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  • RS Vareos at Burnham on Crouch SC Asymmetric Regatta 16 July 16
  • RS Vareos at Burnham on Crouch SC Asymmetric Regatta 16 July 16

Lots of super photos: Go Pro photos thanks to Paul North in red.  Go Pro shot of Mark Smith with blue sleeves by him.  Other photos thanks to Kelly McPherson.


Report One by Paul North


Report Two by Mark Smith also on Y&Y here


RS Vareos at Burnham on Crouch Sailing Club Asymmetric Open Sat 16 July


RS Vareo Magic Marine Grand Prix Event Number Three


Saturday July 16th was the Burnham Sailing Club Asymmetric Open 2016 and Event 3 of the RS Vareo Magic Marine Grand Prix.  It was a glorious day at the beginning of the mini heat wave with temperatures in the middle 20s and lots of sunshine.


Burnham Sailing Club sits on the bank of the river Crouch in Essex where it forms a long tidal estuary between Southend and Clacton, flowing into the North Sea above the Thames.  At this point the river runs pretty much East West and is around 400-500m wide.  With high tide at 10.30 on the day and racing starting around 11.30 the ebbing tide proved to be a significant feature (the locals told us it was Neaps so not as bad as Springs!)


With a good W/SW stiff breeze a windward leeward course was set with the beat against the tide, the windward mark close to the South shore and the leeward gate on the other side.  The start line was in the middle of the river and had to be crossed on each upwind leg.


A total of 16 boats competed:  a mixed fleet of 4 RS Vareos, 3 RS200s, 7 RS Fevas, a Buzz and a 29er.  Launching was from a plastic floating pontoon and involved dropping the trolley over the side and sliding the boat in – a new experience for the RS Vareo sailors – somewhat daunting but in the end proving to be OK.


In the first race Cheryl Wood and Paul North took what seemed the better angle down the middle of the course while Mark Smith headed for the North bank.  Richard Holmes had arrived feeling a bit under the weather and decided not to join the first race.


It became apparent why Mark and the other local sailors were tacking in and out of the shallows near the bank – the tidal stream in the middle was strong!  While Cheryl and Paul put on a good turn of speed through the water Mark was building a significant lead away to their right.


Approaching the windward mark meant sailing well past it to be able to tack and beat across the river crabbing significantly sideways!  Once round the mark the apparent wind dropped significantly so what felt like a strong wind to hoist the kite became much more manageable.  Paul found a good line down the right side but hadn’t spotted how fast he was approaching the marks on the other side of the water and ended up virtually sailing past before realising his error.  The downwind legs were MUCH shorter than the upwind in the strong current.


Meanwhile, well out in front Mark near the right bank was approaching the point of tacking across to the upwind mark when he realised he had neglected to go through the start line on the way past.  Having passed the downwind mark Paul was confused to see Mark coming down the side of the course, kite hoisted, to get back around the committee boat!  A friendly shout from Mark to Paul “don’t forget to cross the start line” on lap 2 avoided him suffering the same fate.


Even with the extra leg, Mark finished first with Cheryl 2nd and Paul 3rd.


Race 2 followed soon after and although Paul and Cheryl were getting the idea of needing to sail upwind in the slower water Mark won comfortably with Cheryl again second and Paul 3rd.  Richard also joined race 2 and came 4th but that was the last time he sailed that day.


The boats were pulled out onto the pontoon for lunch and much discussion was had about the strength of the tide.  It was also clear that as the tide continued to ebb the river was getting narrower and the better water near the North bank was getting quite shallow in places!


After a great lunch provided by the lovely ladies at the Sailing Club we returned to the water for 2 more races.


In Race 3 Cheryl had a great start and on the first beat Paul was able to take advantage of a shift that enabled him to make a lot of ground parallel to the bank in the shallows gaining an advantage over Mark that he was able to hold on to.  By this time the entire fleet were zig-zagging in short tacks over the emerging beach on the beat.  Likewise, after rounding the windward mark the preferred option was to sail straight across the water to the central fast flowing channel then gybe and sail straight down the middle.  Cheryl 1st, Paul 2nd Mark 3rd


The final race saw the wind really pick up and the extra speed available made heading further out from the beach a little more productive.  Mark reached the windward mark first, hoisted his kite and capsized on the gybe.  Cheryl seeing her opportunity to pass hoisted, gybed and quickly followed him into the water!  Paul approaching some distance behind could see several capsized boats and closed the gap considerably, rounded the top mark, hoisted his kite and promptly capsized caught by a strong gust on the gybe although he managed to stay dry.  Text book approach at this point is to uncleat the main and drop the kite before righting.  Paul, already last, opted for the “try to hang on to anything when it comes upright” and following a hairy 50m at speed across the river with the boat at an alarming angle managed to bear way and regain control until the gybe which saw him back in the water and the boat turtled!  The natural order was restored, Mark 1st, Cheryl 2nd, Paul 3rd  which was the overall result on the day.  Congratulations to Mark.


                                       R1.   R2.    R3.  R4.     Total,

Mark Smith 572           1      1        3.      1           3

Cheryl Wood 660         2      2        1      2.          5

Paul North 443             3      3        2      3          8

Richard Holmes 337    4       4       4      4.         12


Thanks to the whole team at Burnham Sailing Club, race officer, safety crews, galley and helpers – a great day’s sailing in a lovely location.


Report by Paul North


Magic Marine Vareo Grand Prix and Foxs Marine and Country Great Eastern RS200 Tour visit the Burnham SC Asymmetric Regatta.


