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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

2000 Class Coached Open Meeting at Snettisham Beach Sailing Club

by Mark Foley & Chris Jordan 26 Jun 21:47 BST 19-20 June 2021
Mark Foley and Laura Holmes Short during the 2000 Class open at Snettisham Beach © Adam Pryke Photography

A novel event for the 2000 Class, a coached open meeting. It accommodates the fact that many people acquire a 2000 as their first boat having recently learnt to sail, and it has always been the ambition of the Class Association to help improve the competence of their sailors and encourage them into class racing.

So what is a coached open? It's six races over two days with the rules adapted to permit outside assistance. The "assistance" was provided by Simon Horsfield and Kev O'Brien from two RIBS. And it needs to be noted that as an Army instructor and Air Force sailor respectively, their coaching was delivered in forthright "military" manner. It is a skill in itself to be able to instruct over the noise of the wind waves and an outboard engine and I don't know how they didn't lose their voices.

There were 13 boats entered, unfortunately Jonny Hepworth and Louise Duffy couldn't make it. The starting visitors comprised Darcy and Ben Bowen from Ipswich, a daughter and father team; seasoned 2000 sailors Chris and Gill Jordan now handily relocated to Norfolk; Mike and Will from Rutland; Dirk and Ben from Ely. Lee and Vera from Snettisham Beach SC had in the space of three weeks decided to get a 2000, bought a boat, joined the class association and entered their first event. This is a high level of enthusiasm.

As ever a lot of the value of a 2000 Open is the boat park; endless tips were exchanged and several boats had their set ups examined and adjusted by Kev, Katie and Simon, whom we seem to have christened "The Boat Whisperers".

Veteran 2000 sailor Chris Hall and RS700 regular Ian Nolan ran the races from Snettisham's brand new committee boat. The tidal conditions at Snettisham dictate that in order to get the races in the turn around between races is extremely quick. They achieved that - in order to get the final race in before the tide disappeared, the gap between the last boat finishing the penultimate race, and the warning signal for the final race was less than 5 seconds!

The weather on the Saturday was a northly 10 to 15 MPH producing the typical very short chop on the waves that surprises visitors - especially those used to inland lakes. Chris and Gill in Just Pottering (22696) and Mark Foley and Laura Holmes-Short in Surprise (22547) started next to each other in the "Committee boat third" of the line. Chris and Gill tacked off first to get out of the tide (also to head for the flatter less bumpy water), and rounded the windward mark in the lead. They held this to the finish, followed around by Mark and Laura. Prompted by the coach boats, different people tried different downwind techniques - higher and faster or lower and deeper - although the real trick was to pick the wave and make sure you were heading downhill for as long as possible. David Crossman and Lorraine NMcNeil in 2345 achieved one of their three 3rd places.

The second race top 3 results were the same... although the fleet behind were fighting very closely with both upwind and downwind coaching helping people along.

The 3rd race, with the tide turned and helping people over the line, was all different - a steeper chop, the new "Tebbutt Stick" being waved on the Committee boat for boats OCS, and Chris and Gill starting at the back thinking they were over when they weren't. William and Tara Dickson looked to be in their element with a big lead, and even bigger grins in their faces, but Chris and Gill were very grateful for the 5 laps of this race, enabling them to work up through the fleet to post another 1st, gaining water around the final mark.

Ashore, the coach's had a great video de-brief session showing people good bits and their "places for improvement" - this varied from a one stop alteration on the jib cars, to wondering why people were praying on their knees as they went into the gybes?

Sunday had slightly more wind, blowing from the north east around and off the land producing greater shifts to add to the confusion of the short chop.

Chris and Gill continued their performance - by thinking they were over the line when they weren't! They managed to pull back to 5th during the race, which allowed Mark and Laura to sail free and clear to take the lead. Mark commented "Every time the coach boat came near, I made a mess of things. But once they went elsewhere, I could apply the learnings and go fast!". Guy Tasker and Henry McNeil had their best race of the weekend, with William and Tara in 3rd.

Starting slightly more conservatively, and tacking on the shifts when required, allowed Chris and Gill to win the 5th race, with Adrian Tebbutt and Sue Falck-Lovsey in Tickled Pink 22535 in 2nd and Mark and Laura in 3rd.

The first two places overall was already decided with Chris and Gill winning the event, and Mark and Laura in 2nd - but both boats stayed out for the final race. This race saw a 3 lap battle for 2nd place on the water and 3rd place overall between William and Tara, who just pipped David and Laura. Guy and Henry, despite an OCS in the final race took 5th place, on countback from Paul Norris and Ellie Parle in 2231.

The videos from the event are now being compiled together for more Class Association members to see and learn from, and hopefully many of the boats will be putting their new learnings to good use in the next Millennium Series Open Meeting at Thorney Island (July 24,25th) and the National Championships at Royal Torbay Yacht Club (Aug 8-13th).

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