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4000 National Championship at Royal Torbay Yacht Club

by Neil Heffernan 27 Aug 2016 21:09 BST 20-24 August 2016

You know it's probably going to be too windy to go racing when it takes five people to step the mast, and unsurprisingly racing on the first day of the 4000 Nationals at Royal Torbay Yacht Club was cancelled due to the weather. However, from there things only got better, with Torquay delivering conditions to rival Garda - from where the fleet have just returned.

Day 2, the first day of racing, saw Steve and Sarah Cockerill establish a dominant lead, holding off French crew Michael Duflos and Anthony Scournec, and Neil Heffernan and Jo Morrison, clearly enjoying the breezy conditions. Despite the breeze (15-20knots and gusting more) racing remained very tight throughout the day – with places being swapped right up until the finish line, and in some instances even on the line.

Day 3 saw Steve and Sarah keep first, Michael and Anthony second, whilst John Reynolds and Fran Howell pushed Neil and Jo back into fourth. Special mention for the second race of Day 2 which saw Richard and Jo de Fleury pull off a port end start, cross the fleet and adopt a commanding lead for the first lap, which they held until Steve and Sarah managed to overhaul them. Day 2 also saw things come together for Alex Cramp and Charlotte Heffernan, racing together for the first time, and holding third in the last race of the day right up until the last gybe that saw John and Fran take the inside.

Day 4 brought glorious sunshine but much lighter conditions. Racing was nevertheless focussed, and whilst Steve and Sarah, and Michael and Anthony, could be confident of keeping first and second respectively, there was some pressured racing immediately behind. John and Fran had a strong day to keep Neil and Jo in fourth, in turn managing to stave off Neil and Sarah Davies pushing hard from fifth overall.

Special mention to Kevin Reed and Mark Stitson competing in their first Nationals, and getting faster and faster through the event, and also to Russell Mead with Mike Gray and then Ade guesting from the Cherub fleet – finishing the event with a hard-won 4th in the last race.

So what did we learn from the event? Undoubtedly the 4000 remains a boat that rewards skill not spend – with the weight equalisation ensuring a level playing field no matter the wind conditions, the new Rooster sails delivering the same performance as the originals, and with even the earliest boats showing no speed disadvantage against newer. It is also a very robust skiff – in 12 races, sometimes in very challenging wind and wave conditions, there were no retirements across the fleet due to gear failure. Most importantly though the 4000 is accessible, huge fun to sail and the class association remains as friendly as ever!

Thank you to RTYC for a great event, congratulations to Steve and Sarah for retaining their title, and we look forward to the next open at Grafham 10th 11th September. Newcomers are always welcome!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11Pts
14562Stephen COCKERILLSarah COCKERILL111111111119
24862Michael DUFLOSAnthony SCOUARNEC2222442267323
34682John REYNOLDSFran HOWELL4345533323227
44343Neil HEFFERNANJo MORRISON3434354545535
54400Neil DAVIESSarah DAVIES75103265772643
64572Richard de FLEURYJo de FLEURY5656627634743
74600Alex CRAMPCharlotte HEFFERNAN6767776458855
84137Kevin REEDMark STITSON10878888899973
94052Russell MEADMichael GRAY101010101010101086478

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