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RS400 Salcombe Gin Eurocup at Yacht Club de Carnac - Day 3

by Matt Sheahan 6 Jun 15:46 BST 3-6 June 2022
Salcombe Gin Eurocup at Carnac © Antoine Dujoncquoy

For crews who were carrying a surplus of righting moment, today was the day. And even for those less endowed, Sunday was a spectacular affair. You could tell this from the grinning faces of those coming ashore and the number of sailors still in their wet suits, beers in hand at the club bar.

After two long days of light, fickle, shifty breezes and late finishes, this had been a very special day and everyone was keen to hear and tell stories, so getting changed could wait.

The forecast had always been for a steady breeze in the low to mid-teens from the West, driven by the momentary alignment of isobars offshore. What hadn't been quite so clear was how much sun we would get and how much the heating of the land would affect the stability of the breeze. But as things played out the breeze was steady and the regular helping of sunshine simply added sparkle to a decent sized windward/leeward course that let everyone stretch their legs Garda style. When it came to the racing itself, it is perhaps a mark of just how competitive the RS400 fleet is that the big guns were having to fight hard to stay on top.

After pretty much dominating the first two days of racing, (but openly accepting that it had been tough on every occasion), Ben and Roz McGrane (1309) came out of the traps on fire once again taking the first win of the day. Hot on their heels Chris Eames and Rachel Tilley (1528) were second with Howard Farbrother and Louise Hosken (1481) in third.

Come the second race of the day the breeze had ramped up a few knots to around 13-16 knots and with a slightly bigger course the upwind legs suited the extra-medium crews. Meanwhile, the downwind sleigh rides got the thumbs up from all apart from the few that failed to keep the mast above the boat through the gybes. This was also the race that Chris Eames and Rachel Tilley had made it clear that they fancied the top slot by delivering a win. Behind them Jon Heissig and Nicky Griffin (1502) took second with Ben and Roz McGrane in third.

The final race of the day saw the breeze drop back a notch or two to around 10-14 knots, but with the sun out and the windward mark even further upwind than before, this was a course for those who enjoyed a good old-fashioned hike.

Once again, Eames and Tilley delivered a bullet with the McGranes in second and Jon Heissig and Nicky Griffin in third. The cumulative result puts Eames and Tilley and the McGranes on equal points (10) going into the final day. Stewart and Sarah Robertson (1463) are currently in third on 28 points with Nick and Adam Craig just one point behind.

On that subject, it has been interesting to see former national champion and general rock star Nick Craig's progress in Carnac. Sailing with his 13 year old son Adam, an accomplished Optimist sailor, Nick has been exploring an even lower end of the righting moment range than he normally enjoys with the compact and super efficient Toby Lewis.

As the breeze increased towards the mid-teens it's been impressive to see how the Craig duo have coped. But it has also been interesting to see how race preparation and sail wardrobes play a part in their performance.

In Nick's highly informative book 'Helming to Win' published by Fernhurst, he explains how careful preparation plays an important part of sailing at big championships. He writes, 'Checklists can be useful at big events as it's easy to forget something critical, (food is the most important thing). A checklist should include all the things you need, eg multitool, tape, spares, food, water etc.'

Unfortunately this list doesn't appear to include sails, which is presumably why Nick discovered on arrival in Carnac that he hadn't packed them.

Fortunately, he has many friends in the RS400 fleet and was able to borrow an entire second set from the Farbrothers, (hence the sail number 7841), who are as you can imagine, delighted to see that their B-sails are still blisteringly quick.

So, whether you have righting moment aplenty or not and have ticked off all the items on your checklist it seems that friends are just as important when it comes to going quickly.

Photos and results from all fleets can be found here...

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