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RS300 Rooster National Tour at the Weymouth Dinghy Regatta

by Richard le Mare 9 Jul 15:28 BST 3-4 July 2021

  • Tigger- Richard le Mare
  • Christopher Robin - OD Bill Barker
  • Piglet - Sam Barker
  • Eeyore - Mark Newton
  • Owl - Ben Heppenstall
  • Roo - Cheryl Wood
  • Pooh Bear - Graham Cooper
  • Rabbit and family - sailors from other fleets

"What a great fun few days" said Tigger as all parties gently drifted away from a delightful sailing weekend at Weymouth Regatta. Pooh's description of the boat summed up the weekend well... "this isn't just an ordinary sort of boat. Sometimes it's a boat, and sometimes it's more of an accident. It depends." "Depends on what?" said Christopher Robin. To which Pooh replied, "on whether I'm on top of it or underneath it."

The weekend started with champagne sailing with Tigger (Richard le Mare) bouncing on the shore ready for release flag to go up as the forecast was 15 to 20 knots and "out in the Bay" said OD Christopher Robin "Is perfect weather for Tigger".

Piglet (Sam Barker) was trying out his new boat on the circuit for the first time. Son of OD Bill Barker (aka Christopher Robin) he hadn't long had his boat and was very excited at the idea of being competitive. Eeyore (Mark Newton) and Owl (Ben Heppenstall) were looking forward to sailing in waves again after a bit of a break and Roo (Cheryl Wood) was squeaking excitedly. Pooh Bear (Graham Cooper) contemplated the scene gravely.

As usual Tigger was last to launch, through too much bouncing and then proceeded to bounce off every wave on the way to the start. As the expotition made its way out of the harbour all the members bounced at times, but all arrived safely in the wide bay.

Race one and many more boats around, some of them rather less accidental... Pooh might describe some as planks, some as bowls, but nothing matched his. Tigger had been practising how to be "Over The Start Line" this week with Olympians pushing him along, and it was a subdued and cautious Tigger that stayed behind the start (the scary Uniform flag might have frightened him a little). All started cleanly and there were many close crosses with Owl going very quickly using his "Vast Knowledge" and Piglet pushing Tigger along hard. The first run saw more accidents with both Pooh and Owl going swimming. On the next beat Piglet smelled haycorns and was going quickly through the very confused waves with Tigger bouncing close behind all the way to the finish... Tigger tried to head up (just like a sprinter dipping for the line) but made a move "Just Too Soon" leaving a very happy Piglet, and Tigger giggling for trying such crafty antics. Eeyore followed next having made good ground on the run, showing great downwind speed. Poor Owl found the boat on top rather too many times and Roo pipped him to the line, with Pooh making sure everyone was home safely.

Race two, in which the day became more blustery and the Expotition Pole gets moved

Race two began with these funny plank shaped boats and all their friends and relations seeming to get in the way a bit, "Very Keen" off the line and seemingly getting in everyone's way. The wind had built a little and Tigger was far more bouncy now, determined to stretch out upwind, scaring those behind and shocking a few Ospreys to boot. Owl had wisely learned from his previous accidents, preferring to keep his feathers dry, and was going well down the first run watching closely as Piglet and Tigger fought it out. The sprightly Piglet passed Tigger yet again downwind as Owl got closer: being wise and feathered with "Huge Eyes" giving him great wind vision. Tigger bounced past Piglet at the top mark but this time with some real authority as the wind had increased by one notch on the honeyometer. There was no way Piglet was going to swoop passed downwind this time! Owl, Roo and Pooh were having a great time dodging funny boats and their friends and relations, and Roo with her injured ankle managed to pass poor Pooh while "Playing Safe" on the run (a good skill for adventure six to come). Tigger pinged through the finish line with a good breathing distance behind to be met by no comforting hoot!? He carried on bouncing just in case of a third lap and a marathon race, keeping a watchful eye and ear on Piglet, no hoot... eeks lap three, time to dig deep in his stripes for an extra bounce. Tigger charged off upwind again, Owl, Eeyore, Roo and Pooh in that order all had a shorter race and a rest while Tigger and Piglet fought on final run. The final mark took on a life of its own in a rescue boat when Christopher Robin accidentally moved it to a different spot. Finally reaching the mark and gybing round the bottom reach was definitely "What Tiggers Like", jumping off every wave all the way home to thankfully a hoot on the line while Piglet conserved his energy. Piglet had a question for Christopher Robin... "How about a one lap wonder for the last race after that?" to which, not being quite sure himself what had happened, the reply came "No Piglet. You'd better tell the others to get ready, while I see if my hooter's alright."

Race thee, in which Pooh goes home for a little something

The final race of the day and everyone was keen to get home after being washed around the bay, several accidents occurred among Rabbit's friends and relations as well as in the 300 Acre Fleet. Tigger was determined to bounce and jump his friends to the finish, however weary they were after race two and did so convincingly with Piglet having a good race with Eeyore and Owl. As for Roo and Pooh each time Roo passed Pooh Bear squeaks of joy could be heard across the racecourse, but sadly for Pooh the waves took their toll and the need for a "Little Something" sent him back to investigate his cupboard for a remembered jar of honey. Eeyore had definitely remembered how to go quickly in breeze as now he was pushing Piglet along and Tigger had to "Bounce High and Often" to stay in front after the second run and focussed every little bit of energy left on the bottom reach to make sure he finished first. Final positions on the water were Tigger with a 2,1,1 Piglet with a 1,2,2, Eeyore 3,4,3, Owl 5,3,4, Roo 4,5,5 and Winnie the Pooh 6,6, needs more honey.

