Competitors were greeted by glorious spring sunshine and a brisk NE wind blowing straight down the lake. Being the first event of the season there were a few questions to be answered: How would Andy and Allyson Jeffries go in their brand new boat? Had Luke and Emma McEwen been practicing? How many would turn up with twin tillers and crew sheeting? ….and if they did would they be faster than the rest? The answers: eventually very well, yes, one… and the jury is still out on that one…
The water was cold, the wind was fresh, but it built to a solid F4 gusting F5 with flat water – just what the RS800 revels in. Maybe those that had hibernated over the winter or had only been sailing the RS800 for a couple of months might have liked a gentler introduction back to sailing. The race officer was obsessed with having the longest beat possible which meant we started beside the half sunken church and went all the way to the corner of the dam leaving the Musto Skiffs room for an outer loop to the left of our course. Would the steadier wind in the middle or the tactical shifts by the shore pay? Turns out it was a bit of both so lots of people had moments of brilliance – often followed up with moments of mediocrity. But that’s inland sailing for you. Luke and Emma promptly showed the rest of us how it was done – winning every race by some distance. The rest of us could only keep up for the first lap and then fight it out for 2nd place – which was shared around by 4 different boats. But we had lots of really good close racing and lots of fast fun and that’s what counts. At least that’s what we tell ourselves while wondering what it takes to keep up…
Andy and Allyson realised that the new boat wasn’t quite ready for top competition and after an eventful journey just getting to the event (direct from Hong Kong!) and one issue too many, headed for an afternoon of boat bimbling to allow normal service to resume on Sunday. A few others had issues of their own but normally only resulting in a swim or sudden course change to avoid one of the other classes we shared the water with. No major incidents to report and good clean racing.
In the evening it was off to the recently re-opened pub in the village, which coped admirably with being descended upon by hordes of hungry and thirsty sailors.
Sunday was almost Groundhog Day but with perhaps 5 knots less and bigger shifts. Eyes out of the boat were the order of the day. The race officer thought we wanted more so put an extra lap in for the last 2 races. Still not convinced we did 4 laps on race 5 but everyone got a finish. More close racing with plenty of place changes kept everyone on their toes. Thanks to Rutland SC for a great racing weekend.
The results don’t reflect how fast some people were sailing and there is plenty of potential for others to shine in the rest of the season. Those who didn’t travel missed out on a great weekend – see everyone in two weeks at Stokes Bay SC 8-9 April. Find all the event information about your RS800 Magic Marine Grand Prix Event Number Two here: http://www.rs800.org/index.asp?selection=Events&uid=1474&fleet=RS800&detailevent=1
Remember to enter your Stokestock Nationals before this event so you can collect your free pair of SpeedSix flipflops from at registration! Confused? Well we have a new equipment sponsor for the RS800 Volvo Noble Marine Nationals in SpeedSix performance lubricant: http://www.speedsix.co.uk/
SpeedSix are giving away a pair of free limited edition flip flops to every RS800 sailor who has entered the Nationals by our Stokes Bay open. This year your RS800 Nationals is Stokestock: 4 days of racing and fun at Stokes Bay SC 21-24 Sept 17. Grab your tent or campervan to join in the Nationals “festival” and don’t forget the flip flops! You can enter your RS800 Nationals online here: http://www.rs800.org/championships/cindex.asp?eid=1487
Entry is open for your RS800 European Championship 12-14 May 17 at Medemblik SC, Netherlands. The info is here: http://www.rs800.org/championships/cindex.asp?eid=1478
And finally still the very last few spaces available for the RS800 coaching weekend 21-22 May at Itchenor SC with Harvey Hillary and Stevie Wilson as the awesome coaches. Tickets on sale here: http://www.rs800.org/index.asp?Fleet=RS800&selection=Shop
Report by Dan Goodman
Photographs thanks to Tim Olin
Prize winners Luke and Emma with Rutland SC Commodore John Fothergill