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Rooster Rope4Boats RS400 Northern Championship at South Shields Sailing Club

by Jacob Ainsworth 22 May 2018 22:24 PDT 19-20 May 2018
RS400 Rooster Rope4Boats Northern Championship © Tim Olin /

With a steady F3-4 from the South East and 19 degrees (standard Northern weather) forecast all weekend, a record entry of 29 boats turned up for the Rooster Rope4Boats Northern Championship at South Shields Sailing Club with an international fleet assembling with entries from Sandringham YC (Australia), Tauranga SC (New Zealand) and Aberdeen & Stonehaven (Scotland)...

The fleet launched and headed out through the piers into the south bay to find a nationals length 0.7 mile beat awaiting them. Shortly after the fleet launched, Angus 'efficient' Marshall & Imogen Barnett (DBSC) arrived, keeping up traditions of missing yet another Saturday morning briefing but amazingly never a race.

A well-behaved fleet got away first time for the first race; setting the trend for the weekend. Williamson / Brameld (Welton SC) stormed into an early lead to round the windward mark ahead of the chasing pack. They held onto the lead for a second lap before venturing for an early slot gasket inspection during a gybe allowing Exley / Lunn (LLSC) to pass into the lead who held on to the finish followed by Cleary / Nixon (Oxford / Tauranga) and Ridgway / Dawson (Sandringham / LLSC) who stole a 3rd from a photo finish with Ainsworth / Roberts (SSSC).

Race 2 was soon underway in a building breeze. Most of the fleet had now detected that the main gains to be made upwind were on the right hand side of the course out of the tide, as the wind stayed straight as a die, creating a dog fight for the committee boat end of the line. Cleary / Nixon rounded the windward mark in front with Exley / Lunn breathing heavily down their neck as the 2 boats pulled clear of the fleet. Clearly / Nixon covered well for the gruelling 50 minute race holding off Exley / Lunn for the victory who was closely followed by Pickles / Sharman (Delph) finishing in 3rd.

The wind had now picked up to a solid F4 making for some exhilarating downwind sailing; solid gybes were essential to avoid any more unnecessary slot gasket inspections. With the big breeze, Somerville / Roberts (Bassenthwaite) were in their element and found themselves early race leaders, only to be eventually ground down by Exley / Lunn who took the win followed by Somerville / Roberts and Cleary / Nixon in 3rd.

As the boats headed ashore, there were many smiling yet weary faces after a day of Lambrini conditions and dolphin chasing off the shore of Costa Del Shields. After a quick nap on the beach, competitors were ready to refuel and indulged in an array of homemade curries and puddings before hitting the bar. The 8 boat strong Scottish fleet kept up their reputation of propping the bar open till late. The highly sought-after pintles of shame were soon doing the rounds but eventually awarded to Phil Britton after some persistence, after he finally gave up trying to fit his 400 into a catamarans under cover when packing his boat away during the week.

Day 2 dawned with a light breeze which steadily built to a steady F3-4 again from the South East. Race 4 saw Exley / Lunn carry on from where they left off on the Saturday as they took the win from Ridgway / Dawson and Somerville / Roberts carried on their form from the final race of Saturday with a 3rd.

By race 5, the tide was starting to flow north more heavily meaning it paid dividends to keep right out of the tide. Local boat Ainsworth / Roberts took advantage and hit hard right to round the windward mark in first holding onto the lead for 2 laps before being surpassed by the top form teams Exley / Lunn to take the win followed by Cleary / Nixon in second and Ainsworth / Roberts in third. Exley and Lunn secured their 4th bullet of the weekend to crown them Northern Champions with a race to spare, they headed in for an early shower to give someone else a go at the front for the final race.

The wind started to ease slightly for the final race of the weekend opening the racing to the slightly lighter crews amongst the fleet. However, it was Cleary / Nixon who took the opportunity in Exley / Lunns absence to go on to dominate the race for a win and to seal 2nd overall, followed by Somerville / Roberts in 2nd to take 3rd overall.

At the prize giving Dave Exley thanked sponsors of the National tour Rooster and Northern tour sponsors Rope4Boats along with South Shields Sailing Club and the race officer Howard Stevenson for some excellent sea courses and quick turnarounds between races. The two winners of the Rope4Boats raffle were Pete Snowdon and Phil Britton (I don't think they make under covers).

Next on the Rooster National tour is the Scottish Championships at East Lothian YC (2nd – 3rd June) and next up on the Rope4Boats Northern tour is Yorkshire Dales (2nd June).

More Tim Olin photos can be found here.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
11460Dave ExleyMark LunnLeigh & Lowton SC12111(DNS)6
21377Sean ClearyAnnalise NixonOxford / Tauranga sc213-5219
31082Mark SomervilleJoe RobertsBassenthwaite SC6623-8219
41467Paul RidgwayAndy DawsonSandringham YC/LLSC37(15/XPA30%)25522
5669Jacob AinsworthKayleigh RobertsSouth Shields SC45(DNF)113629
61319Ben RobertsonKenny DouglasDalgety Bay SC84746(DNS)29
71283Chris PicklesMatt SharmanDelph SC-103479730
8847Ian MartinLiam AlcockSouth Shields SC11-16587839
91124Robert YeamansNadia YeamansAberdeen & Stonehaven YC-1311101011345
101465Ben WilliamsonRich BrameldWelton SC912(DNS)941448
111396Richard CatchpoleGary CoopLeigh & Lowton Sailing Club1699610(DNS)50
12874Jon GayAmanda HendersonLochaber Yacht Club-1710121215453
131157Phil MurrayNeil SchofieldTynemouth SC12-13813121055
14768Angus MarshallImogen BarnettDalgety Bay Sailing Club1981114-22961
151262Jon WillarsCharlie TicehurstWelton SC5141318-211969
161096Peter TaylorBrian GreerDalgety Bay SC15-171416131169
17844Brendan LynchEwan RycroftPEYC7(DNF)1720181375
181184Stuart WilliamsRoss SouthwellArmy Sailing Assocation1415(DNF)1714DNF84
191265Colin DaviesRoger TaitAberdeen and Stonehaven yc1818-2015171684
20973David GebhardJackie GebhardTynemouth SC-24221821161289
21725Jason RibyNiall GrahamSouth Shields SC212019-23191594
221445Phil BrittonMike AtkinsonDalgety Bay SC202316-25201796
231196Peter SnowdonTBC TBCScaling Dam SC22191519(DNF)2297
24521Steve LoweIzzy RobertsonSouth Shields SC-262422222418110
25519John BrookesDonna FountainTynemouth SC(DNS)2121272720116
261148Hester RobertsonRichard HopeDalgety Bay SC23-2523242323116
27810Richard FaheyJonny HollidayTynemouth SC25-26DNS262521122
2810NIck HarrisonChris AlbertSouth Shields SC272724-2826DNS128
291136Nathan BatchelorSarah KincaidTynemouth SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNSDNSDNS141

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