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Winter Championships

RS400 Winter Championships at Leigh and Lowton SC sponsored by Rope4Boats and Rooster

Sometimes sailing is a frustrating sport!

And this was one of those weekends. The worst wind direction (southerly) that Leigh and Lowton SC hoped would never turn up, did just that: Wind strength from F0-F4 and wind shifts of 40/50 degrees for all 7 of the tormenting, gruelling, sweat inducing, mind fuzzing races. At least there was some wind, good company and cheap beer – and God knows we needed it after those races!

It’s easy to say it now, but a calm head and keeping clear of packs of boats was the key to getting a half decent result – the leaders would pull away in slightly clearer air from the pack who were left to fight it out in a snakes and ladders battle for the crumbs. There were moments of brilliance: John and Nicky port tacked the whole fleet easily on race 2 (I think) and many more moments of madness: Wayne and Martin caught their pole the wrong side of the leeward mark just as 5 or so other boats were attempting to round. Tom Coates was literally flung into the water by the G Force of Hamish’s “smooth as silk” gybing which lead to the purchase of a new burgee! Countless occasions at the windward mark, inevitably very close to the shore, where boats rafted up together in zero wind, only then to be overtaken by the next boat behind complete with big grins on faces but more sweat on others!

Safe to say that if you’ve never sailed at Leigh and Lowton in a Southerly, then you haven’t lived!

It has to be said that the Race Officer and his team did a great job to set any sort of course that the majority considered fair, but he did manage it, albeit with a degree of inevitable faff on Sunday morning, when the breeze played a South Easterly card for a little while. The race team also managed to fit in an amazing 4 races on Sat and 3 on Sunday, finishing in enough time for everyone to be away by 2.30pm on Sunday. 2 discards helped some of the inevitable bad results to be discarded from the score sheet but not from the mind!

When I look back, all the races are a bit of a fuzz. I can’t pretend to remember the goings on in each race, so I’ll just pick out some boats for you.

Wayne Fletcher and Martin Cooper (Scaling Dam) started to remind everyone of their yester year dominance and took a 2nd in race 4.

Hamish Gledhill and Tom Coates (youngest crew – 16 yrs) (Leigh and Lowton / Budworth) were sailing together for the first time and after a couple of practice races posted a second followed up by very consistent series.

Richard Catchpole, sailing with Gary Coop (Leigh and Lowton) has been taking it easy due to a long term shoulder issue, so many were surprised to even see them on the water with big gusts and wind direction changes, but they still posted a second and a fourth in the first 2 races to be in the early running.

Yours truly (Leigh and Lowton SC) sailing with Alistair Coates (Budworth) had his head mashed from the start with an OCS followed by a race win, but never managed to capitalise on any consistency despite a perceived home advantage.

Sam Knight and Chris Bownes (sorry for pronouncing your surname “Downes” during the prize giving) from Bartley SC had a head scratching 1st day, but after a night on the beers and games for Chris and a night for Sam attending to his new born midnight feeding duties, they were back on Sunday with vengeance winning the day with a 1,1,3 score line – what could have been? They finished 3rd overall.

Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman (Bassenthwiate SC) showed little sign of buckling under Northern Tour pressure, keeping all their counting results under 4th place to take second overall and win the overall Rope4Boats Northern Tour Trophy from Dave and Alistair by just one point – another close run series!

Finally, what can we say about the emerging force in the 400s that is Ollie Groves with super crew Sophie Stockton (drafted in from Devon for just this event). This is Ollie’s first Northern Tour event win, but I think from the consistent, dominant way that he did it, it won’t be his last.

In his victory speech, Ollie was gracious in his thanks for the Race Teams efforts, the great food all weekend from the galley, and the Saturday night Games (hilarious short video of the Twerk Off final on the Northern RS400 Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/170725186284627/ ) and Northern Tour organising from yours truly.

Prizes were awarded to the following competitors:

Rope4Boats Vouchers: David and Alison Gray (Leigh and Lowton SC). Ian Webber-Rostron and Luke Harrison (Delph SC)

Rooster Hats: Charlie Exley (youngest helm – 16 years) and Caroline Exley (Leigh and Lowton SC). Jacob Ainsworth and Kayleigh Roberts (Tynemouth SC). John Willars and Mark Atherton (Welton SC and Leigh and Lowton SC).

