This year saw the inaugural Waszp UK National Championships at Rutland Water Sailing Club from 10th– 13thMay. The event was generously supported by title sponsor Forward WIPalong with Sailingfast, Stewart Brewing and Hartas Productions.
Thursday 10thwas set aside from the championships racing for training and slalom racing. The sun shone, and the wind played ball for the early part of the day but sadly died away as the day progressed into the slalom racing. Fun was had by all, but no winner of the slalom was produced due to the lack of wind.
Those that couldn’t take time off work on the Thursday or in some cases have an exam on the Thursday arrived in the evening ready for the championship racing to commence the following morning.
Friday broke to sunshine and a building breeze. The fleet launched and started race one in 15 gusting 20kts. Champagne conditions producing some of the most exciting racing seen in some time. All competitors from seasoned foilers to new comers, having never foiled before, had a ball. Some impressive boat handling was witnessed at the front end of the fleet but one slip up and places changed. This was the case for all five races sailed that day. Max Todd was the overnight leader with an impressive three bullets closely followed by Graham Priestley with a race win and the third spot taken by Jamie Calder, winner of the final race of the day. Very tired sailors hit the shore but soon rallied with sponsor Stewart Brewingsupplying liquid refreshment as they stepped ashore, before sails were dropped and wet suits removed!
Friday evening brought the fleet together for a sociable meal in the club followed by drinks and helpful tips shared from the more experienced Waszp sailors. What became evident not only on Friday evening but through out the championships was how friendly, inclusive and welcoming everyone involved in this relatively new class were. There were competitors from fifteen year olds through to 50+ all sharing stories and interacting together.
Saturday had glorious sunshine but sadly the forecast proved to be correct and there was no wind. The PRO Mike Haines made the correct call and AP over A was hoisted early in the day. The fleet used this time to hold their first AGM followed by a barbeque around the Sailingfastvan and once again sponsor Stewart Brewingsupplied the refreshments. That evening the official class dinner was held in the clubhouse before those that were of the appropriate age retired to the local pub, where sponsor Hartas Productionsnot only supplied amazing film coverage over the weekend but supplied the rum for those at the pub. A great night was had by all!
Sunday’s forecast was for light winds, which was the case, although Mike and his race management team managed to run four races in 5 – 7Kts. This showed how well the Waszp can be raced in low riding mode. Maybe not what you buy a foiler to do but turned out to be extremely competitive racing and supplied the class with a worthy champion in all conditions.
Graham Priestly put a consistent series together to clinch the title by 2 points from Max Todd. Paul Bartlett took the third podium spot, Rachel Jenkins was crowned the WASZP Queen and Jamie Calder was first youth.
The bespoke trophies were designed by the talented Mark Covellalongside Reedway Precision LTD and were breathaking and unique with the WASZP Queen winning a crown which was inspired by game of thrones!
A fantastic event was had by all. From the competitive racing and the great social scene this class is set to really expand. It really is a foiler for the masses.
Thanks must go to Rutland Water Sailing Club, Mike Haines and his team, the event sponsors and our class secretary who has put in a huge amount of work to make this event a success, Victoria Payne.
I’m sure all present can’t wait for the next Waszp event.
Results: 1stG. Priestly
4thJ. Calder (1stYouth)
10thR. Jenkins (1stLady)