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Rooster 8.1 Nationals at Weston Sailing Club - Day 1

by Rooster Sailing 14 Oct 2007 17:17 BST 13-14 October 2007

19 Rooster 8.1s looked out over Southampton Water on Saturday morning with maximum winds forecast of 6 knots from the South East. Not ideal winds for most boats – but the Rooster 8.1s were relishing their first National Championships taking place at Weston Sailing Club in their rig that loves light winds!

The first start was clean, it was amazing looking around at 19 boats with their huge rigs powering off in the 4 knot winds. Almost hiking, Ian Morgan (the Rooster 8.1 sail designer) lead at the first mark having taken the more ideal current on the left side of the course, closely followed by his girlfriend and local Weston sailor Kerry Tucker who was fully hiked, but she is a Laser Radial Sailor! Steve Cockerill and Greg Carey probably took the less ideal route in the current and were both close behind, Downwind in an 8.1 is always quick, and with waves from passing shipping many were able to get onto the plane on the first reach, in just 4 knots! Greg later capsized on his first roll gybe, letting Simon Barrington through at the finish. Greg later said that he was not used to the size, weight and power of the rig; this was his first experience of the 8.1, he recovered to finish 4th. Steve Cockerill had the edge downwind to take the lead, but was pressed hard by Ian Morgan on the last beat to take the gun. Steve Cockerill went around the fleet giving rig set up tips.

Race 2 was again dominated by the lightweights to mark one, Ian Morgan again led with Kerry Tucker close in second and Greg Cary in 3rd having a better race after receiving some helpful hints with his rig set up. The wind headed on the reach leg favoring those who had gone high resulting in Larry Lawrence and Simon Barrington passing Steve Cockerill approaching the gybe mark. Larry continued wide past the mark to find his own wind on the next now broad second reach by opting not to gybe and sailing well to leeward of the rum line. Greg Cary managed to round 1st with Larry close in second, Ian 3rd and Steve 4th . With the wind now dropping and a new fresh breeze coming from the eastern shore again Steve Cockerill opted for the left side virtually on his own and took advantage of the 30 degree shift and more pressure to jump to first at the top mark and finish his second race win. Greg Carey hung onto his advantage over Ian Morgan finishing 2nd and Larry Lawrence held off Simon Barrington which was helped by Simon’s capsize on another over excited roll gybe that ended up in the drink.

Race 3 - With winds of perhaps 12 knots before the start Kerry Tucker said it was more like a force 6, many sailors were rediscovering what they understood to be ‘lots of kicker’ and found that the rig was really very manageable. Larry Lawrence later said – that when you pull hard on the control line – its really not as bad as I first thought. Despite moderating to 10 knots – it was still windy enough for the heavyweights to dominate at the first mark. James Hewitt and Gavin Sharp were scrapping it out and found their smiles as they approached the first mark close behind Greg Carey and took off on a fun plane to mark 2. There was certainly some place changing still available downwind as the wind continued to moderate; Kerry Tucker was reported to say that she arrived at mark one in last, then sail past half the fleet on the two first off wind legs. Steve Cockerill took full advantage of some more passing shipping waves and found himself in second place behind a very powered up Greg Carey. Ian Morgan sailed a tidy race to finish 3rd and Gavin Sharp 4th.

Many sailors came ashore with the feeling of a testing plane home in 12 knots of wind, big smiles on their faces. With an AGM, a Chinese meal, then England vs France in the Rugby World Cup on the flat screen TV which ended up with a famous win – what more can you ask from the first day of a Championship.

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