By Ryan Bush 22/9/14

The Byte class visited Weston Sailing Club over the weekend of 20-21 September for an open meeting which was shared with the Contender and Hornet classes.  4 Bytes joined the home fleet travelling from as far as Manchester and Bristol.

The wind on Saturday was a very light northerly which was challenging for the race officer and the competitors alike.

In Race 1 the pin end was favoured, Ryan Bush from Bristol Corinthian got away well and went left but in the shifty conditions it was Charlotte Cooper first at the windward mark followed by Chris Rees then Ryan and Rick Whitehouse. Before the gybe mark there were a few place changes amongst the first 3 boats with Ryan making the most of his light weight and off wind speed gaining the lead which he held to the finish. There was a close battle for the next 3 places with Rick moving into second with Chris third and Charlotte forth.

The second race was delayed while the wind settled down and the course was reset. The start was competitive with Maggie and Kevin battling it out but both being over line and having to return. At the windward mark Rachel Moore and Alan Roberts were fighting for first place followed by Ryan and Rick close behind. Off wind Rick favoured going high while Ryan went low. At the gybe it was Ryan first followed by Rick then Alan then Rachel. By the finish Alan pulled through to second. The fading breeze caused sailing to be curtailed for the day with the fleet returning ashore for an evening of fun and excellent food with the bar kindly sponsored by 50N sailing.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny with a freshening, gusty breeze from the north.

Ryan started as he had finished the day before by winning the pin end and carrying a favourable shift up the left side. However it was Kevin Moore first to the windward mark then Ryan, Chris, Rick and Alan close behind. Going into the 2nd mark the lead had changed with Ryan first and then Kevin with Chris having a dual which allowed Alan through to second. Ryan held his lead to the finish with Alan in second with Rick third.

Bart’s Bash also counted as race 4 with 73 boats sharing the start line. With one minute to go Ryan was happily surfing the wakes of passing ships not realising it was all one start and as a result could only manage fourth at the windward mark. Kevin was leading but with Rick in hot pursuit. The gusty conditions made the run challenging with both Rick and Ryan capsizing. However, by the end Rick was first followed by Alan and Chris with Ryan 4th. 
The last race was challenging as the wind lessened but becoming more shifty. The pin was favoured again with Chris and Alan going too early and having to duck the pin end and letting Ryan in. By the windward mark Ryan was in first and in second were Rick and then Alan. Despite an unfavourable shift on the last beat Ryan went on to record his fourth win from Rick and Alan.

The Byte remains popular with helms of all ages and sizes with the youngest competitor, Ryan, being just 13 and 52 kgs.

Many thanks to Weston SC for running an excellent event and making all feel very welcome, we hope to return soon.


Place Sail No  Helm  R1  R2  R3  R4  R5  Total    Nett
1 891 Ryan Bush 1 1 1 -4 1 8 4
2 3561 Rick Whitehouse 2 -3 3 1 2 11 8
3 485 Alan Roberts -8 2 4 2 3 19 11
4 2620 Chris Rees 3 -8 2 3 5 21 13
5 2630 Charlotte Cooper 4 7 -9 7 4 31 22
6 867 Kevin Moore 6 -10 5 6 7 34 24
7 1663 Maggie Futcher 7 5 6 8 -9 35 26
8 850 Olwen Binks -10 9 7 5 6 37 27
9 1241 Rachel Moore 9 4 8 -10 8 39 29
10 1640 Clare Mach 5 6 -10 9 10 40 30


Five visitors joined five locals on a pleasantly breezy Saturday morning for the Weston Byte Open. Three races were scheduled for each of Saturday and Sunday. A triangle/sausage course was shared with the Contenders and this was overlaid with a windward/leeward course sailed by the RS700s leading to excitement at the top and bottom of the course.

Race 1 saw a good start from the whole fleet with Chris Rees easing away up the first beat, he was closely pursued by Mike Radford, Sarah Kirk and John Futcher with the rest of the fleet not far behind. Chris managed to consolidate his lead up the second beat by going left into stronger winds and was comfortably ahead of Mike when the course was shortened with a short reach to the finish at the end of the first run. A tight group of John, Olwen Binks and Maggie Futcher sailed rather high after the leeward mark before heading for the finish, John gybing to get there and in the melee Maggie unfortunately capsized after having a good race up to that point.

