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Rooster RS100 open meeting at Paignton Sailing Club

by David Smart 9 Sep 2020 21:23 BST 5-6 September 2020
Rooster RS100 open meeting at Paignton © James Ripley

While we band of sailors wander round clubs on our open meeting circuits, it is the support of the clubs and sponsors that make our sport, but even more so when having to deal with the added challenge of a viral pandemic.

I am going to start with the thanks to...

  1. The wonderfully friendly team at Paignton SC for putting on the RS100's first regatta of the year, including a very helpful beach team to help launch and recovery.
  2. James Ripley, the Race Officer and his team for succeeding in getting away 10 great races in challenging shifty conditions.
  3. The ever-supportive Rooster for sponsoring the prizes.
  4. Bays Brewery for providing a barrel of Topsail, which provided a welcome free recovery drink of tasty amber ale at the end of sailing on Saturday.

The conditions over the two days was generally moderate for the five races on Saturday, although there were some larger gusts in the last couple of races on Saturday (26 knots recorded on the committee boat). With the sun out that made for real champagne sailing.

However we were penned in by the Musto skiffs on Brixham and powerboats in Torquay. So racing was closer to the cliffs than preferred, which led to some very big shifts to catch everybody out. The five races on Sunday was much lighter at just 5 to 7 knots, with holes to be avoided and some very heavy rain showers that meant finding marks was sometimes a challenge.

Onto the racing...10 races in 2 days is too many for me to write a blow by blow account of each race, so I shall summarise by identifying what we learned:

  1. Ian Gregory is unbelievably quick in the light stuff. He won every single race on light wind Sunday, and only had one blemish in the 3 lighter wind races on Saturday with a poor second! (So guess who won the event?)
  2. Gregory is not so quick when the wind picks up - providing some opportunity for others to take a win.
  3. There are some new faces in the fleet and they are starting to go fast. Jon Elmes (one from the fast growing Chew Valley Lake fleet) showed signs of speed and too the mid-fleet Rooster prize.
  4. Marek Caddy kept on battling. He won the Endeavour Rooster prize for hard work. If he moved to join the Chew Valley 100 fleet he will start flying.
  5. RS have created a very pink foredeck. Keith Willis showed it to good effect, leading races a number of times. His most visible manoeuvre was when approaching the final leeward gate on starboard in second place, but had Smart coming in hot claiming water on port, he took the difficult option of capsizing and drifting below the committee boat so he had to beat back up to the finish. All to show off his pink deck to the race officer.
  6. Andy Jones needs to learn that turning up for one day to a two day event doesn't lead to success. It also helps to sail to the correct leeward gate, not the gate on the neighbouring RS300 course. However his presence did help his fellow Chew sailor (Smart) overtake Harrison.
  7. Mark Harrison remains a threat from anywhere on the race course. He stuffed Smart with a penalty before the start of Race 1 and in Race 7 he was early at the pin end, luffed into Jones and promptly fell over on his backside generously apologising to Jones for completely messing up his start.
  8. David Smart (your correspondent) demonstrated a cavalier attitude to the rules. He tried to squeeze into the windward mark on port with no rights, so giving the unsuspecting Matt Johnson no choice but to ram him. I did my turn (Oops! Sorry again Matt) I also succeeded in capsizing onto the leeward mark in 7 knots of wind in Race 6.
  9. Matt Johnson is getting peskily faster, regularly appearing at the front, with particularly strong performances when the wind picked up.
  10. Local boy Jonathan Hughes-Jones from Dittisham battled on throughout the event and kept smiling, after all - that is what we all do this for - it's great fun.

Come the end of racing, we all knew that Gregory had won the Rooster RS100 Paignton Open. He is a master in the light and shifty conditions that a North Westerly provides in Torbay. Smart and Harrison had no idea who had beaten who - the maths was too difficult. Harrison had enjoyed a great day on Saturday holding the overnight lead with a 1,2,1,2 scoreline. Gregory was second overnight with Smart third.

Gregory ran away on Sunday, but a better day for Smart with 2,2,2,4 to count while Harrison had left all common sense behind having to count 3,3,4,4. That allowed Smart to beat Harrison by one point overall to claim second with Harrison third.

I hope to see more new 100 sailors attending the next event as there has been an active market during lockdown, but many will be back to Paignton for POSH in May 2021.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoSailingName:R1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10Pts
1st259FrenshamIan Gregory121‑4‑6111119
2nd277ChewDavid Smart3‑5312‑8222419
3rd379GurnardMark Harrison212‑5144‑73320
4th239Weir WoodMatt Johnson‑644232‑645529
5th312Lymington TownKeith Willis53‑6343556DNC34
6th206CVLSCJon Elmes46565‑9‑767645
7th172CVLSCAndrew JonesDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC6334248
8th331DittishamJonathan Hughes‑Jones777RETDNC59RET8DNC63
9th180Bristol CorinthianMarek Caddy888RET77889DNC63

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