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Stewart Brewing RS400 Scottish Tour at Loch Earn Sailing Club

by Keith Orr 2 May 14:48 BST 27-28 April 2024

Freezing Fling in the Trossachs

The first Stewart Brewing RS400 Scottish tour event took place at the Loch Earn Sailing Club as part of their annual First Fling event. This year's event was shared with the Enterprise traveller, the club's opening weekend, coupled with the annual early season preparation. The club therefore had a buzz and the RS400 sailors received the customary warm welcome.

The weekend was split in two, with Saturday comprising two RS Class Association funded training sessions and Sunday scheduled to comprise 4-6 windward leeward races. The forecast was for light winds and dry, however, the cold, coupled with the low loch temperature, had an impact on the event.

Saturday's weather was as forecast but provided just enough wind for a great day of training with 3 new boats to the traveller circuit participating and 4 clubs plus the host represented. 6 boats undertaking upwind and downwind drills, shoreside Q&A sessions and the inevitable scrutinising of the different set ups had everyone looking forward to Sunday's racing. Many thanks to local coach Arron for delivering the training and Alan for sourcing the funding.

The evening bonding session was enhanced by the wood burner and picturesque clubhouse, however, the generous supply of beer from the headline sponsor Stewart Brewing was enjoyed after the busy day. This made the sub-zero sleeping in tents, vans and caravans less arduous to support the early 0900 briefing the next morning. The race officer (RO) Nicol had a clear plan to squeeze in the 6 races, but the forecast wind did not look favourable and interestingly was blowing 180? from the forecast direction.

Unfortunately, Mike and Alan were unable to complete due to sickness, but with 5 boats and the previous day showing similar performance from all the dinghies close racing was anticipated. The RO did a great job setting a suitable course and getting the racing stared early, however, the light winds and wind direction had the competitors experiencing fluky conditions.

Race 1 saw Jamie & Neil (Gonzo) go from 1st to 5th with the fastest boat of the weekend, Stuart & Hannah, sneaking a win on the final leg from Ewan & Keith (Phoenix). Race 2 was a similar unpredictable affair with Stuart & Hannah again showing good boat speed in the challenging conditions, but Lorne & Ben displayed the necessary regatta consistency. The wind finally settled into the forecast direction, but this resulted in numerous wind holes and several significant shifts turning upwind into downwind legs and vice versa. The temperature and frustrating conditions took another casualty and David & Zoe went ashore to heat up after mixing it well with the fleet. Another fight between Stuart & Hannah and Lorne & Ben occurred after they handled the variable conditions more effectively than the other boats in the morning session of snakes and ladders.

After a much need break to warm and feed (fantastic soup & cakes) in the clubhouse there remained 3 races to complete the series with most of the competitors frustrated by the conditions. Stuart & Sara decided that they had achieved enough and therefore there would only be three boats for the afternoon session.

The wind had settled in direction but not strength and there remained some killer wind holes that could blow a competitive race apart. The Gonzo boys had found their groove and manged two 1st and a 2nd with the ever-consistent Lorne & Ben achieving two 2nds and a 1st which was enough to clinch a well deserved 1st overall. The stylish Loch Earn beanies were an appropriate prize considering the chilly event temperatures.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1448Lorne BrockbankBen Barron3121228
21073Jamie Rogers Neil Mclaren53321110
3875Ewan PatersonKeith Orr25433315
41463Stewart RobertsonHannah Robertson12166616
5691David LintonZoe Linton44666626
61294Mike GrantAlan Birse66666630

The event was a great opener to the season, despite the challenging wind and low temperature. Many thanks to Alan for organising, Arron for coaching and Loch Earn sailing club for hosting such a warm & professional manner. And, as always, much thanks to Stewart Brewing, without whose support the evening analysis would be much less enjoyable.

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