The start of race 2 saw Chris doing a turn off the start line after just tapping the pin. Following this he and Sarah went left with John and Mike going right. This time the right side was favoured and John and Mike approached  the windward mark with a nice lead over Sarah and Chris. Mike extended hi s lead after negotiating Contenders at the top with Maggie showing good speed to pull through to third by the end of the race.

Chris once again found the right way up the beat in race 3 and established a commanding lead with Sarah in dogged pursuit.  By the end of the race Sarah had caught Chris and was only a few feet behind. Mike had made his traditional poor start and had to work hard to keep up with Olwen Binks’ upwind speed – Mike just managed to squeeze past Olwen on the final reach to the finish.

At the end of the first day the competition was finely balanced. Race 4 on Sunday would see the discard coming into play and Chris would be in a very strong position with two wins already under his belt. On the other hand Chris was not looking forward to the forecast light winds which would favour Sarah and Mike. Unfortunately the winds were so light on Sunday that racing was postponed and then abandoned and so the competition was decided by Saturday’s results.

Despite the lack of wind on Sunday this was a most enjoyable event, including an evening quiz, at a very friendly club. The Byte fleet is now looking forward to the final open of the year at Haversham SC on 19th/20th October.

Pos Sail No Name Club R1 R2 R3 Total
1 1465 Mike Radford West Oxfordshire SC 2 1 3 6
2 2620 Chris Rees Warsash SC 1 5 1 7
3 2631 Sarak Kirk Frampton on Severn SC 3 4 2 9
4 11663 John Futcher Weston SC 4 2 6 12
5 850 Olwen Binks Weston SC 5 6 4 15
6 1663 Maggie Futcher Weston SC 8 3 5 16
7 806 Cathy Brassington Haversham SC 7 7 7 21
8 1241 Rachel Moore Weston SC 6 10 9 25
9 1640 Clare Mach Weston SC 9 8 8 25
10 1424 Lewis Bennett Frampton on Severn SC 10 9 10 29


Forecasts of bad weather probably led to a small fleet. On Saturday the Bytes shared the course with a four hour pursuit race. The wind was more or less southerly giving a beat down the length of the lake.

Race 1: Kevin Moore squeezed Mike Radford out at the start and had better upwind speed in the stiff breeze. Rachael Moore and Mike were quicker off-wind with Mike taking the lead after the second beat which he held to the end.

Race 2: Easing winds saw lightweights Rachael and Mike drawing away from Kevin and battling upwind with many close crossings. After finally getting ahead of Rachael Mike then proceeded to throw his advantage away by sailing through the pursuit race gate rather than the Byte gate halfway up the beat. After recovering from this navigational error Mike set about catching Rachael again and managed to get a few boats lead by the end of the race.

Race 3: Freshening winds brought Kevin back into contention although the fleet remained in a tight bunch for the first lap or two with Angela Oakley showing good performance after a full day's racing. Mike managed to ease away to a comfortable lead by the end of the race with Rachael just getting beaten by Kevin.

A Trafalgar Day dinner was held on Saturday evening where Haversham SC members made Mike very welcome.

Race 4: Sunday saw stronger winds with the Bytes starting 5 minutes ahead of the club racers. Mike failed to make a port end flyer stick (again) and tracked Kevin up the beat. There were some exhilarating down-wind legs and this time Mike was able to extend his lead over Kevin up the beat.

Race 5: After a brief shore break Mike made a start well clear of the rest of the fleet as Rachael and Stuart Moore (in Kevin's boat) made a late start after an extended tea break. Our race officer, and Supernova sailor, Gordon Tweedle, swapped duties with Angela and took out her Byte for the first time.

Race 6: Mike and Rachael were in close contact for the first half of the race. Gordon managed to avoid getting lapped by Mike in only his second Byte outing.

Despite the small fleet there was some close racing over the weekend. Haversham SC is a friendly club where everything is done to make sure you have a great time – I hope the Bytes can return next year, in which case don't miss out!

