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RS400s during the RS End of Season Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club

by Matt Sheahan 6 Nov 12:50 GMT 3-4 November 2018

Of the 105 boats that chose to disregard the weekend's weather forecast and head to the RS End of Season Regatta at Rutland Water, 20 were RS400s.

Uncharacteristically for November it was easy to turn a blind eye to the strength of the breeze on the long morning drive as the Autumn sunshine, blue skies and striking auburn leaves provided some spectacular scenery as a distraction.

There's nothing quite like sunshine to make the day feel more manageable and with shelter from the breeze at the bottom of the slope by the water's edge we were all feeling pretty relaxed at the prospect of a 'better than forecast' day before we headed out for the first and only race of the day.

But it didn't take long before the real conditions hit home. Within a minute or so of hoisting kites and heading out to the start area we found ourselves in a full-on foam-up as big gusts, well into the mid-twenties, swept across the lake as if the big man upstairs was opening and closing a giant heavenly door at the club end of the lake just for fun. And fun it certainly was, so long as you weren't in the middle of a gybe at the time.

In a change to the normal EOS format, Saturday was a pursuit race while Sunday was three back to back races for each class.

Chasing smaller boats around the outside of a reservoir in a drag race that involves a surplus of two sail reaching and fetching is frequently the norm with pursuit racing and as a result isn't always popular with everyone. But this course was different as the PRO set a slender shaped triangular course with a 2km beat, a similar length downwind slide and a taxing two sail reach across the bottom. The result was a race track which provided plenty of tactical opportunities, but with enough variety to satisfy most, if not all of the classes that were sailing. One to note for future pursuit races perhaps.

When it came to the racing, the breeze was typically in the high teens and low twenties. But with a few lulls down to around 12 knots and gusts peaking at 28 knots, it was a punchy, tiring day in which the mainsheet never got close to the jammer.

Nevertheless, if the changing room banter and tall stories at the bar were anything to go by the two hour race had been well received, particularly by the four RS800s that had smoked the fleet.

Of those in the RS400s who were entitled to spin good yarns were Michael Simms and Jack Holden [1488] who took a class bullet with ease. Behind them were Sam and John Knight [1202] in second and Adam Whitehouse and Chris Bowness [963] in third.

Continuing the meteorological misinformation theme, Sunday turned out to be a long way from what was advertised. Instead of breeze in the high teens and gusts in the low twenties, we were delivered peak gusts of 6-8 knots for the first of the three races. Tricky, shifty, puffy conditions with more snakes than ladders across the windward leeward course.

Once again Simms and Holden showed the fleet how fast you could make an RS400 go around the course by taking all three races, a dominant, unequivocal performance which handed them the overall title with a 1st as a discard.

Behind them the scrap for the podium was a closely fought affair with the Knight duo demonstrating that an evening at the bar was no hindrance to performance afloat as they scored two 4th and a 3rd to take second overall. Sean Cleary and Annalise Nixon demonstrated once again how comfortable they are in any kind of breeze to finish just two points behind in third.

With a wind range stretching from minimum to max, a long around the cans course and a series of windward leeward races, only tide and salt water could have provided more variety. For the last big shout of the season, this was surely spot on for which the Rutland race management team deserves a large share of the credit.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubPursuitR1R2R3Pts
1st1488Sims MichaelJack HoldenCarsington SC2‑1114
2nd1202Knight SamJohn KnightBartley SC4‑43411
3rd1377Cleary SeanAnnalise NixonOxford SC8‑52313
4th1414Whitehouse CarolineAshwell RichardBartley SC122‑5216
5th963Whitehouse AdamBownes ChrisWilsonian667‑819
6th1465Williamson BenCharlie TicehurstWelton SC1634‑723
7th1262Willars JonRichard BrameldWelton Sailing Club10‑99928
8th1450Eaves NickGreg PaceBartley SC14158‑1737
9th1345Hobson JohnRebecca OgdenNotts County SC28‑76539
10th1435Sheahan MattEllie SheahanQMSC188‑161642
11th1332Andrews TimHaw SusieBrancaster Staithe SC22‑14101042
12th1254Murray PhilipNeil SchofieldTynemouth SC2011‑141445
13th1196Snowdon PeterLouise CarrScaling Dam SC241011‑1545
14th1340Neal SamBill KnightsGrafham Water SC26‑13131150
15th1845Groome AnnabelWill EllisonBrancaster Staithe SC30(DNF)171360
16th1029Cunningham JohnNicky CokayneCarsington SCRET‑1212660
17th872Cokayne JamesEmily CokayneCarsington SCDNS(DNC)151269
18th676Marriott MikeBarnes MauriceThorpe Bay YCDNC16‑181876
19th747Godbold MattRichard TurnerBrancaster Staithe SCDNC17‑191978
20th904Summerfield MartinCoale EllieRSCRET(DNC)DNCDNC84

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