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RS Vareos at the Harken RS End of Seasons Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club

by Paul North 10 Nov 2021 09:22 GMT 6-7 November 2021

Six RS Vareos travelled to Rutland Sailing Club to join club member Martin Dyer for the Harken RS End of Season Regatta. A strong forecast of 18mph gusting to 30+ saw Mike Dicker and Paul North rig with the storm sail, a decision they found to be a very good one within minutes of leaving the beach for the long sail downwind to the start at the Eastern end of Rutland Water. With the wind pretty much right behind us this was fast and only three of the fleet of seven attempted using the spinnaker. After capsizing more than once Martin decided the conditions were too much and returned to the beach. And then there were six.

Our course was the Outer Trapezoid, meaning a beat to mark one followed by a beam reach across to two, downwind to three then up and down between two and three a couple of times before another reach across to four then a short beat to the finish. We were starting with the RS200s and followed after 3 minutes by the combined RS300s and RS600s.

A significant chop and very blustery conditions meant an uncomfortable wait for the start with a real challenge keeping the boat stable but without flogging the sail. We were glad (if not personally a little trepidatious) to hear the warning signal.

A quick 3, 2, 1 start and we were away. Ken Ward had a near perfect first leg with Luke Fisher close behind. Nick Crickmore had a terrible start stuck in the dirty air behind a group of RS200s, but by staying left he found a good lift and closed the gap on Luke and Ken. Paul, Mike and Chris Abbot found the going tough and were all trying to find the best way to keep the boat moving against the very strong wind and heavy chop.

On the downwind leg Ken, Luke and Nick all popped up the kites while a little way behind the three of us at the back looked on in awe and knew ours were staying in the chute! Luke got past Ken just before the leeward mark and led back up the beat. Nick was finding that loose toe straps were hampering his hiking upwind but was finding good speed downwind. Paul was chasing Chris up the beats but losing out on the downwind legs where Chris was finding deeper angles and his bigger rig was giving him more speed. Meanwhile Mike suffered a failure with the top of his dagger board that meant it was trying to disappear through the slot and out the bottom, this led to his retirement. And then there were five.

On the second downwind leg Luke decided he had enough of a lead to keep the kite safely stowed while Nick and Ken both launched theirs behind. Bouncing over the top of the waves Ken, in his words, "stuffed it in" and his day was done. And then there were four.

Chris suffered a capsize at the windward mark on lap three allowing Paul to pass. Paul just survived a very scary nose dive on the downwind leg which produced a foot deep wave that ran through the boat nearly taking him out with it. Final positions: Luke, Nick, Paul, Chris.

If the anything the wind was increasing a little as race two got under way. It was more a case of spotting the lulls than the gusts, which seemed to last five minutes or more. Luke had a good start at the committee boat with Nick not too far behind. With Luke pulling away upwind but Nick finding more speed downwind they were always close at the leeward mark (in Nick's words "close enough to shout nonsense at him"). Nick did manage to gybe on one lap but mostly they "weathered around".

Caught among some of the other fleets Chris capsized and the boat quickly turtled and stubbornly refused to right in the strong wind requiring the safety boat to help him get back upright. And then there were three.

Once again in third, Paul was just about hanging on downwind with the acceleration from the gusts proving to be "exhilarating" when his main halyard let go ending his day with a swim and a tow home. And then there were two. Luke first, Nick second.

We're guessing a similar rate of attrition was happening in the other fleets and the third race was cancelled.

It had been a challenging afternoon so there was much to talk about back on shore after a VERY long beat (or tow) back. It was generally agreed that the broad reach at the end of the course was the most difficult in the conditions. Nick tried the technique of ramming the tiller over and going head to wind to kill off the speed before going again (apparently singing as well).

Arriving on Sunday morning to a similar forecast and the information that chop would be bigger and "sharper" the fleet unanimously decided enough was enough and plumped for an early prize-giving. Thank you to our event sponsor Harken. Final result 1st: Luke, 2nd: Nick, 3rd: Paul, 4th: Chris. Well done to Luke who was lucky enough to win a Harken voucher in addition to his prize glass. Rooster RS Vareo National Tour caps were awarded to Chris, Ken and Martin.

Thanks to the Rutland Sailing Club's Race Officers and particularly the safety crews who were kept busy. We look forward to returning to battle it out again at the 2022 RS Vareo End of Seasons Regatta 5-6 Nov 2022. Thanks also to Clare and the RS Association for all their help and support.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2Pts
1st407Luke FisherEmberton Park SC112
2nd162Nicholas CrickmoreWaveney & Oulton Broad YC224
3rd443Paul NorthMilton Keynes SC3DNC11
4th649Christopher AbbottThe Nottingham SC4DNC12
5th539Mike DickerDell QuayDNCDNC16
5th369Martin DyerRutland SCDNCDNC16
5th572Ken WardSunderland YCDNCDNC16

This event concluded the Rooster National Tour for the RS Vareos. Taking the best three results out of the six on our tour our top five sailors, each taking home Rooster vouchers (thank you Rooster) are:

1st Luke Fisher
2nd Richard Woods
3rd Nick Crickmore
4th Chris Abbott
5th Paul North

Congratulations to Luke Fisher our 2021 RS Vareo Rooster National Tour champion!

It was great to see 20 competitors in this year's tour results. Let's try to get even more in 2022!

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