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Plas Menai 2015

RS300 End of Season Championship at Rutland Sailing Club

by Harry McVicar on 10 Nov 2016 5-6 November 2016

This year, the RS End of Seasons moved from their usual home at Datchet, to Rutland Water. The RS300 fleet got a typically small turnout of just 4; Tim Keen, Rob Jones, Paul Watson, and Harry McVicar.

Format for the weekend had Saturday with 3 races back-to-back and Sunday with a 2 hour pursuit for double points.

Saturday began with sunshine and a stiff 20 knot breeze, with gusts pushing 27. The RS300s shared a trapezoid course with the RS Aeros, who much to our surprise, got the first start.

Race one saw the fleet split 3 ways to the top mark, with Harry taking the right, Rob and Tim going up the middle and Paul showing us that low and fast is the way to go taking first mark honours, followed by Harry, who promptly got blown over on the following reach as the wind pushed up the to the wrong side of 25 knots. This set the tone for the race, and the dreaded choppy run led to numerous downwind capsizes for all except Rob, who made it round with just one dip; he who swims least shall be first. Tim second, Paul third, Harry last with more swims than points.

Race two saw a little less wind but brought with it some dodgy shifts at the top mark. Tim got the best of these and led the way followed by Paul and Rob, who then had a tandem death-roll at the bear-away. Harry had one short capsize, and Tim stayed dry, giving him the win. Harry second, and Rob out muscled Paul to take third.

For Race 3, Harry hit the showers (I didn't wuss out, promise!). Tim had a commanding lead before falling in. Rob robbed him of it, Paul came in 3rd.

I guess the race organisers did know what they were doing. We never did catch the fastest Aeros...

Saturday night, Tim went back to the hotel for a bath and an early night (at Zoe's request, honest...) and Harry went and stood in a muddy field watching explosions. This left Rob and Paul to represent the class propping up the bar. By their faces on Sunday morning they did an admirable job!

Sunday was even colder, just above freezing, and just as windy. Those hangovers wouldn't last long...

The 2 hour pursuit race was a mere 1 hour 46 minutes for us RS300s, which sounded pretty gruelling to all (Rich Le Mare laughs from a distance...), and began with a reaching start. The first hour saw some fantastically close racing, with everyone having a go at the front thanks to a variety of beating tactics, running bravery, and hiking fitness. Then it all went wrong. In one run, Harry fell in, Tim saw his chance for an overtake, and fell in (breaking his tiller extension in the process, and hit the showers), Rob disappeared into the distance, and Paul played it safe to gain second. Then the wind built and the hail came in, making the next 45 minutes a mix of powered up broad reaches and painful beats. Paul decided to cool off twice more before the end of the race, but had enough of a lead to hold second. Rob was too fast, so had to sail an extra beat for his sins, and have an extra long run home.

With the pursuit being double points, and non-discardable, this left the final score: 1st Rob Jones, 2nd Paul Watson, 3rd Harry McVicar and 4th Tim Keen due to his retirement.

All in all, it was a great event with challenging conditions and proper close racing. Let's get a few more there next year! Thanks to event sponsors Volvo and Magic Marine and to Team Volvo sailors John Pink and Nikki Birrell for sharing in the weekend's fun.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3PursuitPts
1st480Rob JonesWarsash SC1‑3124
2nd337Paul WatsonBowmoor SC3‑43410
3rd523Harry McVicarDraycote Water SC42(DNC)612
4th328Tim KeenSheffield Viking SC & Nefyn SC‑212DNC13

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