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17/10/2020
Rooster West Country Boat Repairs RS400 Open

    The forecast wasn’t looking too good for Burghfield.  However, any time in the boat is a bonus at the moment and a race would give the sails a chance to dry out after Grafham so we headed off down the M4 (plus detour).

    There was an early physics lesson in electrical conductivity; if you park your boats under the high voltage electricity lines it charges up the metal boat parts.  This didn’t just affect visitors, as Nick Craig demonstrated while looking up his mast to check it was straight.  This obviously galvanised him into action off the starts and although the lead was occasionally alternating, current national champions Nick Craig and Toby Tastic conducted a masterclass charging ahead in each race leaving the rest of the fleet static in their wake.

    The wind was even lighter, shiftier and more fickle than forecast.  Occasionally non-existent.  The racing was however extremely close and tense, with 15 committed teams (and another rigged on the beach) engaged in slow motion sprints around the course.  The lake had islands and 300s to navigate around – at one point the 400s were beating back down “the run” towards the beating 300s off their start.

    Race 1 had a congested start but a group broke free and led an everchanging order of 400s.  The direct route was not always the quickest as Jon Heissig/ Nicky Griffin showed when arriving at the windward mark with the spinnaker up.  This eventually got them up to second behind Nick and Toby with the group finishing close after, headed by Andy Hadfield.

    Race 2 started off in optimistic spirits and there was just enough of a zephyr to get round to the finish.  We did get overtaken by some swimming beetle near the island.  Nick and Toby led the fleet into lunch, followed by Mike Simms / Mark Lunn and Sam Knight / Chris Bownes.

    Lunch was sociably socially distanced.  Race 3 was again variable, the only consistency being Nick and Toby.  They were chased by Sam and Chris, followed by Jack Holden / Rob Henderson and Richard Ashwell / Trisha Clancy who had used lunch to recover from a dizzying spell of turns in Race 2.

    Race 4 was relocated and changed to a square from windward leewardish.  There were opportunities to overtake entire groups of becalmed boats, or sit frustrated as a boat sailed past in their own socially distanced wind a couple of metres away.  From a tricky start Steve and Sarah Cockerill quickly got clear into second behind a still highly charged Nick and Toby who threatened to lap the fleet.  Sam and Chris held on to third.

    There was little doubt about the overall winners who received a blast of “We are the Champions” from the club tannoy as they landed.  Behind was harder to determine, but Sam and Chris got second followed by Steve and Sarah in third.

    Many thanks must go to Burghfield Sailing Club and race team for running such a positive and friendly socially distanced event.  There was also much appreciation from the competitors for the circuit sponsors Rooster Sailing and their generous contribution to the prizes.

    Hopefully see you at Rutland circuit breaker permitting!

     

    Jon Heissig

    https://www.burghfieldsailing.org/series/3409

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