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Harken RS400 End of Season Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club

by Sam Knight 15 Nov 2022 15:38 GMT 5-6 November 2022
RS400 Harken RS End of Seasons Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club © Paul North

A fantastic year for the RS400 was signed off in style with the Harken RS End of Seasons finale at Rutland Sailing Club.

The preceding week had yielded every permutation of forecast possible, was it going to be 40 knots or 4? Nervous entrants polled the class association page on the maximum wind strength the race committee might run racing in (answer - possibly 30 knots+) but on the day there were no such concerns. Racing got under way in a pleasant 8-12 knot Southerly, although with the course hard up against the bank there were holes and shifts aplenty to test all crews.

Returning hot-shots Mike Simms & Jack Holden made the best of a pin-biased line to make the early running. With the breeze trending quite hard to the left, a long drag race on port was the order of the day, with the best gains to be made in the occasional shifts back to the centre that might just allow a place or two to be made.

It was apparent that any large gains or losses were going to be made on the downwind, and so it proved to be with Ollie Groves & Esther Parkhurst breaking free of the chasing pack and onto the stern of Mike & Jack on the first downwind.

From there, it was a matter of waiting for a rare mistake from the leading crew, and it came on the final run to the finish with Ollie & Esther profiting from a miscalculated lay line to sweep into the lead and take the first bullet of the day. The father-son team of Chris & Niall Eames were best of the rest in third.

Between the races the wind had really started to build, with the gusts now well up into the high teens and early twenties. Ollie & Esther were lighting quick up the first beat to lead round the windward mark, with Mike & Jack and current national champs Sam Knight & Chris Bownes right on top of each other as they turned back down the course.

With the increase in breeze, the larger gusts enabled those who found them a rapid route downwind and it was Sam & Chris who found the first of these, gybing early from the bank into the centre of the course. The first three rounded the leeward gate practically bow to stern, with Ollie and Esther just ahead.

These three were tied at the hip for the remainder of the race, but ultimately Ollie and Esther showed the race craft to snatch another bullet.

It was 2/2 for the Grove & Parkhurst crew, and they were looking good once again as they led round the first lap of the final race of the day. However, this time Sam & Chris found a very long ladder on the second downwind to launch themselves into and unassailable lead which they could hold to the finish. Ollie & Esther finished a solid second and Mike & Jack rounded off the podium in third.

That put the Ollie & Esther firmly in the hot seat for the second day, having shown incredible consistency on the first.

The second day dawned foggy and dark - or was that just my head? A large tea and an excellent breakfast soon removed the 'morning after' sensations from those crews who may have overindulged at the pub the previous nights, but unfortunately it did little to dispel the actual fog that plagued Rutland throughout the morning.

After an hour's postponement the Race Officer made the call to can the racing for the day, leaving the crews to pack up in the inevitable sunshine that appeared almost at the same time as the abandonment flag (sods law!).

That meant Ollie & Esther were deservedly left as Harken RS End of Seasons winners, with Mike & Jack as runners up. Thank you to Harken for sponsoring the event and to Rooster for sponsoring our National Tour.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st1526Ollie GrovesEsther ParkhurstBeaver SC1124
2nd1505Mike SimsJack HoldenCarsington/Chichester2237
3rd1376Sam KnightChris BownesBartley SC5319
4th1528Christopher EamesNiall EamesQMSC35513
5th1492Martin PentyLuke DickinsonBeaver SC64414
6th1235Sam PickeringEden HylandChase SC47617
7th1469Martin PowellArun PowellParkstone YC96722
8th1363Ross RyanOliver Ryan‑MooreNotts County SC7111129
9th1537Jamie MorganAnna‑Louise GlendenningRutland SC881531
10th880Tim Le CouilliardJames Le CouilliardKing George SC1113832
11th1450Nick EavesGreg PaceBartley SC13101235
12th1249Richard HudsonPaul GardnerBough Beech SC10161036
13th901Caroline WhitehouseAdam WhitehouseBartley SCUFD12940
14th1524Stuart HalmanAnna WalshLeigh & Lowton SC129DNC40
15th1435Matt SheahanEllie SheahanWarsash SC14141341
16th1521Andy PowellVince HayterWarsash SC15151444
17th1433Richard HallAliciaPYCDNCDNCDNC57
17th1481Howard FarbrotherJack MunnellyLymington Town SCDNCDNCDNC57

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