward mark followed by Knight, Hiscocks and lastly Pascoe. Good covering by this group kept Pascoe behind for 2 laps before his foiling gybes got the better of Knight to once again earn Pascoe victory in the closest Foiling ‘6’ race ever.
A pattern had been set with Pascoe winning, Knight second, Tobert third, Hiscocks and Richardson fighting for 4th and 5th. Meanwhile wily old dog Dave Smithwhite was keeping him self-together to lead the reminder of the fleet. However, with the Sunday forecasting big breeze how would this upset the form?
Sunday began lighter than forecast but quickly built to a gusty 18 – 20 knots. Pascoe really showed his class leading around every mark. Gybing on his foils and seemingly sailing around in perfect control. Tobert took on the second place mantle, but a late start meant he missed the first race of the day which handed the runners up spot to Knight. Knight didn’t find it that easy with some spectacular wipe-outs winning him the “Falling with Style” prize and also let Richardson in to the top three race finishers club. Smithwhite’s steady performance earned him 5th overall.
Henry Clark and Paul Noble won prizes for the “Most Impressive Performance” with some dogged determination in the breeze.
Four new carbon boats on display looked very good and took the top two places overall but with the exception of Pascoe there appeared to be little speed difference between the new and old boats. It’s also worth noting that Richardson achieved third whilst using the old sail. Competitive foiling racing is only 5 – 6k and a few weeks practise away!
16 happy and exhilarated sailors left Hayling all looking forward to the next racing opportunity. A proper circuit is planned for next season with a possibility of a winter racing program just like Moth sailing with out the blogs!
1. Sam Pascoe (1000) Weirwood SC
2. Alex Knight (1002) WPNSA
3. Alex Tobert (5) WPNSA
4. Alistair Richardson (890) Christchurch SC
5. David Smithwhite (943) HISC