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Rooster RS800 Summer Regatta at Lymington Town Sailing Club

by Hugh Shone 13 Jun 2019 10:43 BST 8-9 June 2019
RS800s at RS Summer Regatta © Sportography

You know it is too windy when even the 'Plan B' alternative to sailing is called off! In seeing the 40knot forecast a number of teams had their eyes on the inflatable aqua park outside the club but alas this was canned due to the fear that the inflatable slide might be launched into the air with sailors attached like some giant and communal aerial rodeo challenge. Sounds pretty fun actually.

Maybe on the basis that even the waterpark had decided that their insurance policy wasn't worth testing, the Lymington race team expectedly cancelled Saturday's racing. This left everyone free to go and embark on Plan C. I heard various reports of family outings to The Isle of Wight and walks up to Hurst Castle. All very wholesome and there are definitely worse venues to be left to explore!

Anyone lulled into a false sense of security by the sheltered sailing club balcony was quickly blown away (quite literally) by the wind in the channel. It really was ferocious and the few yachts out racing looked like they'd remember that sail for a while as they squeaked past Hurst Point.

Plan C.2 involved attending the Summer party and seeing off Heather Chipperfield in style (THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT HEATHER!!!).

We had a drummer playing over requested songs (via an app); this led to a very lively evening in which Dan repeatedly tried to get Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name Of played. Unfortunately for Dan but fortunately for the well-being of the clubhouse this song request was repeatedly ignored.

Given the Saturday blow-out, four races were scheduled for Sunday. The light 5-8 knot breeze was going to test the fleet with a strong tide running down the course. There was also the added weed slalom required to ensure the boats remained smooth and fast.

Race one set the precedent for the day with most boats looking to hit right to stay out of the tide. Only Hugh Shone and Hannah Tattersall took a few shifts and perhaps a little more wind out left after a poor start. The top mark saw the right come through on top with Luke and Emma McEwen leading the charge into the top mark. Behind there was a tussle between Rob and Callum Gullan, Ralph and Sophie Singleton, and Hugh and Hannah. This battle for second, third and fourth went all the way to the final mark when Hugh and Hannah aborted said tussle by dropping the kite and rounding up for a third lap. The McEwens had wrapped up the race with ease with Ralph and Sophie second, and Rob and Callum third.

Race two saw more close racing and some interesting start choices. Chris Catt and Chris Martin and Ralph and Sophie (of course) both opted for port flyers and looked strong. Meanwhile Hugh and Hannah opted to go above the committee boat at 20 seconds and let the tide push them back onto the line. This worked very well and allowed them to put in the early tack to the favoured right-hand side. At the top Hugh and Hannah led with Chris and Chris and the McEwens chasing in second and third. Hugh and Hannah let the incredibly fast McEwens through on the second beat by taking an early tack on the lay line but hung on to second from Chris and Chris. The top three remained in this order until the finish.

Race three was a much closer affair with a tight bunch of six staying together until the finish. The McEwens, noting their speed and superior gear changing abilities, decided to give everyone a head start. With Luke ducking under the finishing buoy off the line, Emma give a little hip flick to avoid being poleaxed - unfortunately she came unclipped in the process and soon found herself in the drink. Things could have been much worse but Emma managed to keep hold of the jib sheet and clawed herself back in - in scenes not too dissimilar from the Terminator 2 car chase scene. As the race progressed, the top three were looking like Ralph and Sophie, Pete Barton and Abby Keightly-Hanson, and Rob and Callum with Hugh and Hannah, and Chris and Chris pushing. Behind this bunch the McEwens demonstrated an adept change in gears on the second downwind to put themselves back amongst the frontrunners. On the final beat Ralph and Sophie managed the fleet well to round ahead, a lead that they maintained down to the finish. By the line the McEwens had stormed past Pete and Abby to complete the top three.

Going into the final race there were a number of outcomes on the cards. A win for either the McEwens or the Singletons would give them the title. The composition of the top three was also going to be a hard fought battle with Rob and Callum, Hugh and Hannah, and Chris and Chris all jostling for position. To make things more exciting the wind had increased slightly to around 12 knots which finally allowed teams to stretch their legs. Thighs all over the race course let out an audible sigh of relief. The race team reflected this increase by notching the laps up to four. This was going to be a fun one!

Up into the top mark it was the McEwens who took the initiative with Rob and Callum chasing hard behind. Hugh and Hannah came out in third hot on the heels of the top two while Ralph and Sophie found themselves relatively buried. Throughout the race the McEwens extended whilst Hugh and Hannah sneaked past Rob and Callum on the second beat. Ralph and Sophie realised that they were in no position to better fourth and headed in early. On further questioning Ralph also admitted that the 12 knots getting a little too fruity for these light wind supremos!

The win for the McEwens gave them the event in style. Throughout Sunday's racing they demonstrated superior boat speed and an ability to flick through the gears when they found themselves in trickier situations. The Singletons had done enough in the first three races to take second from Hugh and Hannah by one point. Rob and Callum sailed excellently in only their third event to take fourth with Chris and Chris having a solid day to see out the top five.

Whilst the forecast clearly dissuaded a few from taking the trip down, it was fantastic to see so many new faces and the continued improvement of those that have more recently moved into the class. The Boschs took home the endeavour prize after joining for their first open and will be back! Many thanks must also go to Lymington Town SC who put on a great show. The highlight for many being the doughnut and tea offering on signing back in - an inspired diplomatic nod to the recent strengthening of US and UK relations following Trump's visit? Politics aside, what a treat to come back to and with an excess of uneaten Saturday doughnuts to work our way through lots of opportunity for bulking ahead of Garda (Get your entry in now it is going to be awesome!)

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st1220Luke McEwenEmma McEwenRoyal Lymington YC11‑213
2nd1166Ralph SingletonSophie SingletonRYA241(DNC)7
3rd1231Hugh ShoneHannah TattersallCCSC/SSC42‑628
4th11Robert GullanCallumHISC3‑114310
5th1157Chris CattChris MartinNetley SC‑635412
6th1219Peter BartonAbby Keightley‑HansonLymington Town SC‑12103619
7th1224Fred LordLouise GaleCarsington SC55‑9919
8th1188Daniel GoodmanDebbie ClarkStokes Bay SC‑868519
9th1218George Richards Lymington Town SC77‑101024
10th834Chris MatthewsAli HindsBrightlingsea SC‑997824
11th1232Cameron MossDarrol MossLyme Regis SC108‑11725
12th1238Ciaran HurneyMel KwanOxford SC11‑12121134
13th913Adrian HoweFenella WilliamsOxford SC1313(DNC)1238
14th1000Julian BoschJeromy BoschGrafham SC14(DNF)DNCDNC52
15th1228Andrew JeffriesAllyson JeffriesEastbourne Sovereign SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC57
15th1140John McKelvieDavid JessopStrangford Lough SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC57
15th1126George SmithAlice CrickBough Beech SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC57
15th1045Richard SmithEllie SmithWilsonian SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC57

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