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Harken RS800 End of Seasons Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club

by Luke McEwen 11 Nov 2021 05:54 GMT 6-7 November 2021

It's not often that you get to race an RS800 in 30 knot gusts, so we should probably consider ourselves lucky to have had the opportunity twice in consecutive events.

The forecast of 22-30 knots each day probably put a few people off going to Rutland for the Harken RS End of Seasons event, including class chairman Dan Goodman (who therefore missed his own surprise 50th birthday party - oops). But for those who made it, the wind gods delivered on the forecasters' promise which made for an exciting weekend of sailing and swimming.

Somehow, despite being Britain's largest man-made lake (allegedly), Rutland is surprisingly narrow. Particularly on Sunday when racing in a Westerly wind up the Southern leg of the lake felt like being on an America's Cup course, with boundaries forcing several tacks and gybes on every leg.

The fleet was rather starkly divided into those who'd had a good bit of breezy practice through the Nationals and then the Inlands, and a few brave / innocent new faces who were trying out RS800 racing (or even trapezing) for the first time. Regardless of prior experience we all had fun, all capsized and as far as we know, no RS800s or their sailors were harmed in the making of this event, thanks in no small part to the race team's wise decision not to run a third race on Saturday. On Saturday night the whole RS800 fleet had a very convivial evening in the bar, re-living the joys of choosing which pair of inverted RS400s to gybe between.

National champions Tom Morris and Guy Fillmore once again showed us how windy weather skiff sailing should be done, leading at every mark rounding of every race bar one. For the first time in their RS800 sailing careers they were eligible for the traditional Endeavour prize for the last placed boat to finish all the races, despite also winning them all. Their other claim to fame for the weekend was leading the way after the first race on Saturday to what became known as "Serenity Bay", a small patch of apparently flat calm water in the lee of the clump of trees on Rutland's big headland.

More and more boats were tempted to join them, drawn like moths to a flame as we saw G&T drifting about in sunshine and no wind, while the rest of the lake was a maelstrom of whitecaps and upturned hulls. Only when we got to the bay did we discover that vertical tornado gusts of monumental intensity would indiscriminately flatten three or four boats at a time while leaving others only a boat-length away unscathed, their crews laughing at the fate of their neighbours before they too got nailed.

When the racing resumed it became apparent that Hugh Shone and Fiona Hampshire were by a good margin the best of the rest of us, counting straight second places through the weekend and demonstrating a remarkable ability to stay dry while all around were upside down - helped by their prudence in keeping the kite in the bag when the gusts had wiped out everyone behind.

The finishing order behind them largely depended on how many races each team managed to complete: Luke and Emma McEwen (four finishes), Cameron and Darrol Moss (two finishes) and Fred Lord and Louise Gale (one finish). Thank you very much to Rutland SC for running such great racing. Thank you to Harken for sponsoring the event. We look forward to returning to battle it out again at the 2022 RS800 End of Seasons Regatta 5-6 Nov 2022.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st1144Tom MorrisGuy FillmoreHISC‑111114
2nd1231Hugh ShoneFiona HampshireSwanage SC2222(DNC)8
3rd1220Luke McEwenEmma McEwenRoyal Lymington YC3(DNC)33211
4th1232Cameron MossDarrol MossLyme Regis SC43(DNC)DNCDNC25
5th1224Fred LordLouise GaleCarsington SC5(DNC)DNCDNCDNC32
6th1188Debbie ClarkDaniel GoodmanQMSC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC36
6th1014Bryn AbendsternSam McKayRutland SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC36
6th1122Robert LoverageDominick BurkeGrafham Water SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC36

The End of Seasons was, of course, the final event in the Rooster National Tour for all RS classes present with the top placed sailors taking home Rooster vouchers (thank you Rooster). Our wonderful RS Class Association Secretary Clare Sargent broke her own impressive record in giving out about fifty thousand prizes in half an hour or so.

For the RS800s this event was the decider for the overall series winner: Tom and Guy equalled Luke and Emma's event tally of 1,1,2 to count, so won the tie break as winners of the last event. Congratulations to Tom and Guy for such an impressive end to the 2021 season, and to all the RS800 sailors who made it onto the water this weekend. We had 32 boats and 71 sailors on this year's tour. Let's try to get even more in 2022!

Rooster RS800 National Tour Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubStokes BayTorbayLymingtonGrafhamRutlandPts
11144Thomas MorrisGuy FillmoreHISC5233114
21220Luke McEwenEmma McEwenRoyal Lymington YC112234
31231Hugh ShoneFiona Hampshire / Becky DiamondSwanage SC4913327
41122Tom Bucktrout / Robert LoverageDom BurkeGWSC333335614
51232Cameron MossDarrol MossLyme Regis SC812333415
61224Fred LordLouise GaleCarsington SC933433518
7846Joshua PoatRobbie Cherry / Hattie FieldChew Valley Lake SC33138133334
81215 / 1058Joseph BradleyBen Bradley / Henry JamesonHISC3733333343
91129Leo Wilkinson / Sam JonesSam Jones / Richie ThurlbyMaidenhead SC6335333344
101166Ralph SingletonMike Chapman / James WilkinsonRestronguet SC33103363349
111203Grace FellTim GrattonBeadnell SC33833103351
121222Paul JenkinsPeter JenkinsEastbourne Sovereign SC23333333368
131124Robert GullanTristan JaquesHISC33333333369
14825James CurtisTom WalkerGrafham Water Sailing Club33333343370
151207Phil WalkerJohn MatherHISC33433333370
161221Nick ReddingJames GrummettOxford SC33533333371
171057Mark OakeyJamie PidduckHISC33336333372
181157Chris CattChris MartinNetley SC33633333372
191014Bryn AbendsternSam McKayRutland SC33333333672
201188Debbie ClarkDaniel GoodmanQMSC33333333672
21814Ellie CumpstyConnor BanksStokes Bay SC73333333373
22913Adrian HoweFenella WilliamsOxford SC33337333373
231204Martin OrtonIan BrooksChichester YC33333373373
24820Bryan OrmondAnna PrescottQueen Mary SC33333383374
25985Stuart KeeganSophie JohnstonDerwent Reservoir SC33333383374
26954Paul MolesworthCaroline HarrisWeymouth and Portland33339333375
27919Luke BurywoodRob BaddeleyStokes Bay SC103333333376
28968Chris HaslamCliff HaslamStokes Bay SC103333333376
291065Robert DunnMarina DunnGrafham Water Sailing Club333333113377
301126George SmithAlice CrickBough Beech SC331133333377
311247Paul MolesworthCaroline HarrisStokes Bay SC333333123378
321008Ben PalmerBruna de QueirozHayling Island SC333333143380

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