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Magic Marine RS300 Sprint Championship at Rutland Sailing Club

by Paul Watson on 26 Apr 22-23 April 2017

With a forecast suggesting the bar might need opening early 13 eager RS300 sailors arrived at Rutland to realise their fears of a patchy and sometimes windless lake.

Not to be put off we rigged, consumed fried goods and coffee, questioned Steve B over his purchase of a non-300 and waited to be told to either launch or get the first round in.

The race team, seemingly knowing something that we didn't, sent us out for a long and sometimes frustrating, sail up/down to the starting area where we sat for some time discussing which side of the committee boat would make the sail back to the club the shortest.

After a bit of a wait floating about in the sunshine the word of the race team came true and from nowhere a pleasant F2-3 arrived kicking the now 12 remaining boats into action, desperate to get a few qualifying races in before it decided to disappear again. After 3 incredibly tight races only 2 points separated the top 6 boats with almost everyone having a result that left them questioning whether or not they had made the cut.

An evening at the now re-opened Wheatsheaf pub was enjoyed with excellent food, beer and just a little rum thrown into the mix for good measure, at least for those of us who didn't then have to spend the evening listening to Sparky's car alarm.

Sunday dawned with a light but seemingly stable breeze. After more coffee and fried goods, the fleet headed to the now slightly closer committee boat, where the race team had set a what would prove to be a challenging course with the shifty wind making for another day of tight and tactical racing.

In the Gold fleet, after a rocky start, Rob Jones settled into a bit of a rhythm scoring back to back 1st places in races 2 and 3. This proved too much for Steve B who chose this point to call it a day, shortly followed by Ian after race 4 who perhaps wasn't enjoying the light and sometimes fluky weather. With less boats meaning the score lines were getting even tighter the battle for the top step went down to the final race, Rob needing a third or better to secure the event. As the gun went for the final race 3 boats hit the middle of the line at speed heading up the middle of the course into what seemed like a reasonable breeze. Unfortunately, for Rob, he had chosen different tactic and was stuck in what appeared to be the only wind hole on the lake at the pin end of the line. Helpless, he watched the fleet sail away, the result now dependant on whether Steve S took the final bullet. The race for the front now became one of the closest of the weekend, the 3 boats crossing each other on the beats, rarely more than a couple of boat lengths apart. Going into the final downwind leg Paul Watson had found a small amount of breathing room with Steve 2nd, Pete Ellis 3rd and Rob not quite recovering to follow in 4th place but still having done enough to win the event!

In the Silver fleet the racing looked to be even closer, and with a point to prove they even caught the Gold fleet up in the first race making up a 3 min deficit before the end of the 15 minute race. After the first few races it was looking to be a 2 horse race, with a slightly erratic Alistair 'Storky' Mclaughlin facing off against an incredibly consistent Alastair Wood. Going into the final races it appeared to be Alastair who was in control, but the door was still open for Storky who had a bit of an outside chance. As the last race of the day came to a close there was still some doubt over the result. Had Alastair held on to it? Had Storky done enough? Had Mark's late charge of bullets changed everything? In the end it came to a count back, Storky taking it on number of 1st places from Alastair 2nd and Mark a couple of point back in 3rd.

With the racing done and boat packed up we gathered for a final mug of tea and some excellent cake from the Rutland galley team. Thanks must be extended to all those involved in such a well run, enjoyable event and to our generous RS300 National Tour sponsors in Magic Marine. See you at next year's RS300 Sprints 21-22 April 2018.

Sailing photos by Peter Fothergill can be purchased at www.fothergillphotography.com

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
Gold Fleet
1stRob Jones480Warsash SC51122415
2ndSteve Sallis476Hykeham SC16511216
3rdPaul Watson337Bowmoor SC45233118
4thPete Ellis500Stewartby Water SC23344319
5thSteve Bolland411Bristol Corinthain YC344DNCDNCDNC32
6thIan Clark527Warsash SC6265DNCDNC33
Silver Fleet
1stAlistair Mclaughlin490Prestwick SC14114213
2ndAlastair Wood422Medway YC21222413
3rdMark Newton454West Lancashire YC63331117
4thBob Peak352Alton Water Sports Centre52443321
5thGary Morris318South Cerney SC45555529
6thRichard Le Mare555Notts County SC3DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC38

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