The RS Elite fleet got off to a low-key but highly competitive start to the 2021 season after having all open events in 2020 cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Hayling Island SC Spring Regatta held on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd May should have been the first open event of the season but the host club was forced to restrict the entry to members only, due to ongoing government restrictions. Despite this and despite the fact that lack of wind on Saturday forced postponement of all races, nine RS Elites appeared on the start line on Sunday for the first of three races in a shifty sea breeze which provided tricky but exhilarating sailing.

Competition was fierce at the front of this very competitive fleet. Overall results had Andy Partington and crew in RS Elite 66 Lazy Daisy taking the series, one point ahead of second placed Ossie Stewart and crew in Elite 67 More T Vicar, just two points ahead of third placed Tom Hewitson and crew in Elite 007 Shaken not Stirred. Although they had won the first two races, Russell Peters and crew in Elite 20 Riff Raff did not compete in the last race and, with all races to count, finished fourth overall. Race officer Greg Lamb coped well with the conditions, setting courses in response to the shifting winds and giving competitors an excellent day’s sailing.

Anticipating that the COVID-19 restriction will be eased, the class has planned a full events programme for the rest of 2021, including the Southern Area Championship at HISC on 10-11 July, the UK National Championship, again at HISC on 22-25 July, Cowes Week 31 July – 7 August with the embedded Chairman’s Flute competition on the first four days, and the Eastern Area Championship held during Burnham Week 28/29/30 August. Due to the ongoing uncertainties, plans for some of these events are currently flexible and may change.

Despite restrictions Elites have been sailing at club level in Northern Ireland, at Hayling Island and at Burnham. The Burnham fleet is holding a training weekend on 22-23 May and will host an Elite event in the Royal Burnham YC Whitsun Regatta which may be open to visitors as restrictions are lifted. Other planned events include three races for RS Elites in Chichester Harbour Race Week on August 11-13 and autumn/winter series at Strangford Lough (September – November) and Hayling Island (November – December).

2020 was a quiet year for the RS Elites. 2021 is seeing a huge resurgence in interest in getting on the water. The best news of all is that new sailors are buying boats and joining the fleet. Travel restrictions may still pose a problem this year but the postponed International Grand Prix at Cowes is in the calendar for 2022.

Overall Results:

Pos Sail No Helm Crew R1 R2 R3 Pts
1st 66 Andy Partington Karen Partington & Gareth Edwards 2 3 2 7
2nd 67 Ossie Stewart Tom Alice 3 2 3 8
3rd 7 Tom Hewitson Colin Smith / Jo Hewitson 4 6 1 11
4th 20 Russell Peters   1 1 DNC 12
5th 46 Peter Copsey Peter Copsey 6 5 4 15
6th 101 Miles Odell Tim Polglase & Andrew Streeter 7 4 6 17
7th 44 Elliot Caldwell Fish and Farm 9 7 5 21
8th 92 James Yearsley Jonny C. Anna Wells 5 8 DNC 23
9th 65 Aidan Mitchell Aidan Mitchell 8 9 DNC 27