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RS400 Northern Championship at South Shields Sailing Club

by David Exley 15 May 14:51 BST 11-12 May 2019
Dave Exley and Mark Lunn enjoying the surfing conditions in the RS400 Northern Championship at South Shields © Tim Olin /

RS400 Northern Championships sponsored by Rooster; part of the Rope4Boats Northern Tour and Stewart Brewing Scottish Tour

Another great turnout of 26 competitive teams arrived at South Shields Sailing Club ready to do battle. A light forecast and limp club house flags, but bright sunshine and a warm welcome greeted the competitors and there was some debate in the dinghy park about whether the wind would fill in at all.

True to form the South Shields Wind Gods waved their magic wands and boats were launched into a perfectly timed punchy F3 North Easterly.

After two general recalls, race one eventually got under way under the black flag. Mike Simms and Jack Holden (Carsington SC / Itchenor YC) led off the committee boat end and carefully picked their way up the first beat to lead at the windward mark. The majority of the fleet stayed right down the run, with one or two notable exceptions gaining by splitting from the fleet on the left. Mike and Jack extended their lead and took the win from Sam and John Knight (Bartley SC) and Barrie Thornton and Nick Hunt (Scaling Dam SC) in third.

The windward mark was re-laid for the start of the 2nd race and the line adjusted to take account of the wind gradually clocking right during the course of the first race. This time the lead group came in from those who hit the left hand side of the course as the wind oscillated in their favour. Dave Exley and Mark Lunn (Leigh and Lowton SC) capitalised on their first beat fortunes and held their lead to the finish, followed home by Mike and Jack and Sean Cleary and Izzy Robertson (Oxford SC / South Shields SC).

The clouds cleared and the wind eased slightly for the last race of the day, the windward mark was once again tweaked further to the right by the ever diligent PRO David Rowlands. These light and wavy conditions were to the liking of Jon Gay and Amanda Henderson (Lochaber SC) who powered off the middle of the line to lead at the windward mark. Sean and Izzy who were also showing great boat speed in the difficult conditions and eventually took the win from Mike and Jack in second with Jon and Amanda well deserved third. Three races and three different winners so far.

A delicious evening curry feast was provided for all the competitors in the comfortable lounge, all washed down by the local cask ale. In true RS400 tradition, the evening was embellished by a party game this time Jacob Ainsworth and Kayleigh Grace had conjured up a paper aeroplane throwing competition for everyone from the top floor for the club house to see who get their plane to fly furthest across the dinghy park, whilst missing the various masts of course! This game was followed by the generosity of the Scottish contingent kindly donating their "Hoop of Shame" trophy so that it could be put to use as a balloon inflating device, enjoyed by all except the out-of-breath blowers! Facebook videos here:

Sunday brought forth glassy, blue sky, high pressure conditions which were boosting tea, coffee and bacon butty sales in the galley. However, no sooner had the AP been raised by the race officer, but amazingly a steady Easterly kicked in. Suddenly all the "no sail" predictors, that had delayed getting changed, were seen hurrying to the changing room in preparation for another day's racing.

The fourth race got under way first time in a good F3. Mike and Jack came straight out of the traps to stamp their authority on the event with a win, closely followed by the Ninja Warriors of Lochaber grinding out another great result, with Dave and Mark in third.

By the start of the fifth Race the wind was gusting F4 and the tide had come to play, giving those who chose left up the beat a hard time. The starboard lay line was also becoming a battle ground as crews fought hard to make the mark against the tide, with many last minute tacks having to be made in an effort to not be caught out. Mike and Jack managed to get ahead of the chaos and lead for the entire race with Wayne Fletcher and Martin Cooper (Scaling Dam SC) tucked in just behind them. Dave and Mark managed to overhaul Wayne and Martin on the planing last downwind leg to take second.

Come the final race, Mike and Jack had wrapped up the event with a race to spare, but the champagne conditions tempted them to stay and fight for the last race. With the wind now a solid F4 gusting F5 and big waves, there was some great downwind surfing action to be had. This time Dave and Mark took the initiative and immediately tacked off from the committee boat end to find themselves in control of the race from the right hand side of the beat closely followed by the ever consistent Mike and Jack. These two boats managed to extend their lead in the strengthening wind and finished in that position with Ian Martin and Liam Alcock from South Shields showing great speed to take third place.

A sleigh ride, dream blast back to the club topped off a brilliant event. In his thank you speech, Mike thanked the whole team at South Shields for putting on a great event and we are all very much looking forward to being back next year for the RS400 National Championships.

The £20 RopeforBoats voucher was won by Jacob Ainsworth and the £10 Rope4Boats voucher was won by Nicholas Woodhouse.

The Rooster Mid-Fleet Warrior prize was won by Peter Taylor and Rory Williamson from Dalgety Bay SC and the Rooster Endeavour prize was won by Nick Woodhouse and Miles Lilley from South Shields SC.

Onto the real results, and the overall Duckhams award must go to Peter for his zero-to-hero effort between race 1 and 2. Hero being second to the windward mark in race 2, zero for missing the finishing gate in race 1.

Tim Olin took some great photos:

Many thanks to South Shields Sailing Club for another well run event, but they have been awarded the small pintles of shame for thinking that 80 pints of beer would be sufficient to keep Dave and Fraser happy.

The next event on the RS400 Rope4Boats Northern Tour is the Great British Sailing Challenge at Bala Sailing Club on 22/23 June. Look forward to seeing another great turnout.

The next stop on the Stewart Brewing Scottish Tour is the Scottish Nationals at North Berwick, which will no doubt attract the same caliber of tight racing evident this weekend.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
11488Mike SimsJack HoldenCarsington/Itchenor1‑221127
21460Dave ExleyMark LunnLeigh & Lowton SC‑51432111
31377Sean ClearyIzzy RobertsonOxford sc / South Shields SC‑73145417
41437Barrie ThorntonNick HuntScaling Dam35‑664624
5874Jon GayAmanda HendersonLochaber610329‑1530
61202Sam KnightJohn KnightBartley sc24109‑15530
71484Mark SomervilleJoe RobertsBassenthwaite SC‑1711756938
81465Ben WilliamsonCharlie TicehurstWelton SC8‑12888840
91407Hamish GledhillAndy DawsonWest Riding SC4657(OCS)RET44
108Wayne FletcherMertin CooperScaling Dam1113‑171231049
11847Ian Martin South Shields91413‑1711350
121447Jon WillarsRichard BrameldWelton SC138‑161013751
131290Peter TaylorRuary WilliamsonDalgety Bay‑207121671254
14603Alex LeonardBen MurrellBass SC & YDSC15‑16915121162
151254Phil MurrayNeil SchofieldTynemouth1291414‑161362
16669Jacob AinsworthAndrew GrieveSouth Shields10‑191911101666
171124Robert YeamansNadia YeamansAberdeen & Stonehaven YC‑16151113141467
181395Peter SnowdonLouise CarrShoreham SC1418‑2019181887
191123Carl WhiteheadCarol MilnerFiley S.C18‑22151817RET90
20725Jason RibyDavid CookeSouth Shields‑222022221917100
21630Peter CraggsPhil NelsonYork RI SC211718(DNC)DNSDNS102
221129David WebleyFraser MulfordWormit Boating Club19‑2121212021102
23505Richard WharramTodd BrameldWelton‑232323202119106
241118Nicholas WoodhoussMiles LilleySouth shields‑242424232220113
25521NIck HarrisonChris AlbertS. Shields(RET)25252423RET119
261445Phil BrittonMike AtkinsonDalgety Bay SCDNSDNSDNS(DNC)DNSDNS123

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