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RS400 Rooster & Zest Southern Tour at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club

by Howard Farbrother 8 Apr 04:11 PDT 6-7 April 2019
RS400 Rooster & Zest Southern Tour at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club © Primrose Salt

A small but refined group of RS400s took to the water at the highly hospitable Chew Valley over the weekend, courtesy of Bristol Water. A busy weekend for the club who also hosted the RS200s, University team racing, and the occasional early season flying insect.

Saturday produced a fine but light dribble from the south-west, followed by a bracing 12-15kt North-Easterly breeze for the Sunday. Saturday's light airs and glorious sunshine gave plenty of time to admire the rolling Somerset countryside, and the unique way it messed with the wind.

Many unique comments were heard as the RS400 fleet tried to unpick its way up the first beat, and crawl back downwind without falling into the holes. Many tried, few succeeded. The dice rolling continued for two such races before the RO took pity and finished up for the day, promising a much better, if mildly less relaxing day on Sunday.

The fleet retired to Cheddar gorge for a pre tourist-season meal, a few beers and traditional passing of the hindsight specs to better reflect on the day. The Black Dog Saloon in Cheddar stood out from the pack of traditional country pubs with its welcoming Western-style swing doors and acres of space, which was nice.

The next day dawned grey but with a fired-up fleet ready blow away the opposition, which is fortunately what had happened to the previous day's horde of winged spectators. With the wind in the opposite direction, and significantly stronger, the event effectively restarted, with some highly competitive starts and exploratory approaches to the first beat.

The right-hand side appeared to give some early gains, but downwind gust-spotting proved to be decisive. Sean Cleary and Annalise Nixon of Farmoor SC appeared to figure it out better than most, with some very consistent performances and enviable boat-handling, much to the collective admiration of those who were still shaking off the rust from the winter recess.

Steve and Sarah Cockerill were also putting in a good show, having led overnight from the previous day's fun, with a few others competing hard for the front few places, including Jon and Nicky Heissig, who had elected to miss the first day, Steve Restall and Chris Stubbs from customs-enclave of Folkstone, and Mick and Sarah Whitmore from the independent republic of Eastbourne.

Going into the last race it was still all to play for, but yet again, Messrs Cleary and Nixon stomped away from the fleet, and with the Cockerills managing an uncharacteristic fourth, Sean and Annalise finished the event two points clear to bring home a worthy event win, the Cockerills, second, and Howard Farbrother and Lou Hosken from Queen Mary sneaking into third. Next stop Queen Mary for a set of Sprints!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1377Sean ClearyAnnalise NixonOxford SC‑5411118
2nd1489Steve CockerillSarah CockerillStokes Bay SC11332‑510
3rd1418Howard FarbrotherLouise HoskenQueen Mary SC3‑5245317
4th1189Steve RestallChris StubbsDowns SC22‑654619
5th1454Jun HeissigNicky GriffinLlangorse SC(DNC)DNC423223
6th1479Mick WhitmoreSarah WhitmoreEastbourne Sovereign SC43‑767424
7th1429Neil BevingtonAlan SkeensLee‑on‑Solent6‑7576731
8th527Andy PowellIan VersoWarsash10101088(DNF)46
9th445Trevor GriffithsJonathan GriffithsRoadford SC9899(DNC)DNC47
10th944Alex KnightLorna GrahamCVLSC76(DNF)DNCDNCDNC49
11th1263Dave StocktonAndy SmithWimbleball898(DNF)DNFDNC49

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