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Ocean Safety 2021 - LEADERBOARD

RS500 Sprints at Rutland Sailing Club

by Peter Curtis 6 Apr 07:02 BST 2-3 April 2022
RS500 Sprints at Rutland © Don Munro

A dodgy early week forecast, Covid and fuel costs all combined to restrict the turnout at the first event of the RS500 Rooster 2022 National Tour, which was a real shame as the weather gave us a bit of everything over the weekend (actually over the course of one race!), and the race management gave us 12 races with virtually no waiting between races.

Saturday was bright and sunny, if cold, with a nice steady eight knots all the while we were rigging, changing and on our way to the start area; at which point it clouded over, the wind died and started veering all over the place. There were some big rain/sleet clouds around, and although most of them missed us the wind was pretty unstable, leading to an hour of the RO and his team adjusting and re-adjusting the course.

In the end we got going and the wind immediately picked up to 15ish knots, leading to race one lasting about 12 minutes on a course that had been set for five knots. John Cooper and Andy Maw got a late shift into the first mark and rounded just ahead of Peter and James Curtis. Team Curtis managed a slightly faster kite hoist and managed to get mark room at the spreader, leading out onto the run. They proceeded to head towards the wrong leeward mark, which turned into a tactical masterstroke as they came back at a very hot angle in a gust and significantly extended their lead. The second beat and final run were a case of keeping a loose cover and not making a mistake.

Race two saw the course slightly extended but the wind was, if anything, slightly stronger. Team Curtis had a small lead throughout, but on the final run John Cooper managed to thread the tiller extension between the boom and mainsheet while gybing, which led to an inevitable swim. The length of time in the water led to them needing to retire ashore for a while to warm-up. Meantime the RO significantly extended the course, leading to an inevitable drop in the wind. Race three was light and race four almost a drifter, taking more than 30 minutes to finish. It started to come back for race five, and Cooper/Maw returned to the fray for race six, having been tempted back by the moderate winds.

At which point, obviously, the wind cranked up a notch or two and shifted about 30 degrees right. Team Curtis managed to reach the top mark first, gybed round the spreader and tried to point at the lee mark; no dice - the wind was blowing 20ish knots and we were on the edge trying to three sail it and not miss the mark by too much. Only trouble was there was a fleet of RS400s beating towards us on starboard, which was quite exciting/alarming given how on the edge we were. The tracker had us at 17.8 knots, which is not too shabby. Both boats successfully avoided the RS400s and two sailed it into the mark. Team Curtis maintained their lead up the beat and had another thrilling three sail reach to finish the day.

Day two started out cold and with a much steadier eight knots or so. It maintained this average speed throughout the day, with occasional gusts that tempted the crews to heat up the runs, not always successfully. The two teams were well matched upwind but team Curtis generally had a slight edge downwind. This meant they had a small lead at the end of the first run in each race of the day. Cooper/Maw were then in the position of trying to spot small advantages on the much longer second beat, and hope that team Curtis didn't simply cover them. A couple of the races saw a big lead open up when this backfired, but it was generally quite close. Finally, on the last race of the event, they chose the right way to go on the last run and team Curtis didn't spot the danger until too late. Cooper/Maw got their win.

Many thanks to Rutland Sailing Club for the welcome and the organisation. Once the first fleet got away in the first race the pace was unrelenting. We completed six races on Sunday in three hours. Many thanks too to Rooster and Noble for their sponsorship. The next event is at Filey - remember not to believe the Monday/Tuesday forecast and just be there.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubSat 1Sat 2Sat 3Sat 4Sat 5Sat 6Sun 1Sun 2Sun 3Sun 4Sun 5Sun 6Pts
1st1681Peter CurtisJames CurtisGrafham Water SC11111111111213
2nd610John CooperAndy MawBurghfield SC22RETRETRET222222126

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