RS End of Seasons Regatta – RS400
The final remnants of Storm Ciaran made a damp and chilly start for the 15 hard crews who battled through the downpours for the final RS400 Rooster National tour event of 2023. Rigging was optimised to allow maximum time in the clubhouse watching the late arrivals getting soaked while clutching a hot cup of tea to restore some feeling to cold hands.
Day one saw the breeze initially hovering around 12-15 knots before dying away through the day. A tight and shifty racecourse right on the shoreline made for close racing, with seconds proving the difference between a great race or a discard. Finding the conditions rather too easy were series leaders Ollie Groves and Esther Parkhurst, taking a couple of bullets and a 2nd to lead comfortably overnight. Often sniffing around the lead, and snatching the final bullet of the day was Dave Exley and Alistair Coates to sit in 2nd with a gaggle of boats in close attendance behind. In with a shout of a podium finish at their first national event were Richard and Gemma Hanby proving that in the lighter conditions they could really mix it with the top crews.
An efficient turn around by the race team meant plenty of time for everyone to dry out before an evening at the local wheatsheaf, once again very well attended and a definite highlight of any Rutland event.
Sunday dawned bright and dry, although those of us enjoying breakfast at the local Best Western were treated to an uninterrupted view of the white horses blowing down the race area. A hyperspeed reach with the kite down the startline confirmed the conditions were definitely ‘fun’, and those keen enough to think about such subjects as rake and rig tension were seen to be popping the pins another few holes down on the shroud plates. The first race saw a monster course set up northerly leg of the reservoir, with only 2 laps possible in 40 minutes of racing. Once again Ollie and Ether were setting the pace, with a blinding last leg from Sam Knight and Chris Bownes popping them into 2nd ahead of Dave and Alistair. With the bit between their teeth, Sam and Chris went on to take the remaining two bullets, with a 2nd in the second race being enough for Ollie and Esther to take the overall event. Getting their own back with a final leg move in the final race, Dave and Alistair took 2nd by a single point from Sam and Chris with the ever-consistent Tom Halhead and Paul Hilliar in 4th.
The final event win was the cherry on the cake for Ollie and Esther who had already wrapped up the overall series after a stellar year on the circuit. Sam and Chris had done enough to defend a close 2nd place from Tom and Paul, closely followed by Hamish Gledhill/Ross Southwell and Sam Watson/Geoff Edwards in 4th and 5th. 112 boats took part in the national tour this year, with 63 attending more than one event, a fantastic achievement for a fleet approaching its 30th Anniversary. Next year promises to be even better, with a special anniversary event at Hayling Island celebrating everything RS before in addition to the regular tour events. Planning is already underway for the fleets 30th National championships at Royal Torbay yc, if you have previously owned or are looking at an RS400 there isn’t a better time to be getting into the fleet.
Finally, the tour couldn’t continue to be so successful without the backing of its sponsors. Huge thanks must go to Rooster for sponsoring both the final event and the overall series, as well as many of the prizes right across the fleet.
See you next year!
Sam Knight, RS400 Class Chair
Full results for all classes - RS200, RS300, RS400, RS500, RS600, RS800, RS Vareo
Photos thanks to Don Munro and Natalie Smith