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Tactics To Win by Nick Craig
Tactics To Win by Nick Craig

RS400 Scottish Tour Final Round at Loch Earn Sailing Club

by Martin Booth 2 Oct 2016 07:49 BST 25 September 2016
John Mackenzie & Andy Box win the RS400 Scottish Travellers event at Loch Earn © Colin Tait

Loch Earn Sailing Club invited the Scottish 400s to their Final Fling event of the season on 24th September. Having accepted, we rudely suggested at the last minute that we would prefer to sail on the Sunday when the forecast looked better – normally we would have been rejected as a bunch of chancers but as things played out the race officer Colin Tait agreed and confirmed that was a wise move as the wind was much more cooperative than it had been on a wild Saturday with a nice breeze coming down the loch from the South west all day.

Five hardy boats made it on Sunday with apologies to those who were only able to attend Saturday and sadly missed out on a perfect day's racing.

The first race started in a nice breeze with John Mac and Andy Box having a close contest with Stewart and Sarah Robertson. At the bottom mark on the second lap however the wind reverted to 'proper Scottish loch random mode', shut off in patches, swing 180 in others, with some boats beating only a few boat lengths from others with the kite up cruising down wind. As a result the leaders were reeled in quickly and on the final leg Martin Booth and Keith Bedborough sailing Demelza found themselves at the front after the wind returned only to get over excited and let slip to John and Badger Box hiking like one. Martin then blundered into a tack to give Stewart and Sarah second place having sneaked up the shore where they had previously looked stranded. All 5 boats were within a few lengths at the finish with Angus Marshall and Imogen Barnett in Gnasher taking 4th and Phil Britton and first time 400 crew with 470 pedigree Andy Crocket closely behind.

In race 2 the wind steadied for a one-lap race with the Roberstons digging in to win from Mac and Box with Gnasher secure in 3rd after a downwind super-soaking.

Race 3 saw high winds and start line chaos with 2 boats over the line and a capsized yellow Gnasher. Martin and Keith in Demelza had a spinnaker hitch with a bust cleat and ditch with a swim on the first downwind leg, allowing Gnasher and The Black Pearl past. The Robertsons took the win in Hedgehog from Mac and Box followed by a solid third place for Britton and Crocket sailing The Black Pearl. Booth and Bedborough retired to shore for a quick sail change, their first kite having been shredded in their gasket inspection, and bodge-a-job repair on the kite cleat.

All was to play for in race 4 with 2 laps of high wind sailing with squalls howling down the Loch. Black Pearl went for an early dunk and Phil winning the special category event award, this time for a successful attempt at breaking his 400 newbie crew. Intense helm coaching for Martin from tactician KB with his onboard spirit level – constant main ratcheting compulsory while feathering up into the gusts for a flat boat while working 110% in the hiking and tacking duels. In the heat of battle Gnasher had to fend off a monster shifting gust broadside at the wrong moment while chasing Demelza hard downwind putting them into the drink and gifting 3rd spot on the podium to Martin and Keith (and along with it editorial rights on the event report).

The Robertsons and Mackenzkie & Box flew downwind and battled it out neck-and-neck up the last beat chasing glory, but it was victory to John Mackenzie and Andy Box.

A great day's sailing with very close racing and beautiful scenery enjoyed by all. A big thanks to all at Loch Earn Sailing Club who provided an amazing warm and friendly welcome. We'll be back!

With the rebooted Scottish RS400 circuit now into its 6th year the chasing pack have finally closed the gap with the formally unassailable Robadobers now going to three events without a victory. With a bumper calendar next season (including 2 favourite venues, Lake Como and Mount's Bay) the bar is already buzzing with road trip planning for an amazing summer of sailing, and the promise of even tighter and more competitive racing ahead.

Overall Results:

1. John Mackenzie / Andy Box – "Wonky Number" – 4pts
2. Stewart Roberston / Sarah Robertson – "Has Been?" – 4pts
3. Martin Booth / Keith Bedborough – "Demelza" – 10pts 4. Angus Marshall / Imogen Barnett – "Gnasher" - 10 points" 5. Phil Britton / Andrew Crockeet – "The Black Pearl" – 13 points

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