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Harken RS500 End of Seasons Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club

by Hugh Watson 10 Nov 2021 12:20 GMT 6-7 November 2021

Epic, Breezy, Blustery, Gusty, Challenging - any one of those words could be used to describe this event! After two ultra light events everyone was hoping for a bit of breeze - just not this much!!

I will start by saying that six boats made the start of this event but in truth between the boats that were late and those that hadn't noted the shortened start sequence in the sailing instructions there were only three boats actually on the start line for the first race. Peter and James Curtis disappeared off to take an unchallenged win with Hugh and Luke Watson doing their best to keep the late starting Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge at bay.

Race two and the wind had further increased with some huge gusts piling through. Again Team Curtis sped off, but this time Mike Saul and Ollie Kent were able to show their pace and were hot on their heels at the first mark. However both Team Curtis, and Saul and Kent capsized on the run allowing Horsfield and Burridge to keep things tight despite dropping the spinnaker and tacking around. By the final run the fleet had stretched out again.

Team Curtis, and Saul and Kent again capsized leading to a grandstand finish between four boats. As these two teams recovered Horsfield and Burridge were flying in from the left but still needed to gybe around the gate and Team Watson were charging straight to the mark having successfully played chicken with the shore to ensure only one gybe was required. In the end Horsfield and Burridge nailed the gybe to take the win from Team Curtis with the Watsons being flattened by a gust as they crossed the line but somehow still claiming third.

By now it was seriously windy with huge gusts and there were no complaints when the race officer said that was enough for the day.

The forecast for Sunday hadn't promised any respite for tired bodies and so it proved as it was again extremely windy. The direction was a little kinder meaning the gusts were not quite as vicious but the squalls which came through led to some fantastic downwind action allowing the RS500 to show just how fast it can go (18.6 knots recorded). The racing followed a familiar pattern with Team Curtis showing great speed upwind but having a tendency to capsize whilst impressively Horsfield and Burridge didn't capsize in any of the races over the weekend. This meant that Horsfield and Burridge went into the final race with a 3,1,1,2 score against the Curtis 1,2,2,1. All to play for!

For the final race the wind dropped off slightly but compensated by becoming a little more erratic just to keep everyone on their toes. Saul and Kent won the race with Horsfield and Burridge claiming the overall win on countback by finishing 2nd.

Thank you to Rutland Sailing Club for providing great racing in high winds. We look forward to returning to battle it out again at the 2022 RS500 End of Seasons Regatta 5-6 Nov 2022. Thanks to Harken for sponsoring the event.

On shore it was agreed that "epic" was probably the best word to decide the weekend and that the RS500 fleet had done a good job of showing off this fantastic boat to the rest of the RS classes. With a group of competitive sailors already established in the fleet and the Worlds at the RS Games at WPNSA next Summer there has never been a better time to join the UK RS500 fleet.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st710Simon HorsfieldKatie BurridgeASA Thorney Island SC‑311226
2nd1681Peter CurtisJames CurtisGrafham Water SC1221‑36
3rd688Hugh WatsonLuke WatsonEmsworth SC2333(DNC)11
4th1689Mike SaulOliver KentYorkshire Dales SC‑4444113
5th610John CooperAndy MawBurghfield SC5(DNC)DNCDNCDNC26
6th783Nigel DavisAaron DavisDraycote Water SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC28

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