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Rooster 8.1 National Championships at Weir Wood Sailing Club

by Stephen Cockerill 16 Dec 2013 15:37 GMT 14 December 2013

'He Waz Robbed'

Fifteen Rooster 8.1 sailors braved the waters of Weirwood Sailing Club, for probably a record breaking latest national championships of the season.

With light restrictions and one day to achieve the 5 races scheduled, the racing took place in one frantic session.

The sailors took to the water in preparation for the first start at 10:30 only to find the wind had played a trick on the Race Team but switching by 45% at 10:23! The wind was only perhaps 5 knots at best, but with large shifts hitting the water from above, making it tricky to handle just how much roll to put into the roll tack? With the wing mark now ideally suited for the first mark rather, there was a slight delay as the Race Team moved the course.

The fleet was made up of the usual suspects: From those who find the standard rig just a little underpowered to those who just fancy having some fun with a monster rig.

Race 1

The pin was favoured, but it was positioned close to the windward bank and the beat was longer on port tack than starboard. So starting at the pin might have put you under the trees with less wind. Alternatively staring closer to the committee boat would put you at a distance disadvantage but keep you in the breeze for longer. Perhaps the first gust on the race course might clinch which way was the right way to go.

With many eager sailors desperate to get the racing under way the first general recall took place. Neil Peters had blasted off the start line only to find his tiller extension joint broke. He sailed ashore to make repairs but made it back for the race - about 3 mins late.

Jon Emmitt and David Giiles both started at the pin. Steve Cockerill opted for a mid line start and took advantage of some stronger pressure to the right of the race track giving him a right shift taking him back to the left ahead of the pin end starters.

The first reach was always a balance between how low could you go to avoid the trees and get some stronger pressure and try to avoid being rolled by the boat behind you. Pete Young took to super low courses to take him from zero to hero early in the race, but he suffered badly out of one big left shift on the last large beat of the race. Luckily for Steve Cockerill he was positioned close enough to the middle of the race track to gain some out of the left shift and avoid being passed by Simon Barrington who had hooked into the left hand corner with a nice lane nice shift and lots of pressure. David Giles had been happily in second until this point in the race but had to take 4th bend David Binding. Jon Emmitt was also hard right and had to take a 6th at the finish behind Tim Keighley.

Race 2

The wind was forecast to come in throughout the day and go left. Once again the pin was favoured but the wind appeared more consistent. David Giles took the early lead with Neil Peters, now with tiller extension repaired, in close pursuit. The lighter teams of Steve Cockerill and Jon Emmitt were enjoying the extra sail area downwind, finding that they could easily plane on the slightest gust if they 'heated it up' a little. Steve was managing to keep Jon in check, but in trying to be conservative after passing David and Peter on one long run, had opted to gybe too early leaving Jon a clear lane to the mark to take the short beat to the finish for his first gun.

Race 3

Now the course was changed to make it resemble a slalom figure of 8 course and the wind was now perhaps 8 - 10 knots.

Steve had a disaster of a start and then found himself having to gybe out of the windward mark after the header took him from comfortably making to head to wind. This took him to almost last. Jon, however, was enjoying the faster reaches and was now tussling with David Giles and Neil Peters for first. Their lighter weight was quickly gaining a lead on the other larger teams who had not got enough wind to make their extra weight pay.

Jon took the gun, with Neil in second holding off a charge from Steve who was 3rd.

Race 4

With tensions mounting and the wind increasing, perhaps now 15 knots, the fleet took their transit and set off for the start. Jon and David looked like early starters with Steve perhaps a boat length behind. The race was won on the water by Simon Barrington with Jon and Steve battling out for second. After the race we learned that David, Jon and Steve were all over early which brought the event much closer. Jon having to count his 6th in race one would hurt. Steve had a consistent 1,2,3.

Race 5

The RO change the configuration back to a triangle sausage and the wind moderated a little. Now Simon had his chance to take the title after finishing 2nd at the Rooster Nationals on at least 5 occasions. After all, the rig was designed for sailors like Simon, but the new triangle course was now very broad, and despite his early lead Jon and Steve took him on the long run after catching him on the long reach legs.

Once again, Jon got the upper hand on the long run. On the next beat Steve sailed himself into a hole on the left, after evidently looking for a big lefty, he had to take consolation that Jon was going to win this race as well. Steve took second on the water from Simon - and now it was time for some fingers and thumbs counting to work out the final scores. It was all down to just how bad was Jon's first race? Whilst the scorer did his work, the sailors all had a free chicken curry late lunch (all part of the £15 entry).

In the end, consistency paid off. Or in other words, Jon was robbed!

Steve Cockerill of Rooster Sailing organised the prize giving, gave out the prizes and kissed the first lady (Sarah Cockerill).

The prizes went very deep from first youth in 15th place to the RO team and those who featured in their age category.

A big thanks to Weir Wood Sailing Club, their RO team and the cook for a great days racing and a good curry - and all for just £15! Perhaps the best day's racing ever in December?

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stS Cockerill5451231628
2ndJ Emmett3846111619
3rdS Barrington922851311
4thN Peters50014423817
5thT Keighley2355574418
6thD Binding4263965519
7thP Young4897782622
8thD Giles288434161627
9thS Richardson5431611107735
10thS Cockerill3068109101137
11thC Fyans4171112126938
12thJ Hamilton17910131191242
13thM Lambdin50213141381044
14thM Giles3959616161647
15thT Southnell416121514111350

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