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Hornet Final Fling at Rutland Sailing Club

by Mark Taylor 30 Oct 2018 12:38 GMT 20-21 October 2018
Alistair McLaughlin & Mark Taylor win the Hornet Final Fling at Rutland © Jo Powell

Ten Hornets made the trip to Rutland for the Final Fling on 20-21 October, coming from Scotland, Wales and England.

Most travelled on the Friday evening, although the Scots didn't arrive until 0330 after a seven hour drive. Meanwhile Jo Powell drove from Wales, this year changing a different wheel on her trailer to last year, although she is obviously learning as this time she actually had a spare wheel!

With such a fleet there was an expectation that we would have our own start, but despite pleas to the PRO, the fleet found itself sharing a start with the seventeen Ospreys... a strange decision and one which was to colour the whole weekend. There really isn't a big speed difference between the average Osprey and most of the Hornets, so getting clear air on the start was essential. The Ospreys were clearly faster on reaches and it became a regular feature of the weekend to be rolled on the reach. It is fair to say that neither fleet enjoyed the joint starts, not least given the feeling that each class was sailing to a very different set of racing rules.

Saturday had more wind than expected and all crews were trapezing upwind and for some or all of the reaches. Race 1 inevitably ended up with a general recall as both fleets realised the importance of being on the front rank of the fleet. The re-start under black flag proved significant as there was a fumble with the flags and the signals, quickly remedied, but not before some had started their watches. Three Hornets were to find themselves BFD with the race leader, Mike McNamara / Harry Chatterton in 2109, being one to find their race win nulled, handing the result to Alistair "Storky" McLaughlin / Mark Taylor in 2157, closely followed by Toby Dale / Richard Nurse in 2125.

Races 2 and 3 quickly followed in what was turning out to be lovely sailing conditions, although a wind that was quite shifty, particularly at the upper end of the beat.

Storky and Mark in 2157 got 2 more wins as they found loads of space and speed off the pin end of the line and managing to keep clear of most of the trailing Ospreys and Hornets. The best racing was actually for the next 3 places, with Mike & Harry in 2109, Strangler & Pippa in 2132 and Toby & Richard in 2125 having very close racing, often with 2 or more boats overlapped at the final leeward mark with just a short beat to the finish. Despite this pressure, 2109 triumphed, securing second in both races to keep the event live for Sunday.

Most of the class stayed at the club for a splendid meal and followed by quite a few drinks, with the now ritual drinking dry of the Rutland real ale happening well before last orders. Meanwhile Storky and Mark drove to Ipswich to save £10 post & packing on some sailing gear, but using £25 of diesel in the process. Napier and other competent Scottish mathematicians must be turning in their grave!

Sunday was colder than Sunday but with more breeze for the first race, dropping for the second. The maths was simple; with just two races scheduled, Mike & Harry needed to get on the top podium step for both races, whilst Storky & Mark needed just a third to add to their 3 firsts.

First race saw Toby & Richard fighting hard with Mike & Harry, with Strangler & Pippa biting at their heels. It was great racing for these boats, but mishaps and breakages were to decide the outcome.

Toby & Richard had a spinnaker issue that saw Richard on the foredeck, when they were taken out by an Osprey. No serious damage but a capsized boat and loads of knitting to sort, they didn't finish race 4 and went ashore, missing race 5. Strangler & Pippa had a swim allowing Mike & Harry to get away and secure their win.

Probably the stars of the day were Dave Edge & Martin Arnison in 2191, getting their reward for a 2 year programme of home building a radical Hornet variant, by coming home second. Meanwhile Storky & Mark scraped through to third, having had a spinnaker pole failure on the first reach which necessitated them tying the pole to the mast each hoist or gybe... not fast!

Race 5 quickly followed and again Mike & Harry came off the committee boat end of the line fast, tacking into clear wind and getting away. Storky & Mark were buried at the pin end, leaving Strangler & Pippa and Dave & Martin to follow Mike around the course - it was actually closer than that but I couldn't see from fourth place!

So, the event finished with Storky & Mark from Prestwick SC winning on countback from Mike & Harry from Grimsby & Cleethorpes, with home club Strangler & Pippa third. Five further places were decided on countbacks, reflecting how close the racing was points wise.

Overall Results:

1A McLaughlinM TaylorPrestwick SC1113‑46
2M McNamaraH ChattertonGrimsby & Cleethorpes(BFD)22116
3J WilliamsP RogersRutland SC3‑434212
4D EdgeM ArnisonNetley SC(BFD)562316
5T Barsley‑DaleR NurseBurton SC234(DNC)(DNC)20
6J PowellJ GamonPort Dinorwic SC4‑756520
7E StylesC WestbrookDowns SC(BFD)675RET29
8E MarchbanksD Barsley‑DalePort Dinorwic SC5987(DNC)29
9G HaylettT HaylettThorpe Bay YC689(RET)629
10M OwenL HartnessSouth Staffs SC7‑10108732

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