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RS800 Rooster National Tour Round 3 at the Hayling Island SC Whitsun Regatta

by John Mather 5 Jun 2019 06:24 BST 25-26 May 2019
RS800s at the Hayling Island SC Whitsun Regatta © Peter Hickson

21 boats were present for the third instalment of the Rooster RS800 National Tour the joint biggest entry to date.

HISC, a long-term hub for the fleet and its "spiritual home" provided a strong array of local talent many of whom had joined the class in the last 12 months, admitting that hiking just isn't in vogue any more. No less than 12 clubs were represented a testament to the far-reaching appeal of the class. The home sailors were feeling particularly smug on the way out and way back from the course, judging with perfection the exact moment to "cut the corner" of the sandbank at the mouth of the harbour, saving precious calories on the less familiar sailors making their way all the way up to the West Pole for safety.

However, whilst the race to and from the course was important (perhaps most notably so on the Sunday afternoon, where the victorious were able to avoid the queues to the famous Hayling "Regatta Tea") there was far more exciting action on the race course. The sailors were greeted on Saturday with sun, classic Hayling slop chop and a building 12 knot breeze. Having admired the International 14s speeding away, and concluding that the course looked fairly even it was the turn of the RS800s to take to the line behaving as always, so a clean start was had by all, with the fleet splitting early on in pursuit of a winning corner. Rumours of the typical Hayling sea breeze dragging to the right had been mooted, but it was actually boats from the left hand side who came up trumps Phil Walker and John Mather (HISC) sneaking round in first, with Luke and Emma McEwan (Royal Lymington SC) in a close second, Tom Morris and last minute "super sub / Hayling yoof prodigy" Elliot Wells behind in third. There was much jostling for the lead, with both boats occupying the top place at different points in the race Phil and John only too conscious of Luke and Emma's notorious downwind speed. So despite rounding the last windward mark with a bit of breathing space it was a photo finish at the end. This was particularly impressive from the current tour leaders, who were still on the pace despite carrying a fair amount of water on board from an earlier altercation with another boat.

Race two followed a similar pattern with the breeze up to 15 knots - although some of the lead boats managed to score a UFD the main protagonist being Rory Hunter, perhaps misunderstanding the power of his crew Chris Feibusch and ability to pull the mainsheet on with their new "off-the-boom" set-up, who set off like a rocket and dragged a few boats over with them. John and Phil's 2nd was replaced with a UFD and everyone moved up one. Way out in front though were Tom and Elliot who looked comfortable for the whole race the team beginning to gel already (although the rumor is there was much illegal practicing in advance of the event). Another pair starting to look seriously quick are Frances and Tom Partington who took 3rd although there was much jostling between 2nd-5th with Steve and Sarah Cockerill sailing an impressive first lap rounding the gate in 3rd before running into some issues with their spinnaker drop.

Day two dawned colder and windier, and with an earlier start those who had enjoyed the band the night before a little too much trudged reluctantly to the boat park. Rigs were strapped down and extra Hayling sausages consumed pre-emptively in anticipation of a "big bay day." However as things transpired, similar conditions to the previous day greeted the sailors and the PRO started the fleet off on a shorter two lap race. A similar fleet split emerged, with more boats favouring the right hand track including Tom and Elliot who were starting to get familiar with being up at the front, John and Phil rounded second, with Tom and Frances hot on their heels. I would like to suggest a modicum of local knowledge came into play, but interestingly all of the top three came from different sides of the beat. Frances and Tom were up to 2nd after Phil and John did their usual amateur lay line call for the gate. Cameron and Darrol Moss took 4th, their speed notable in the chop. The pack very tightly contested for the entire race perhaps added effort applied in the presence of the VRSport TV Rib, grimaces replaced by smiles and shoulders rolled back for the cameras.

Some collective groans on the announcement from the race officer of an additional lap for the last race a marathon of over one hour greeted the sailors. Luke and Emma capitalizing on this with their enviable speed building an unassailable lead from early on, followed by Tom and Frances with equal breathing space. The wind was also starting to shift quite frequently leading to much chopping and changing on each lap. Phil and John were able to squeeze past Tom and Elliot on the last run, with Cameron and Darrol topping off a consistent day in 5th. The sailors were treated to tea and cake on return to land and were provided a generous array of prizes form Rooster to send everyone home fully satisfied after an enjoyable weekend.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st1144Thomas MorrisElliott WellsHISC311‑45
2nd1220Luke McEwenEmma McEwenRoyal Lymington22‑815
3rd1207Phil WalkerJohn MatherHISC1(UFD)337
4th1234Frances PartingtonTom PartingtonHISC‑43227
5th1225Steve CockerillSarah CockerillStokes Bay SC645‑815
6th1232Cameron MossDarrol MossLyme Regis SC‑884517
7th1228Andy JeffriesAllyson JeffriesEastbourne Sovereign SC756‑1018
8th1157Chris CattChris MartinNetley SC1077‑1124
9th1204Martin OrtonIan BrooksChichester YC‑131210628
10th1224Fred LordLouise GaleCarsington‑14912728
11th1166Ralph SingletonOliver SingletonRYA126‑131230
12th1188Daniel GoodmanDebbie ClarkStokes Bay SC9‑1514932
13th1043Chris DoddBryony MeakinsRutland Water SC111011‑1332
14th885Rory HunterChris FeibuschHISC5(UFD)9DNC36
15th814Chris WittyTom O'NeillHISC‑2013161544
16th1198Alex BenfieldNick IrelandStokes Bay SC151119(DNC)45
17th968Gavin PageLuke WhyburdStokes Bay SC1616‑181446
18th1238Ciaran HurneyMel KwanOxford SC‑1917151749
19th1151Suzy RussellMatt HaslamGurnard SC‑1818171651
20th11Rob Gullan HISC1714(DNC)DNC53
21st913Adrian HoweFenella WilliamsOxford SC2119(DNC)DNC62

The next RS800 Rooster National Tour event is the RS Summer Regatta at Lymington Town SC this weekend. Information at

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