Then they all went home again to Tigger's house. And I think, though I am not sure, that Roo had a hot shower, and they all thought about going straight to bed. But Pooh, feeling very proud of what he had done, encouraged everyone to have a little honey coloured something to revive themselves... Along with pizza and football, something new to the inhabitants of the 300 Acre Wood.

Day two, in which the day becomes not so much blustery as downright windy, and in which everyone is surrounded by water It blew and it blew and it blew. Tigger told himself that never before in his life, and he was goodness knows how old - forty, was it, or fifty - never had he sailed in so much wind. Knots and knots and knots.

The sailors went skimming over the water to talk to Christopher Robin. "I say, everyone," said Christopher Robin, "isn't this fun? I'm on a committee boat with no sails and a nice cabin."

"The atmospheric conditions have been very unfavourable lately," said the sailors.

"The what?"

"It's windy," explained the sailors...

"Oh!" said Christopher Robin. "Let's hope we get all the races off in the harbour before the storm arrives."

All six 300 Acre Sailors headed out: a little weary, some more hung over than others from too much honey, into the very shifty Southerly flipping around the Expotition Rock. Tigger had expected the best bouncing would come from the right so had 100% decided to go right upwind. Rabbit and his friends and relations went that way too so Tigger was quietly confident in his tactical genius. Piglet kept close to his friend Christopher Robin and had an amazing start nearest to the committee boat and Tigger unexpectedly bounced and jumped to the left despite his intentions to go right. The wind shadow caused by the Expotition Rock meant this was not what Tiggers really like, even though he was secretly quite glad of a small rest after the bouncing and hiking the day before. Tiggers quite like honey but it sometimes makes them feel poorly the next day. Clever Owl and serious Eeyore went right and Eeyore sat very pretty with his re-found upwind speed and Owl demonstrated that "Bouncing is Fun" but so is "Using your Brain" on occasion. Roo was going well today too, I think the cloudy honey was better for sailing than the Gold. The final positions, after much gust chasing and avoiding Rabbit - some of whose friends and relations appeared to be flying and having spectacular crashes - was as follows: Piglet convincingly first, followed by a very quick Eeyore, and Owl, then a weary Tigger, Roo and Pooh.

Race 5 five very similar to race four although Tigger bounced to the right this time - then fell into a gust. Checking the wind counter on the Expotition Rock showed tremendous speeds of 20 to 30 knots! Finishing positions were the same as race three.

Although Piglet had won and the final race was just for glory the storm was just about to arrive so everyone had a little something to sustain them - honey or haycorns or thistles or condensed milk or extract of malt - depending on what they liked best. The start was all good apart from the distraction of Tigger's friend dangling from a wire on the side of a boat shouting "Watch!". Tigger's braincell was hurting from thinking but then he noticed, just too late, a bright yellow watch sinking below the waves. As everyone arrived at the windward mark Tigger's trapezing friend could be seen in the first wave of the storm (33 knots) cartwheeling off the back of the boat. Tiggers like bouncing and Jumping but though he awarded them 10/10 for artistic merit he decided not to bounce that high himself, so when the wind blew he bore away down the reach shouting "Worraworraworraworraworra" at the top of his voice.

Pooh, despite being a bear of very little brain had far more insight than the rest and had headed ashore already. What a wise move as after the gust had passed through the fleet most of Rabbit's friends and relations had found themselves somewhere they hadn't quite meant to be. Piglet wasn't far behind and, remaining accident free, was going quickly towards the wing mark with Eeyore chasing close behind.

Owl was having a bit of a time but managed not to have an accident, unlike Tigger who was not so much bouncing as galumphing from one wave top into the back of another, flying downwind until with a loud BANG in the back of one of the waves, the outhaul had broken for the second time and turned Tigger's blade flat sail that was almost in control into a spinnaker. Tigger bounced for a final time before wrapping himself up in it three times, rolling to the other end of the boat and, after a terrible struggle, getting his head into daylight again, "Have I won?" he asked. "No!" said the safety boat crew - and towed him home. Piglet on the other hand was still flying around glowing in glorious victory only to find he had another lap.

Eeyore couldn't believe his luck when he crossed the line after lap one and got a hoot though and very happily headed home. Owl, being extremely wise, had followed Pooh in as the potential for a really big accident was high so final positions on the day were convincingly Piglet 1,1,1, Eeyore 2,2,2, Wol 3,3,DNF, Tigger 4,4,DNF, Roo 5,5,DNF, and Winnie the Pooh 6,6,DNC.

Overall everyone had a fantastic weekend and a huge thanks to Richard Bowers and everyone on the race team and in the club for putting on a regatta in very challenging circumstances. With any luck, everyone will return to Portland next year for another exciting Expotition!

With apologies to AA Milne for some blatant plagiarism and thanks to Liz Austin for adding some English skills to the raw content. Thank you to Rooster for sponsoring the RS300 Rooster National Tour. Entry is open for Noble Marine RS300 Nationals at Brixham YC (9-12 Sept) at https://www.rs300.org/championships/index.asp?eid=2087

Overall Results:

PosHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stSam Barker1 21114
2ndRichard Le Mare21144dnf8
3rdMark Newton3432229
4thBen Hepenstall53433dnf13
5thCheryl Wood45555Dnf19
6thGraham Cooper66dnc66dnc24

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