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Rooster 8.1 Nats at London Corithinan Sailing Club - Day 1

by Steve Cockerill 22 Nov 2010 09:41 GMT 20-21 November 2010

Visiting sailors driving across the Hammersmith Bridge in London would have been feeling slightly uneasy at racing in central London, but for those at London Corithinan Sailing Club it was quite normal. In fact, the river is an oasis in the heart of the city. First thing the river is full of rowers in lanes going up and down stream. Visiting Rooster 8.1 sailors added to the hustle and bustle with 19 boats taking to the water. Conditions were almost impossible as with the flooding tide from the East, and the wind from the East - the challenge was how to sail a boat to windward in 4 knots of current and 4 knots of wind.

But with its big rig, the Rooster 8.1 was able, just to make a race round the track, if you were brave to come away from the bank in the small gusts and jump back for tidal relief when the wind died. The 1st race was to be a leeward start. Having never heard of such a thing for a short downwind race to the first mark, I thought it quite ludicrous until at the briefing the logic was explained. Simply, if there was to be an upwind start then one person would take the lead and the rest would never get a chance, whereas, the leeward start got everyone away - and the race could stretch out for a fairer upwind. Well amazingly it worked; well done to the Race Officer who knew his onions where river sailing was concerned.

Race 1

With 30 seconds to the start the fleet were still trying to sail away from the line, with a few brave ones starting to turn towards it about 100m from it (whacky).

At the first mark, Neil Peters took the inside rounding and led the fleet away to the leeward mark with Andy Le Grice following closely in second place. But it was not long before the calm patches started to swallow up his bit for the lead, leaving Trevor Scovell to take the early lead on the beat. But drawing near to the top mast it was Sarah Cockerill who was the bravest to opt for staying in the current near the top mark, and stem the stream waiting for the next gust to ferry glide around it, while others were bearing off in the calm -only to find their sails invert with the apparent current induced header.

Andy Le Grice rounded a close second, took a gust and sailed under Sarah to take the early shortened finish line leaving Sarah second, battling with Gary Bullock 3rd. Steve Cockerill had been involved in a huge raft of boats at the gybe mark - and found himself last - but had come through the pack to finish 4th, with Nigel Edwards, a local Thames river sailor who has sailed down from Ranelagh Sailing Club earlier in the day finishing 5th.

Race 2

There was a certain amount of astonishment from the sailors that we had raced what seamed a fair but rather hard work race in the conditions and they seamed more content to try another race. This time the fleet were more eager on the start line, and once again Andy Le Grice had an excellent start and rounded the first two marks clear of Steve Cockerill. On the next beat Steve took the lead from Andy and rounded the top mark in the lead, for Andy to once again take the lead downwind to finish the second race with a bullet, leaving Steve in second from Trevor Scovell, Gary Bullock Simon Hills and Sarah Cockerill.

Race 3

With the flood tide starting to stand there was more opportunities to sail away from the bank. The running start remained and again the fleet got off without a hitch. Having led the first race, Neil found himself once again in the lead at the first leeward mark. Andy and Steve both passed him on the next beat, Steve finally passing Andy before the long off-wind leg. But that was not the end for Neil who came round the leeward mark in more pressure - and took them both. Steve opted to secure 2nd as Neil defended his lead, so it looked more like a team race than a boat race as they approached the finish line.

With eight races scheduled, the race committee decided that the conditions were getting too hard as the current started to ebb so racing was abandoned for the day and the hard working competitors returned ashore and were welcomed with free Fullers Bear, hot soup with bread, pork casserole with dauphinoise potatoes, broccoli and 'bread and butter pudding' to die for. London Corithian certainly know how to run a Championship!

Results after Day 1:

PosHelmR1R2R3Pts
1Andy Le Grice1135
2Steve Cockerill4228
3Gary Bullock34613
4Sarah Cockerill27716
5Trevor Scovell103417
6Val Nedyalkov68519
7Nigel Edwards58821
8Neil Peters1110122
9Simon Barrington761124
10Simon Hills851326
11Phil Robin9121031
12Clive Kitson1491235
13Chris FyansR8937
14Andre Gareth12111740
15Rubin Johnson13171646
16Kevin Srebaluck15151949
17Andy Oliver16141848
18John CronkR131548
19Johathan SmithR151449

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