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Rooster 4000 Open at Carsington Sailing Club

by Richard de Fleury 3 Oct 2015 10:57 BST 26-27 September 2015

The Rooster 4000 Class's much anticipated trip down memory lane to Carsington Water was somewhat subdued due to a fabulous forecast in all but the wind. With XC giving a forecast of 3mph gusting 1mph! Unsure as to what that was going to be like on the lake, it was quickly apparent that the forecast had clearly made many people's minds up not to travel to the most northerly event of the year. Nevertheless, 4 boats turned out to have a little fun in the sun with the also reduced 2000 fleet.

As was expected, the Race Officer announced his intention to fly the AP instead of risking damage to the perfect Carsington Mirror. After a quick check on the mirror an hour later, a second hour delay was added. More coffee and tea was drunk whilst boat fettling and sunning ourselves in the glorious September sun, reminding ourselves that it was indeed September and not August!

As the end of the second delay drew near there were disturbance in the mirror and flags began to move. Murmurings began to be heard around the shore and soon the AP was down and the shore became a flurry of activity as boats launched on a light and shifty breeze.

After a short time the RO managed to get a race away in the fickle wind. However, this was short lived as he was forced to abandon it at the end of the second lap due to a major wind shift annihilating the windward leeward course into a fetch and tight reach.

Race one round 2 - With the course reset, some 40 degrees to the right, the 2000 started their sequence only to get to 30 seconds to go and a major wind shift to the left forced the RO to abandon and reset once again.

Race one round 3 - Now with the course 90 degrees to the left the RO got the race away although the shifting wind continued to play havoc as we crossed the start and were instantly hit with a large shift splintering the fleet in all directions up the first beat. Despite this the racing was close with no one finding any consistency in the wind and positions changing regularly.

After completing one race with what little and uncooperative wind there was dying the RO decided enough was enough and called it quits until day 2.

Day 2 – having left our accommodation in thick fog we held out little hope of much racing for the day despite a forecast being a little more favourable. We were therefore pleasantly surprised to find the sun starting to burn through at the club and a light breeze starting to fill in.

Despite the ROs best intentions to start early and make up for day one, the wind did not materialise for a little longer, forcing a short delay. However, once the wind filled in we got on the water for more light wind sailing.

Race 2 got under way with tight racing between the boats, however, it was all about spotting the shifts and patched of wind meaning there were large gains and losses to be made. Tim and Alex Litt departed on a couple of good shifts to take lead and never really looked back although John Reynolds and Fran Howell kept nipping at their heels.

Richard and Jo de Fleury and Neil and Charlotte Heffernan had a great battle for 3rd all-round the course which was only decided on the penultimate gybe before the finish in Richard and Jo's favour.

Before the next race could begin the RO had to reset the course and while he was doing this a few of the boats decided to have a little match play. The fun had a short pause when Tim and Alex capsized but resumed soon after to include a mini match race.

Race 3 began in a chaotic manner with a wind shift bunching everyone to the pin end, all wanting to start on port. However, Neil and Charlotte were having none of it and started on Starboard, leading to a penalty for Richard and Jo. From this point the wind only got worse and left the race more of a fetch and reach. Richard and Jo did do some recovery though, thanks in part to tacking with the kite up round the supposed leeward mark but it was not enough to catch the leaders! Snakes and ladders does not do justice to how big some of the holes in the wind were, meaning it became more pot luck than racing.

Race 4 - the wind finally settled in one direction and allowed the best race of the event to take place to round things out. Fran and John ran out early leaders but were caught briefly only to regain the lead on a better shift up the beat. Richard and Jo and Neil and Charlotte again had a close battle this time decided by a catastrophic wind shift on the right for Neil on the last lap.

Thanks to Carsington Sailing Club for the weekend. It is never easy when the wind does not want to play, alothough I'm sure the fleet would love to come back again try again. Also thanks to John Steer and Phil Spray for taking the photos and making them available.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewR1R2R3R4Pts
14682MANJohn ReynoldsFran Howell1‑2113
24572STROMARichard de FleuryJo de Fleury2‑3327
34343Neil HeffernanCharlotte Heffernan‑44239
44546Top BananaTim LittAlex Litt31(RTD)DNC9

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