Saturday the 16th July dawned grey but very warm as RS200s and RS Vareos from across the region (and Cheryl from Yorkshire with her fantastic new boat) all arrived at Burnham Sailing Club.  Richard Tucker the club OOD introduced the day and described the best way to launch dinghies off the club's floating pontoon, a lot of the visitors went a little quiet at this point.  The two local 200s from Royal Corinthian sailed down and joined in too.  The starts were planned to be all in with a load of the Burnham Squiddies in Feva XLs and a 29er and Buzz added in for good measure.


Everyone seemed to get away OK without falling in or losing their trolley or boats to the fearsome Crouch tide as the sun came out and the thermometer soared.  A decent force three with puffs of four came right down the river with the tide, Champagne sailing.


After a short delay while the windward leeward course was corrected the first race was soon away.  Mark Smith in his RS Vareo crept up along the mud on the Burnham shore with the RS200s while the other lake based RS Vareos went out for clear wind and longer tacks out in the channel.  Keeping out of the tide paid off.  Mark let Cheryl through on lap two however by not going through the line until told, when he was well passed the committee boat, by the 29er crew.  This gave Cheryl a good lead as she sailed the beat in a sensible fashion not having to use her spinnaker to return the extra 150m that Mark had had to.  On lap three Mark returned the favour to Paul to save him missing the line.  A series of very short tacks up the shore got Mark back into the RS Vareo lead.


In the RS200s Phil and Helen Bailey who came down from Hunts with their new RS200 for pre-national practice led comfortably throughout to take the win.


In the RS Vareos race two came with similar results but fewer mistakes and the whole fleet now were creeping up the shore trying not to go on the mud one side and into the, by now ferocious, tide anywhere near deep water.  Chay Taylor and Niamh Davies won the RS200 race.


Throughout the regatta both of the faster classes were kept incredibly honest by the RS Feva sailing youngsters who all knew the water well and what good downwind angles to adopt - it showed.


The fleet then came in for an excellent lunch and to refill water bottles and try and re-hydrate.


By race three the whole fleet was seemingly bouncing along the mud edge except for Cheryl who went for clear wind and it paid off with an easy race win with Paul in second, with the RS200s having the same result as race two.


In race four the tide was around 30 minutes from turning Mark tried for clear wind and went up the channel and it paid off in spades leading easily to the windward mark that he promptly hit and did a 360 allowing Cheryl and Paul to catch up and a close race then ensued downwind where again the RS Vareos split for the beat.  By the third time around the windward mark Mark was back in the lead and with Scott and Carl in the RS200 rounded and in a by now lovely (cooling) fresh breeze bore away to get the kite up.  The RS Vareo going very deep was not in a good place when a freeing puff caused a gybe and capsize to windward.  Cheryl capitalised on this and took the lead and ran off high and fast.  Mark, finally, got his boat upright again and soaked down as low as possible down the fairway channel in pursuit.  Sadly for Cheryl a rather ‘wet' gybe decided the race.  Line honours for the RS200s went to form again.


All in all a fantastic weekend, excellent race management and very friendly club, great catering and all of the competitors were really nice people, I think both fleets hope to return in 2017.


The next RS Vareo event is the Nationals at Llandefedd followed by the next GP at Alton Water.


For the RS200s there is another Eastern Traveler race at Aldeburgh next Saturday.


Selected Results:


RS Vareos:  


  1. Mark Smith 1,1,(3),1
  2. Cheryl Wood  (2),2,1,2
  3. Paul North       (3),3,2,3




  1. Chay Taylor/Niamh Davies (2),1,1,1
  2. Phil and Helen Bailey  1,(2),2,2
  3. Carl Anderson, Scott Ellis (3),3,3,3


Full results at


Report by Mark Smith


Asymmetric open

Entries: 16      Races Sailed: 4      Discard: 1

Provisional Results

Series Place Sail No Boat Type of Boat Helm Crew Handicap Series Points Race1 Race2 Race3 Race4
1 230 RS Feva Dylan Collingbourne DMcPherson 1235 5 3 8 1 1
2 985 RS 200 Chay Taylor Niamh Davies 1047 5 2 1 2 3
3 1629 RS 200 Phil Bailey Helen Bailey 1047 6 1 2 3 4
4 5174 RS Feva Matt Smith Issy Taylor Jones 1235 11 8 4 5 2
5 5453 RS Feva Joshua Davies Jack Oakley 1235 12 5 3 4 6
6 4766 RS Feva Lisa Rose Natasha Cubitt 1235 16 4 7 9 5
7 2242 29 er Hannah Tucker Flyn Davies 919 20 12 6 7 7
8 1006 Buzz Buzz Richard Taylor Ellen Morley 1015 21 6 5 10 17
9 572 RS Vareo Mark Smith   1071 24 7 9 12 8
10 660 RS Vareo Cheryl Wood   1071 25 9 10 6 10
11 443 RS Vareo Paul North   1071 30 11 11 8 12
12 879 RS 200 Carl Anderson Scott Ellis 1047 31 10 12 13 9
13 5468 RS Feva Callum Fraser Jo Tribe 1235 35 13 17 11 11
14 BSC1 RS Feva Jack Tucker Charlie Tucker 1235 45 17 17 15 13
15 337 RS Vareo Richard Holmes   1071 47 17 13 17 17
16 BSC2 RS Feva Will Van Schagon Dan Barness 1235 48 17 17 14 17