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Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - LEADERBOARD

RS400 Sprints at Rutland Sailing Club

by Sam Knight & Matt Sheahan 5 Apr 17:55 BST 2-3 April 2022

Report One (by Sam Knight)

After a two year Covid-enforced break, the RS Sprints finally returned to Rutland on the first weekend in April. For those early entrants, the preceding week had been a nervous one - a forecast barely breaking double figures in either knots or degrees centigrade did not make for an appealing outlook. On arrival, the fleets were both surprised and heartened to see the sun and some breeze over the race course, maybe Rutland was operating its own micro-climate? On opening the car door, it was quickly apparent this was not the case. The pleasant looking Northerly breeze was keeping the temperature well in the Winter gear zone.

Once rigged and changed, the various classes made their way up to the start line. Crews who may only have speculatively packed their hiking pads were pleased to be given the chance to stretch their legs in the building pressure, maybe this wasn't going to be the drifter we expected? There was just one blot on the horizon... a big snowy, sleetly blot. Threatening clouds soon rolled over the reservoir, miraculously missing the racecourse (sometimes only by a matter of a few hundred feet). These proved to be a race officer's nightmare, as the wind chased each black cloud back and forth meaning several adjustments and re-adjustments of the course.

Finally the wind settled for long enough for racing to commence, and there was just one question left for the competitors to answer. Was the sequence of buoys black-yellow-black or yellow-black-yellow? Mainly this separated those who read sailing instructions and those who didn't. Regardless the racing that followed was vintage sprint racing: short and sharp with plenty of gusst and shifts to keep everyone interested. The teams of Sam Knight/Chris Bownes and Rob Gullen/Jack Holden took a couple of bullets each, with the other two going to Steve/Sarah Cockerill and Steve Restall/Chris Stubbs. Everyone had their moments, with the home boat of Jamie Morgan/Jim Lowbridge showing devastating upwind speed in the first two races to round clear ahead at the first mark, and Jon Heissig and Nicky Griffin sniffing out a huge right-hand shift in the third to lead by some distance before being pegged back on the last downwind. In all, a head scratching day for many with no-one being able to dominate the day's racing.

Back onshore, there was a fairly even split between the 'stayers' (at the club) and those who took the opportunity to wander down to the local Wheatsheaf. Those in the pub were entertained late into the evening (at least it felt late?) by stories from the fleet's very own resident sailing journalist, Matt Sheahan (of PlanetSail) who regaled us with tales of incredible foiling yachts and SailGP helming (virtually). We left having had a thoroughly pleasant evening and not feeling in the least bit jealous!

Back on the water for day two, the wind had once again found an extra bit of oomph over the forecast, meaning another tiring day for the crews with just enough for some decent hiking. In opposition to the day before, this was a much more routine affair with Rob and Jack hitting top form in the third race of the day. Seemingly able to navigate the short and tricky first beat with ease and going on to take four bullets on the trot, they took the event emphatically away from the chasing duo of Steve/Sarah and Sam/Chris, who finished in that order. With ten points separating the top three, the next two (Steve/Chris and Jon/Nicky) were only separated on countback showing how close some of the racing had been.

Thanks must go to the incredible race team at Rutland for hosting another fabulous event, turning all 12 races around efficiently and keeping the race courses perfectly sized for some great sprint racing. We are looking forward to returning next year 22-23 April 2023. Thank you to RS400 National Tour sponsors Rooster and RS Class Association sponsors Noble Marine.

Report Two (by Matt Sheahan)

Six back to back races around a snug course that not only had two windward leeward legs per helping, but a couple of tight reaches to add an element of brinkmanship when it came to the kite hoists.

Then, on the second day do it all over again. What's not to like? According to some of the crews quite a lot when it came to the top reaching leg. Turns out it was quite hard for crews to pull off the perfect slick hoist when their helms refused to drop below the lay line despite having called for the hoist in the first place.

Had the weather played to the forecast on the first day things would have been simpler. Hoisting in 6-8 knots is pretty easy whichever direction you're heading. But, what hadn't been clear on the popular weather apps was a trough line that was making its way in from the North Sea bringing sharp showers and even snow across and around Rutland Water. In fact, it was the showers that passed to the sides that caused the most fun as the icy breeze that cascaded out of them, hit the land and fanned out across the water causing the wind speed to get into the high teens, the direction to change significantly and the temperature to drop like a stone. In between, it was glorious Spring sunshine and a gentle gradient breeze.

The result was a fantastic weekend of racing where nothing could be taken for granted other than the position of the windward mark which was deftly moved by the race officer to create the best windward leg given the conditions at the time. The rest of the marks stayed largely in place which meant that while we had some quiet downwind legs to practice soaking down, we had full bore three sail hiking fests for others with the challenge of a tight reach to deep run gybe at the bottom.

On Saturday in the 11 boat fleet, Sam Knight and Chris Bownes (1376) took the first result and set the early pace before Rob Gullen and Jack Holden (1505) delivered a win in the second. After that it was Steve and Sarah Cockerill (1515) who made their aspirations clear by taking the third race. By the fifth it was Steve Restall and Chris Stubbs (1189) who took the top slot before Rob and Jack wrestled it back for the last race of the day. On the face of it Sunday promised another scrum among the big dogs.

But the second day was very different. No weather troughs, no towering cumulus clouds and no showers, the breeze was also a more modest 7-10 knots throughout the day save for the odd burst into the low teens. And as the six races played out the scoreboard settled down too. According to Jack Holden it took the first two races to figure out that going right on the beat as soon as you could was the only way up the course. Once they had done that (at a cost of a 4th and a 2nd), it was bullets all the way home beating the Cockerills into second by five points, with Sam Knight and Chris Bownes taking third.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubSat 1Sat 2Sat 3Sat 4Sat 5Sat 6Sun 1Sun 2Sun 3Sun 4Sun 5Sun 6Pts
1st1505Rob GullanJack HoldenArun yacht club31252142111124
2nd1515Stephen CockerillSarah CockerillStokes Bay SC22134211252429
3rd1376Sam KnightChris BownesBartley SC13313624324234
4th1189Steve RestallChris StubbsDowns/Rutland SC84861363787364
5th1502Jon HeissigNicky GriffinLlangorse SC68528536538564
6th1528Chris EamesRachel TilleyQueen Mary SC46445758649769
7th1053Jamie MorganJim LowbridgeRutland SC571077489966684
8th1192Jack MunnellyLiam VassArun YC75799DNF774DNS3890
9th1311Michael GorzkowskiAnna DobsonQueen Mary SC1110686895875992
10th1435Matthew SheahanEllie SheahanWarsash SC9991011910101091110117
11th1521Andy PowellPaul Caiger WatsonWarsash SC1011111110DNF111111101011129

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