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Rooster 8.1 grows up - First championship

by Event media on 23 Oct 2007
Rooster 8.1 National Championship 2007

You can always rely on Steve Cockerill to came up with something different, and putting a new rig into the ubiquitous Laser hull was radical, even for Steve. This is an Olympic class, both in its Standard and Radial forms, just about everyone has had a Laser, or at least sailed one, at some time. Laser had produced the Radial, the 4.7 - Steve went the contrary direction, he added more sail area!

Steve is a multi Laser Radial champion and has worked his way through a slew of single handers. With his Rooster chandlery brand he has cut a swath through the regular dinghy clothing and gear world, producing innovative equipment and sailing clothing - and finally the Rooster 8.1.

The Rooster 8.1 package is a mast/sail rig to supercharge the standard Laser hull. It comprises of a replacement 3.6 meter bottom mast section, which takes the standard topmast section and an all new 8.1 sq. meter sail, increasing the standard sail area by 1 sq meter.

The Rooster 8.1 is another niche product that is carefully targeted at its audience - Owners of a Laser who find they are growing a bit heavy (85+ Kilos) to compete with the optimum lighter weight sailors, are not interested in the Open circuit and probably have a sail that has seen better days.

>>> New Rooster 8.1 looks to be a Win - Win solution -

The first Nationals for the 8.1 was held at on Southampton Water and nineteen Rooster 8.1s turned out. Saturday morning with maximum winds forecast of 6 knots from the South East. Not ideal winds for most boats – but the Rooster 8.1s were relishing their first National Championships taking place at Weston Sailing Club in their rig that loves light winds!

The first start was clean, it was amazing looking around at nineteen boats with their huge rigs powering off in the 4 knot winds. Almost hiking, Ian Morgan (the Rooster 8.1 sail designer) lead at the first mark having taken the more ideal current on the left side of the course, closely followed by his girlfriend and local Weston sailor Kerry Tucker who was fully hiked, but she is a Laser Radial Sailor!

Steve Cockerill and Greg Carey probably took the less ideal route in the current and were both close behind, Downwind in an 8.1 is always quick, and with waves from passing shipping many were able to get onto the plane on the first reach, in just 4 knots! Steve Cockerill had the edge downwind to take the lead, but was pressed hard by Ian Morgan on the last beat to take the gun.

Cockerill finished the first day with two wins and a second, with Carey in second with a win, a second and a fourth. Third was Morgan with a second and two thirds. And with an AGM, a Chinese meal, then England vs France in the Rugby World Cup on the flat screen TV which ended up with a famous win – what more can you ask from the first day of a Championship.

Day two of the Rooster 8.1 National Championships and again light winds greeted the competitors. Cockerill again ruled but did not haver it all his own way. Morgan won the first race with Cockerill second and then in race two, Carey added a second win to his scoreline, with Cockerill again in second.

In the final race Carey and Cockerill could both still win. If Carey won the last race he would equal Steve’s points and wind on more firsts. Cockerill could however try to hold Carey up or even win the race to win with a comfortable margin.

The Race Officer was keen to get a short race in and the sailors were aware it might only be a couple of laps. After a close battle that had them both hiking to the max in 10 knots, it was Cockerill who crossed the line first ahead of Carey with Morgan third - also the championship result.

Overall there had been some remarkably close racing. The rig, although designed for the heavier weights had been sailed incredibly well by many very lightweights – Kerry Tucker is well under 70kg and she was regularly in the top seven, having sailed very smartly.

Winning the Championships had not been part of the script for Steve Cockerill, although perhaps the Class as a whole are the winner rather than the sailor who conceived the new Rooster 8.1.

Nineteen at its first National Championships is a real coupe representing eight sailing clubs from as far away as Cardiff and Derbyshire. Many are looking forward to events next season, a new class website and more sailors across the county to add to the 139 so far.

One of the sailors who had hired a rig for the event said 'it's five times better than a Laser'.

Rigs will always be available to hire, once you have tried one, you might not be able to put it down!

Rooster 8.1 - Final overall results

1st 81 Steve Cockerill 1 1 -2 2 2 1 7 pts
2nd 197 Greg Carey -4 2 1 3 1 2 9 pts
3rd 111 Ian Morgan 2 -3 3 1 3 3 12 pts
4th 92 Simon Barrington 3 5 5 -6 4 4 21 pts
5th 213 Larry Lawerence -13 4 8 4 6 8 30 pts
6th 178 Gavin Sharp 7 -10 4 10 5 5 31 pts
7th 158 Kerry Tucker 5 6 9 5 -13 10 35 pts
8th 195 Steve Marshall 6 7 6 -11 7 9 35 pts
9th 127 James Hewitt 11 9 7 12 8 (20 DNC) 47 pts
10th 157 Cliff Shaw 15 -16 10 9 9 6 49 pts
11th 196 Gareth Norton 9 8 -15 15 10 7 49 pts
12th 125 Chris Fyans 8 -14 11 13 11 12 55 pts
13th 212 Paul Webb 14 15 (20 DNC) 7 12 13 61 pts
14th 186 Dennis Fisher 12 13 17 8 15 (20 DNC) 65 pts
15th 205 Andrew Meek 10 11 13 -17 17 14 65 pts
16th 84 Grant Blake -18 12 12 16 16 11 67 pts
17th 194 Alan Hoy -17 17 16 14 14 15 76 pts
18th 199 Gavin Eadie 16 19 14 (20 DNC) 20 DNC 20 DNC 89 pts
19th 193 Johnny Foot 19 18 (20 DNC) 20 DNC 20 DNC 20 DNC 97 pts

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