by Ian Payne
The first Harken Grand Prix event of the year brought 34 sailors to Rutland Water Sailing Club.
29er Harken Grand Prix at Rutland Water Sailing Club
Upon arrival the wind was fickle and light but picked up throughout the day and once racing began there was a steady 10 knots across the course allowing for some great racing. James Bolingbroke and Tim Walton took first blood to begin their event on top form and the four races to follow all had different race winners providing some excellent close racing all through the fleet. After the first day of racing James Bolingbroke and Tim Walton led the fleet with just one point separating them and Henry Lloyd- Williams and Sam Batten in second followed by Ian Payne and Chris Berry in third.
The second day began with a very light wind and many sailors asking whether the fleet would even sail, nevertheless the fleet launched on time and set out to complete the two remaining races. The light winds made for very close racing but Henry Lloyd Williams and Sam Batten managed to pick their way from gust to gust and make their way to the finish line first. With the wind dying the Race Officer managed to squeeze in another race before the wind completely shut off, which it did once or twice during the race, with one last gust of wind making its way down the lake during the last run to the finish it made for a very interesting and close fight to the line.
Robert Morris and George Shelley managed to hold onto their deserved lead and cross the line first with the rest of the fleet very close behind and certainly making finishing boats entertaining for those on the committee boat. Congratulations to Henry Lloyd Williams and Sam Batten for winning the first Harken Grand Prix of the year. Many thanks to Rutland Water for holding the event, the race management for providing some excellent racing and all the sailors for turning up and making the event a great success! Good luck to those attending the Youth Nationals and see the rest of you at Draycote Water at Easter!
With also the 'Try a 29er' taking place over the weekend, many aspiring young sailors came away with smiles on their faces, after experiencing the fun to be had on a 29er.
Many thanks to Harken for sponsoring the event and Ovington for their valued support.