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RS400 Spring Championship and Rooster National Tour Round 1 at Queen Mary Sailing Club

by Paul Hilliar 26 Mar 09:56 GMT 16-17 March 2024

Flat calm and a postponement greeted the RS400s dusting themselves off after a winter break. After a short wait, the racing got under way in 5-7 knots, building to 9 by the end of the afternoon.

Racing alongside the RS200s and RS800s but with staggered starts and a separate windward mark for the RS800s kept the fleets separated for the most part. However, the shifty, gusty winds kept the end tire fleet on their toes all weekend and led to some really tight racing.

In the first race, Sam Knight and Chris Bownes made the most of the early shifts to lead, before Ian Martin and Emma Clarke pulled through to take the win, with Tom Halhead and Paul Hilliar sneaking through to second at the end of the race.

For race two, Chris and Nicki Webber found speed early on before forming a breakaway group with Martin and Clarke, and Ollie Groves and Esther Parkhurst. Martin andClarke once again showing their class to take the win.

In the third race it seemed like the entire fleet was arriving at the windward mark in one big group. The pack then splintered down the first run as a gust rolled through and brought Knighta nd Bownes, and Groves and Parkhurst into the lead. During the four lap race it eventually became a battle where Halhead and Hilliar just lost out on the final run to Knight and Bownes.

Sunday looked like torrential rain and no wind but the weather cleared just as it was time to start rigging up! And as it cleared, a decent breeze filled in - a gusty 10 knots that gradually dropped during the day to 6.

Sunday's first race (race four) was some of the closest RS400 racing seen in a long time. We lost count of the number of different leaders during the four lap race but it was at least six boats, with Ed Whitehead and Karen Oldale ringing the bell to take a first mark lead from Jack Holden and Rob Henderson.

The racing was mega tight with constant place changing and the final lap saw the leading trio of Halhead and Hilliar, Martin and Clarke, and Groves and Parkhurst pull a slender gap before it all reset on the final run. Groves and Parkhurst did a great job holding the speedy Martin and Clarke out to the left on the final run, with those two managing to scrape ahead at the finish ahead of Halhead and Hilliar.

Finally the seemingly impossible happened for race five and the fleet spread out a bit. The Webbers, Groves and Parkhurst, and Martin and Clarke pulled out a large lead after a split at the top of the first run.

As they continued to pull away from the bulk of the fleet, Martin and Clarke held on to take the win and take the title with a race to spare.

The final race got away after a general recall on a heavily port-biased line. Whitehead and Oldale rang the bell again on the first beat, looking fast. By lap two, a wind shift had split the fleet in two. The top five were super tight and headed by Whitehead and Oldale, and Groves and Parkhurst but on the final lap Martin and Clarke showed their class to sneak the win ahead of Groves and Parkhurst.

Overall an excellent weekend for everyone other than Welsh rugby supporters with some really tight racing that was well run by the experienced race team at Queen Mary SC. It really was terrific to shake off the Winter cobwebs and get back to racing. Thank you also our RS400 National Tour sponsor Rooster.

Lessons learned from the weekend:

  • The major events with multiple RS classes in attendance are a fantastic way to catch up with old friends
  • Queen Mary launching is made loads easier by all the help from their friendly staff
  • Postponements are excellent business for the sailing club cafe

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewSailing Club NameR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1538Ian MartinEmma ClarkeBurghfield SC11‑42116
2nd1526Ollie GrovesEsther ParkhurstBeaver SC‑82312311
3rd1535Tom HalheadPaul HilliarLlandegfedd SC2623‑8417
4th1504Sam KnightChris BownesLyne Regis SC37167‑924
5th1479Chris WebberNicki WebberPBSC‑93853524
6th1550Jack HoldenRob HendersonChichester YC/ Hayling Island SC44575(OCS)25
7th1541Edd WhiteheadKaren OldaleParkstone YC5‑117410228
8th1528Chris EamesRachel TilleyQueen Mary SC75686(OCS)32
9th1309Stevie BeckettTom HoughSolva SC‑1289109642
10th1432James AlsopSimon EdwardsQueen Mary SC10911‑1211748
11th1435Matthew SheahanEllie SheahanWarsash SC61012‑13131051
12th1210Niall HoustonGeorge ZavosHayling Island SC11(RET)101112852
13th1481Howard FarbrotherLou HoskenLymington Town SC(DNC)DNCDNC94RET59
14th1359Stuart PhilbeyJack SlaterKing George SC1312(DNC)1414DNC69
15th1539Steven BroomfieldJenni LewisLymington Town SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC80

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