Tight at the top as tier 3GP Waszps sails into Oban

The Teir 3 Waszps go under starters orders in Oban. Photograph: Stephen Lawson.

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Oban Sailing Club played host to a tier of the 3GP Waszp class earlier this month – the furthest north in the UK the class has ventured.

Two local boats were joined by boats from Dalgety, Derwent and on Sunday May 8, fresh back from a good showing at the Europeans in Mar Menor, Fife’s Ewan Wilson joined the fray.

Low riding was the order of the day on the Saturday with three races planned. Following a clean start in race one Andy Hutchinson put a marker down and won a close race with battles throughout the fleet.

Race two saw race organiser Steven Forteith tight at the pin and when the gun went the fleet left minus Steven who was now upside down releasing the main foil from the pin anchor line.

After another close battle Hutchinson took a second win of the day with local Ben Miller (on his first open event in any boat) coming through to take an excellent second place and Forteith working his way back through the fleet to take third.

Race three was a master class in low riding from John MacKenzie who won by a large margin with Duncan Hepplewhite finding some form to take second and Forteith third.

With an evening meal planned the day was wrapped up with a forecast of big breeze for Sunday.

On the Sunday the fleet headed out of the bay at 18 knots to the race course on the stunning Firth of Lorne which was bathed in sunshine.

Race one and two could be best described as snakes and ladders with Ewan Wilson this time giving the masterclass and taking two wins. Forteith took two seconds with Hutchinson following in with two thirds.

Battles were going on throughout the fleet. Wilson again took the win in race six with Forteith closing in on another second until avoiding action was required at the finish line to a low riding boat. This resulted in a wipe out that let the ever chasing Hutchinson fly in for second and Forteith having sorted himself out take third.

Race seven saw the breeze at 22/23 knots and finally Hutchinson and Forteith got a grip of the flying Wilson to take first and second respectively with Wilson in third.

Points were tight for the final race of the day with Forteith requiring boats between himself and Hutchinson to take the overall title.

A tight two laps at high speed were completed with Forteith and Wilson side by side down the last run. At the finish both fell of the foils and crossed the line for a photo-finish. Forteith took the win by a nose but the ever consistent Hutchinson fended off a couple of challenges to take third and win the overall event by one point. Forteith was second overall with Wilson taking third despite missing Saturday.

Organisers wish to thank Oban Sailing Club for putting on an amazing event, Waszp UK  and Sailingfast for the support, Owen Sails for the prizes and Seagrass Marine for the additional support.