Competition in the RS Elite fleet was wide open in 2019 with three different winners of Grand Slam Trophy events. Mike McIntyre and crew sailing Foudafafa won the UK National Championship, Russell Peters and Crew sailing Riff Raff won the Southern Area Championship and Paul Fisk and crew sailing Legs Eleven won Cowes Week. Paul Fisk took the Grand Slam Trophy for the best performance over all three qualifying events, ending Russell Peters’ run of success in the three previous years.
Grand Slam Events
The fleet broke new ground in 2019 by holding a spectacularly successful UK National Championship as part of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, attracting an entry of 31 boats from the UK mainland and Northern Ireland. This was the first time the UK Nationals had been held outside the UK and the first time as part of a larger event.
Competition at the front of the fleet was fierce. Mike McIntyre and crew from Hayling Island Sailing Club put in a consistent performance to repeat their 2018 success and take the title for the second year running. Other top places were closely contested with Ossie Stewart’s More T Vicar (second overall) and Paul Fisk’s Legs Eleven (third overall) both winning two or more races in the ten-race series.
True to form the highly social RS Elite fleet partied every night and had a highly enjoyable class dinner at Dun Laoghaire’s Royal St George Yacht Club on the Saturday Evening.
Russell Peters in Riff Raff won the Southern Area Championship at Bembridge. Charlie Egerton-Warburton in Soak therapy was second. Ossie Stewart’s More T Vicar and Paul Fisk’s Legs eleven were tied for third with the tie resolved on countback in favour of More T Vicar. Competition in the class has become so intense that ties for podium places were a regular feature in RS Elite events in 2019.
Paul Fisk’s Legs Eleven triumphed at Cowes Week, with three wins in a very windy series reduced from the planned seven races to five due to adverse weather conditions. Robert Holbrook in Centurion and Pete Copsey in The Doctor were tied for second with the tie being resolved on countback in favour of Centurion with The Doctor taking third.
Other Championships and Open Events
The closely contested Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover Irish National Championship was hosted by the Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough. Winners overall were Jeff Ralston and crew sailing Upfront with Stephen Polly and crew sailing Storm in second and Simon Brien and crew in Kin third. The first three places were each separated by only one point.
The Eastern Area Championship, a new event in the RS Elite calendar, was held over the first weekend of Burnham Week. Winners were Paul Fisk and crew in Legs Eleven, with a tie for second place between David Wood’s Oink Squeal and Richard Bavin’s Serious Moonlight being resolved on countback in favour of Oink Squeal.
The Hayling Island Whitsun Regatta also saw some close competition. The event was won by Colin smith and crew sailing Shaken not Stirred. Paul Fisk’s Legs Eleven and Pete Copsey’s The Doctor were tied for second with the place going to Legs Eleven on countback. Fourth and fifth places were also tied with fourth going to Russell Peters in Riff Raff on countback and fifth to Ossie Stewart in More T Vicar.
Ossie Stewart and crew in More T Vicar decisively won the RS Elite class in Chichester Harbour Race Week with six wins out of seven races. Second place went to Andy Partington and crew in Lazy Daisy. Toby Strauss’s Vagrant was tied with Pete Copsey’s The Doctor for third place, with the result going to Vagrant on countback.
The class continues to thrive at club level in the UK with active fleets racing at Hayling Island and Cowes on the South Coast, Burnham-on-Crouch on the East Coast and in Northern Ireland on Belfast Lough and Strangford Lough. At the time of writing winter series are under way at Hayling Island and Strangford Lough.
Internationally there is a very active fleet in Norway and boats in several other countries including Italy, Germany and Antigua. The two Elites in Genoa Italy inaugurated the Hospital Sailing Race Genoa (HSRG). Organised by Paolo Pasquini, the owner of RS Elite Lunetta who is a doctor in the Galliera Hospital in Genoa, the HSRG is a sailing match between the two principal hospitals in Genoa, the Galliera Hospital and the G Gaslini Institute, raising funds for medical research. The 2019 match was won by a group of doctors from the Galliera Hospital sailing Lunetta.
2020 RS Elite International Grand Prix
In 2020 the fleet returns to the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes for the RS Elite International Grand Prix, incorporating both an International Invitation Regatta and the UK National Championship. This will be a spectacular event; the largest RS Elite regatta to date bringing together RS Elite sailors from the UK and overseas. Entry is already open. Notice of race and entry forms may be found on RYS event page.