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    Loch Tummel SC Sprints – RS400 Scottish Tour Event 1 Report

    This year’s Scottish RS400 Tour kicked off on the 16th of April at Loch Tummel SC, with 6 boats arriving from around the country and all raring to go for a busy day of racing ‘sprints’. The forecast for the weekend promised exciting racing, with sunny patches and a steady 15-20kts all day – as long as the possibility of snow wasn’t mentioned.

    After some good time fettling boats into racing trim after a long winter, the race committee wasted no time in getting racing underway with a planned three short races then a lunch break, followed by two more races after lunch. Once on the water it quickly became apparent that a northerly forecast for Tummel meant the reality was wind coming from every conceivable direction other than north – the order of the day for a good race was a close eye on the weather and spotting the shifts and gusts first. This made for exciting and close racing, with no result ever being a foregone conclusion and competition staying close from start to finish with overtakes and position changing aplenty.

    Race 1 set the tone for the day, with the first beat being anyone’s game, and every run coming down to who caught the better gust. After a close start, MacKenzie/Box and Webley/Moran managed to hold ahead of the pack to take 1 and 2, and their contest from Bolton/Bridgefoot coming to an end with a capsize on the second beat. By race 2, the course bias that defined the strategy for the first race had evaporated and switched to the opposite side, allowing Marshall/Barnett to sneak to the front of the fleet and bite at MacKenzie/Box’s heels despite a capsize each. A well spotted channel of wind allowed MacKenzie/Box to hold them off and take the bullet, while Marshall/Barnett proved that lacking a wingwang on one side was no obstacle in such flukey winds and took second.

    After a wild start and two capsizes within boat lengths of the line, a race was canned due to a drifting mark, and the fleet headed in early for a much needed lunch of pie, beans, and soup, having remembered the temperature is still that of Scotland in April.

    Most of the fleet then headed back out for race 3, with Davies/McMinn making the tactical decision that it was warmer on shore. The race got off to a flying start, with Bolton/Bridgefoot sniffing out the good wind and disappearing into the sunset. With the rest of the fleet fighting for second and third. MacKenzie/Box managed a last minute dash to the finish line just before the forecast 20kt gust descended from nowhere and hit the rest of the fleet, sadly putting an end to Webley/Moran’s day racing. A big lift on the start line of race 4 saw Bolton/Bridgefoot OCS and Marshall/Barnett leading the pack to the mark, but Taylor/McLeod chose the run to find their breeze and get forward to take second, then holding it with some strong tactical sailing. As the last race of the day began, the wind finally began to look vaguely settled and eased off, but still with the odd surprise of one boat beating and another boat on a kite run, despite being on the same leg.

    At the end of the day, a big congratulations goes to John MacKenzie and Andy Box who scored enough firsts to christen their shiny new craft with an event win (and raise suspicion that RS is now selling boats with some kind of wind radar), while the runners up had a close competition with just a point each between second, third, and fourth. Peter Taylor and Rob McLeod came out on top, taking the runners up prize, and Angus Marshall and Imogen Barnett completed the podium in third place. However, the real coveted prize of ‘Most Upright Boat’ was awarded to Peter Taylor and Rob McLeod, who set themselves apart from the fleet with an outstanding zero capsizes across the whole day.

    A big thanks goes to Loch Tummel SC for a great event, with great hospitality and managing to run some good racing in very tough wind conditions. Thanks also goes to tour sponsor JP Watersports, and event sponsors The Scottish Soup Company for their support of the event. The next date on the calendar for the tour is Port Edgar training and racing weekend held over 14th/15th of May, which promises great coaching from RS400 top gun sailor Stewart Robertson. We’re all looking forward to seeing everyone there for another weekend of great sailing and close racing!


    This image by Angie Sword.  More at https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B7iRcKmJlE_wWGJ3Q21nMXNjbjg&usp=sharing

    Angus Marshall

    Full results to follow

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