Robyn Dougall success at the National RIB Challenge

The 2013 British Final of the RYA Honda Rib challenge was held at the Southampton Boat show in conditions that were less than perfect.

Robyn Dougall who was representing Scotland and the RFYC, flew down on Saturday 14th September in preparation for the race the next day.

The morning of the race had a light breeze and flat seas, however the forecast was for it to build rapidly to over 50 mph as the day progressed. The first race started at 9.00 am in flat calm but the wind built up as predicted throughout the day giving gusts of 50 mph and kicking up a nasty chop with whitewater a plenty. The boatshow organisers were considering closing the pontoons as the wind increased significantly at lunch time. One of the rules of the competition gives drivers a time penalty  if they get any water in the ribs. This led to drivers slowing significantly as the winds increased to try and avoid the penalties, also to stay on course in the slalom. This inevitably gave wildly differing times with many competitors producing slower times  than their qualifying times earlier in the year. The winner, who is clearly a highly skilled driver as he won the event last year too was first to start and in the flat calm and produced the quickest round the competition has ever seen with a time of 59 seconds.

Robyn was scheduled for a 1.30 start and had a good clear round in the challenging conditions. Robyn was one of the few competitors that bettered her qualifying time of the Regional heats but the conditions in the afternoon meant a slower time was inevitable. The average time for competitors in the morning was 1 min 14 seconds yet the afternoon was 1 min 20 seconds a full 6 seconds on average slower. She was the fastest girl and came 9th overall in the UK. Over 3000 people took part from all over the UK, Wales, Ireland and the Channel Islands.

The ten strong Scottish contingent headed back to the airport after the prizegiving where the planes were delayed due to the weather! We chatted to the Irish Team and their supporters as their flights were delayed and it was unanimously agreed that the weather played a significant part in the event. It would appear that the running order is always the same and that last year the same thing happened with the weather.