Photos thanks to Stewartby WSC
RS300 Rooster National Tour at Stewartby WSC 30 Sept 23
September 30th dawned with a mirror finish over the water at Stewartby SC, which was unfortunate as the RS300 and DZero fleets would shortly be arriving for the open. As they arrived the competitors looked despondently at the water but unpacked anyway before thoroughly investigating the mood-elevating properties of a bacon sandwich.
Thankfully though Stewartby, lived up to the title of the Garda of the M1 (bestowed on it by former champion of both fleets Steve Bolland) with the wind building steadily from 1100hrs making all fears of an AP short-lived.
The RS300 fleet was six strong. Would last year’s winner Richard Hargreaves or his regular club sparring partner David Coulson’s local knowledge prove decisive? Would Rob Kennaugh's dominant form from Whitefriars continue? And although he's no lover if the light and flukey stuff no one would sensibly bet against class champion Harry McVicar. Simon Burbridge and Paul Bacon also natives of Stewartby SC as newcomers to the RS300 might not have been in the running for the top spot but they have been sparring together all year so the question was who would come out on top between them.
Race one: Dave and Richard banged the right side of the beat, was this local knowledge at work? As it turned out no! They got the 50/50 very wrong and found themselves trailing Rob and Harry (who went the right way) at the windward, before finding a nice big hole to sit in at the windward mark while Rob and Harry escaped towards the third mark. With the fleet now split into three well-spaced pairs there ensured a trio of match races. Rob Kennaugh’s white sail proved extremely fast in the light conditions. He took the win narrowly from Harry.
Race two: Undeterred be the failure to find wind up the right side of the course Dave and Richard again banged right, would it pay this time? No! Once again they found themselves 3rd and 4th at windward. And the race played out as an almost perfect duplicate save for Simon finding a way through on the beat to get the better of Paul.
Race three: After lunch there was drama on the start line: Harry looked for a gap that wasn’t there between Richard and the committee boat and was rewarded for his trouble with an impressive noise of of fibreglass crunching as the wing met the Committee boat. Thankfully no serious damage ensued. Harry took his penalty, allowing Richard to hold harry off for a lap and a half. Then Richard remembered that he must weight 30kg more than Harry and “let him through”. Richard then resumed his normal dual with club mate Dave. The wind continued to build to a gently F3 and with it Harry found the speed necessary to overtake Rob on the final lap to force a decider.
Race four: As the wind came up the racing got tighter: the four remaining boats reached the windward within seconds of each other (Simon and Paul had retired to the bar for the remainder of proceedings). Harry just managed to find a way through first and continued to extend his lead, leaving Rob, Richard and Dave to some tight boat on boat racing for the remainder of the race. Multiple changes of position on every lap ensued as the three battled until the decisive moment at windward on the final lap when Dave in the lead of the group just over-cooked his tack a little and suffered a capsize in front of Rob who just found a way through between Dave’s mast head and windward to stay ahead of Richard who went above. To Dave’s credit he was back up and running extremely quickly after the swim and with a large gust on the final reach he closed the gap with a decidedly determined look on his face. But it was just that little bit too much to do leaving a race series in which every position was decided by a countback.
Thank you to Stewartby WSC for hosting the event. Thank you to Rooster for sponsoring the RS300 National Tour.
Report by Richard Hargreaves