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Rooster RS300 Virtual Sprints

by Paul Watson 1 May 11:28 BST 25-26 April 2020
RS300s at the RS Games © www.Sportography.tv

In place of our yearly trip to Rutland this year's Sprints, like many other events at the moment, involved a whole lot less travelling.

But rather than focus on the differences, or the racing, I thought I would draw upon what was similar between sailing an RS300, the ultimate hiking single hander, round a course to tapping some keys to make a J70 virtual day boat do the same thing.

Pre-Start

Where we'd normally be unpacking our boats from trailer mode to the ultimate sailing weapon mode, consuming fried goods and drinking coffee, the pre-start of a VR J70 race was even more relaxed. Once the zoom meeting had been set up, so we could 'encourage' each other round the course, all that was really needed before the start was to decide whether to put your pint down to concentrate or keep hold of it for moral support. Inconsistences in the results table suggest most of the fleet opted for both options on different occasions.

The Start

Normally hotly contested on the water, there was really little difference during the VR game. Penalty whistles aren't normally a thing at an RS300 event, but the fleet seemed to revel in the idea of them as the gun approached, letting our inner keyboard warrior out to ensure you could slow the boats down around you.

The only slightly odd thing was the purple boat that normally sits comfortably at the pin end at an RS300 event was mixing it up. We are still not sure if this is a sign for the year ahead or whether the beer may have been having an effect.

The First Beat

There are few boats that are more comfortable or more rewarding to sail upwind than an RS300. The boat responds and gives back to every bit of effort that you put in.

The VR J70 on the other hand was a little slow to offer the feedback we are all use to. It was however pretty comfortable.

The Top Mark and Bear Away

Approaching a windward mark in 25 knots would normally cause a somewhat escalated heart rate for even the most hardened RS300 sailor. Choosing just how far back down the boat you need to be before committing has been the undoing of many great sailor. Fortunately, the majority of the fleet now has this manoeuvre sorted and often wait until later for their first bath.

The VR J70 caused no such heart rate fluctuations, it did however give the umpire boat another opportunity to get the whistle out. Murmurs of 'time and opportunity' were even heard over Zoom as people crash tacked in the zone and proceeded to wipe the virtual transom from other competitors.

Downwind

As those who sail unstayed single handers know, the fasted way to the bottom mark isn't always the shortest. This is very much the case in the RS300, playing the gusts and angles (within a few degrees of straight) will inevitably get you to the bottom mark quicker than someone sat there pointing at it. There's a reason why Rooster Sailing's Steve Cockrill is so fast downhill, and it isn't because he is sat there not doing anything. His upwind and downwind videos are worth a watch if you haven't seen them.

Back in the realms of a VR J70 it was again all about the angles, but this time slightly larger ones. They even have this turbo booster sail fitted to the front which involved a different key on the keyboard, more confusion and a couple more whistles. It soon became clear who had an idea about how the game worked, or who had 'unlocked' the most help to prevent the need to constant attention.

Overall

Coming off the water, shattered and ready for a cold pint, warm meal and a good catch up about the day's racing and all sorts of other things, the end of the day at an RS300 event is a social affair and really is a massive draw for many when coming along to the events. While VR racing doesn't quite cut it in terms of 'earning your calories' it was still a great excuse to catch up with mates, have a beer, cuppa or whatever else is in the cupboard and keep that fleet spirit alive.

Oh yeah, the racing... we did 10 races, 8 to count. It took roughly 2.5 hours over 2 evenings and in the end a chap called Paul Rigg from East Lothian YC won, beating 16 other competitors. Rumour has it he has been practicing in a club series...

Paul is the lucky winner of a shiny new Limited Edition Rooster National Tour 10 litre Dry Bag, generously provided by Rooster sailing who continue to support the fleet despite that fact we are mostly stuck at home.

The next on the water event will be hosted as soon as safely possible. Check out the RS300 website to keep up to date and follow the RS Class Association on facebook.

Overall Results:

PosKeyboard WarriorR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10Best 8
1Paul Rigg11841181474123
2Steve Salis7114752662231
3John Wilson54521825101032
4Peter Mackin4181111811113436
5Ian Clark9986253311337
6Matt Sargent88210431525537
7Pete Horn112114612988755
8Ben Green16761376597855
9Paul Watson31213331071213656
10Matt Pedlow65125187111061262
11Ed Wilkinson13613910131349367
12Rich LeMare101138914121314975
13Ben Heppenstall121416121141011111182
14Tim Keen1513715129814151593
15Mike Toynbee210177181616161616100
16Harry McVicar171891481514151214101
17Kirsty Wilson1431516181818181818114

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