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RS300 Magic Marine Winter Championship at South Cerney Sailing Club

by Steve Bolland 14 Mar 2017 11:12 GMT 11-12 March 2017

What a wonderfully welcoming club South Cerney is. Nestled within the Cotswold Water Park it is based on one of 150 lakes in the vicinity. Luckily we had been provided with good directions to the correct one so we didn't trouble the kayakers and water skiers on the other lakes nearby.

There was a degree of excitement a week earlier with the forecast showing gusts of over 40 knots. On Saturday we actually had 8 knots with gusts well up to about 10 and on Sunday we had nothing at all. Well done Windguru (other weather guess providers are available). More excitement on Saturday morning after it transpired that we were going to have a female racing in the fleet for the first time in a very long stretch indeed. That she was the wife of another owner matters not one jot – more on this later.

Furthest travelled was Alistair 'Storky' McLaughlin, from Prestwick. I don't know why he's called Storky either. Anyway, the point is he was OCS in the first race. 400 miles and a six-hour drive is a long way to sit out the first race. But being Scottish this was not the worst thing to happen that day – more on this later.

The boring bit is that the first race was won by Steve Bolland (Bristol Corinthian) followed by Steve Sallis (Hykeham) and Alastair Wood (Bough Beech) proving that the oldies still have it, if ever they had it in the first place. The interesting bit is that Emily Watson (Bowmoor) sailing a borrowed RS300 for pretty much the first time, and incidentally having had to go home to pick up her kit so last minute was the offer of the boat, beat hubby Paul (also of Bowmoor obviously). I'm just checking the results while I'm writing this and it was by quite a few places too. That's probably enough Paul-baiting for a while, but more on this later.

Race two was shaping up to be a close three-way battle between the two Steves and Storky until the latter's "never say win" attitude kicked in and a coming together with Watson (Paul) at one of the windward marks pegged him back momentarily. He still has it though and fought back into third at the finish behind Steve 1 and Steve 2.

More excitement in the final race (though we didn't know it at the time as we were still looking forward to the forecast storm on Sunday) when there was a general recall. I presume Storky was involved somewhere – he normally is. Ian Clark (Warsash) went right in a big way on the first beat to lead the fleet round, an interesting tactic seeing that left had paid on every other beat, but sometimes fortune favours the brave (and reckless). At the finish though it was Bolland, McLaughlin and Sallis.

And that was it. A quick turnaround in the shower, a quick stop at the bar and it was down to the serious business of watching the Calcutta Cup. Storky wisely kept his head down and kept his humour. Actually he's not that interested in rugby, not unlike the Scottish team really. OK, I'll leave it there as we're heading up to Scotland for the Nationals later in the year and I don't want a price on my head.

I mentioned earlier what a welcoming club South Cerney is. It's worth coming for the curry alone – 10 different home-cooked dishes on Saturday night, all for a tenner. Fabulous. I still think they're going to need a bigger oven for the Albacore Inlands next month though. Just sayin'.

Come Sunday morning and the lake looked like a millpond – a millpond with no wind. Despite waiting the wind didn't materialise. Big cheers all round at the prize giving for the first lady – at least one member of the Watson family walked away with a prize.

Next up, Sprint Champs at Rutland on 22-23 April. That's St. George's Day on the Sunday – what antics will Storky get up to then?

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3Pts
1stSteve Bolland411Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club1113
2ndSteve Sallis476Hykeham Sailing Club2237
3rdRichard Le Mare555Notts County Sailing Club47415
4thAlistair Mclaughlin490Prestwick Sailing Club163221
5thAlastair Wood422Bough Beech Sailing Club361221
6thRichard Hargreaves373Stewartby WSC69621
7thRob Jones480Warsash Sailing Club95822
8thIan Clark527Warsash Sailing Club108523
9thJohn Charles384Leigh‑on‑Sea Sailing Club512724
10thPaul Watson7‑4Bowmoor Sailing Club1141025
11thPete Ellis500Stewartby WSC810927
12thEmily Watson337Bowmoor Sailing Club7111129
13thBob Peak352Alton Water Sports Centre12151340
14thGary Morris318South Cerney Sailing Club13131440
15thDan Cowin347Burghfield14141644