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Photos: Gerard Vanden Hoek 


There are many stories around at the moment about numbers dropping in our sport, about participation, both at club and open meetings, being disappointing. However, in the North of England the RS400 fleet is bucking the trend with their best ever year for numbers of boats competing in their Rope4Boats sponsored Northern Tour – 93 boats in total!

Dave Exley, the RS400 Northern Rep puts this down to the friendliness and welcoming nature of the fleet just as much as the design and sailability of the boat

“We’ve had a great summer, with lots of new people joining the fleet and a loyal core of sailors who can’t find anything better than a 400 for close, tactical, inland and coastal sailing. The 2nd had market for boats is also buoyant,with older boats holding their value well and still remaining competitive, meaning that you don’t have to buy a brand spanker to get to the front of the fleet.”

“Much of the credit for our success this year must also go to the clubs running these Northern Tour events – they go the extra mile to make the 400’s feel welcome and arrange a good social on the Saturday night which makes all the difference, especially if the wind doesn’t play ball. People are not just turning up for the sailing – it’s a great weekend away with like-minded people of all ages and backgrounds, we want everyone to feel they’ve enjoyed themselves whatever the result on the water. We’ve even got a couple who come all the way from Melbourne Australia to spend the summer on our Tour – if it’s good enough for them, it’s got to be good enough for you!”

And the 400 fleet is not just thriving in the North. Both the Sottish and Southern Tours are very well attended as well.

Dave is hoping for an even better year next year, with 2 new venues added to the circuit. Why not join them for the perfect mix of fast, competitive sailing and great socials.

Heather Cipperfield.

Photos by Gerard Vanden Hoek

2019 RS400 Rope4Boats Northern Tour (7 events 4 to count):

23/24 March: Leigh and Lowton SC (Winter Champs)

13/14 April: Bassenthwaite SC (Great Northern Asymmetric Challenge)

11/12 May: South Shields SC (Northern Champs)

22/23 June: Bala SC (Great British Sailing Challenge)

6/7 July: Ulswater YC (Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy)

7/8 September: Notts County SC (2018 Club of the Year)

21/22 September: Carsington SC


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