Overall Results:

Pos Sail No Name Club R1 R2 R3 R4 R4 R6 Total
1 1465 Mike Radford West Oxfordshire SC -1 -1 1 1 1 1 4
2 167 Rachael Moore Weston SC 2 2 -3 -3 2 2 8
3 1241 Kevin Moore Weston SC 3 3 2 2 -DNS -DNS 10
4 1433 Angela Oakley Haversham SC 4 4 4 DNS -DNS -DNS 17


The Byte Nationals took place over the weekend of 24/25th August as part of the Sailfest event at WPNSA. 15 boats gathered on the extensive block paved hard, no mud here, where they were surrounded by an exotic selection of the country's best known sailors and exotic boats. Racing was to take place in fleets with the Bytes being granted their own start. When the boats took to the water it was blowing in the low twenties creating a fierce chop out in the harbour promising a wet day day for the diminuative Bytes. The boats all carried trackers which enabled spectators to monitor racing from a screen in the bar. This was also interesting for post race analysis.

At the start of race one all boats were away in a close group but Louis Saunders showed his form early and made it to the front by the windward mark, never being challenged, and establishing a substantial lead. At the line he won from Chris Rees and Richard Whitehouse. It was hard sailing with screaming reaches and difficult downwind legs.

Race two was if anything windier than race one and some of the bigger Sailfest fleet started sailing in with broken boats or broken spirits, but the Bytes soldiered on with Louis again out in front being chased by Richard Whitehouse and Charlotte Gough. Louis crossed the line first but as Richard and Charlotte raced for the line neck and neck Charlotte had to avoid a tacking Fireball and lost out to Richard.

Race three did not go Louis' way at the start with a poor beat so that he rounded the windward mark in fifth behind Charlotte, Richard, Kevin Moore and Chris Rees. He then set out to chase them down making it into second place behind Charlotte and with Chris Rees in third.

At the end of the first day all boats were in and being fettled for the following day while the sailors filled up with a substantial hog roast.The forecast for Sunday was for easing wind which would be welcomed by some of the lighter competitors...

However the wind did not ease, if anything it was worse and the Bytes left again to sail out onto the course. Louis led away for race 4 followed by Eddie Pope and Richard Whitehouse who engaged in a close battle until the finish where it was Louis from Eddie and Rick.

For race 5 the wind did soften a little to the relief of lightweights like Maggie Fucher and Rachel Moore. Eddie Pope was now getting into the groove and followed Louis round to finish second and in front of Richard Whitehouse.

Race 6 blew up again, probably the strongest wind of the weekend, and many of the Sailfest fleet decided not to risk more damage and sailed in accompanied by Byte sailors, Chris Rees, who had pulled a muscle, Bruce Waymark, who was just being sensible! Maggie Futcher who had completed 5 races which was enough for a lady of her years, and Charlotte Gough who was recovering from illness. In the race Eddie Pope capsized before the start and lost time getting going again which scuppered his chances of a second over all. Louis broke away and won the last race with a good lead from Former double National Champion Kevin Moore and 2012 National champion Richard Whitehouse.

Louis Saunders was a clear Championship winner from Rick Whitehouse and Charlotte Gough. Special mention must go to Junior Ed Adams in his first Nationals and he also had the distinction of recording the fastest Byte speed of the weekend at 11.57 knots in the last race.  All sailors enjoyed the weekend, found the sailing exhilarating and the organisation excellent. So much so that they intend to return next year.

An added bonus after a great weekend was that Byte sailor Mike Radford won the big pursuit race on Monday which proves that the Byte is faster than an International 14! Well done Mike.

Overall Results:

Pos Sail No Helm R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Pts
1st 626 Louis SAUNDERS 1 1 2 1 1 1 5
2nd 3301 Richard WHITEHOUSE 3 2 4 3 3 3 14
3rd 2945 Charlotte GOUGH 5 3 1 5 4 (DNC) 18
4th 3130 Edwin POPE 6 5 7 2 2 6 21
5th 167 Kevin MOORE 4 4 10 7 5 2 22
6th 2620 Chris REES 2 8 3 6 9 (DNC) 28
7th 1465 Mike RADFORD 7 9 5 4 7 7 30
8th 3125 Ed ADAMS 9 6 6 9 8 4 33
9th 867 Stuart MOORE 8 7 8 8 6 5 34
10th 1663 Maggie FUTCHER 10 10 9 11 11 (DNC) 51
11th 1241 Rachel MOORE 11 11 11 12 10 (DNC) 55
12th 2943 Bruce WAYMARK (DNC) DNC DNC 10 12 DNC 70
13th 1433 Angela OAKLEY (DNC) DNC DNC DNC DNC DNC 80