Rope4Boats Hats: Stuart Halman and Anna Walsh (Leigh and Lowton SC). Peter Snowdon and Louise Carr (Shoreham SC). Bill Kenyon and Martin Spencer (Budworth SC / Leigh and Lowton SC). Louise McKeand and Nigel Hall (Leigh and Lowton SC). Mark Dinsdale and Ness Evans (Leigh and Lowton SC)

Next year, the Northern Tour gets a change of Sponsor: Trident-UK take over the reins from Rope4Boats.co.uk. All the organisers and competitors on the RS400 Northern Tour would like to extend their gratitude to Rope4Boats for their generous support over the last 4 years.

Report by Dave Exley.

Photos: Adam Catlow

Rank Sail No Club HelmName CrewName R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 Total Nett
1st 1316 Beaver SC Ollie Groves Sophie Stockton -4 2 -3 1 1 2 3 16 9
2nd 1283 Bassenthwaite SC Pix Matt 1 -6 1 -8 2 4 4 26 12
3rd 1376 Bartley SC Sam Knight Chris Bownes 5 5 -8 -6 3 1 1 29 15
4th 1460 Leigh and Lowton SC Dave Exley Alistair Coates (23.0 OCS) 1 4 3 -8 5 2 46 15
5th 1508 Leigh and Lowton SC Richard Catchpole Gary Coop 2 4 -7 7 5 (23.0 DNF) 6 54 24
6th 1511 Leigh and Lowton SC Hamish Gledill Tom Coates -9 -8 2 5 4 7 7 42 25
7th 1502 Llangorse SC Jon Heissig Nicky Griffin 3 3 9 -11 7 3 -10 46 25
8th 1428   Wayne Fletcher Martin Cooper 6 7 5 2 6 -8 (23.0 DNF) 57 26
9th 1456 Scaling Dam SC Barrie Thornton Nick Hunt 7 -9 6 4 (23.0 OCS) 9 5 63 31
10th 1396 Leigh and Lowton SC Mark Dingsdale Ness Evans -11 11 -13 9 10 6 11 71 47
11th 1191 Leigh and Lowton SC Louise McKeand Nigel Hall 10 -12 11 -12 9 10 9 73 49
12th 1401 Budworth SC Bill Kenyon Martin Spencer 8 14 12 -17 (23.0 OCS) 11 12 97 57
13th 1503 Shoreham SC Peter Snowden Louise Carr -15 10 14 10 11 13 -15 88 58
14th 1465 Welton SC John Willars Mark Atherton 13 (23.0 DNF) -15 15 12 12 8 98 60
15th 1453 Leigh and Lowton SC Stuart Halman Anna Walsh 12 13 10 -14 13 (23.0 DNC) 13 98 61
16th 1461 Leigh and Lowton SC Charlie Exley Caroline Exley 16 -17 -17 16 17 14 14 111 77
17th 1410 Tynemouth Jacob Ainsworth Kayleigh Roberts 14 15 (23.0 OCS) 13 14 (23.0 DNF) 23.0 DNC 125 79
18th 543 Delph SC Ian Webber-Rostron Luke Harrison -19 18 18 -19 15 15 16 120 82
19th 1029 Carsington SC John Cunningham Nicky Cockayne 17 16 16 18 (23.0 DNC) (23.0 DNC) 23.0 DNC 136 90
20th 1298 Leigh and Lowton SC David Gray Alison Gray 18 20 19 -21 16 (23.0 DNF) 17 134 90
21st 1383 Carsington SC Phil Robinson Emily Cockayne 20 19 20 20 (23.0 DNC) (23.0 DNC) 23.0 DNC 148 102
22nd 1175 Carsington SC Fred Lord Louise Gale (23.0 DNC) (23.0 DNC) 23.0 DNC 23.0 DNC 23.0 DNC 23.0 DNC 23.0 DNC 161 115
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