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Rooster 2023 - Aquafleece - LEADERBOARD

RS400 Winter Championships sponsored by Trident UK and Rooster at Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club

by Richard Catchpole 30 Mar 05:04 PDT 25-26 March 2023
Winter Championships sponsored by Trident UK and Rooster at Leigh & Lowton © Dave Heaton

Both the Rooster National Tour and the Trident UK Northern Tour kicked off in some style this weekend, in a combined event, with winds to test the fittest competitors. 16 boats braved a big wind forecast to take to the water for their first Open of the season, the Winter Championships at Leigh & Lowton SC.

The first race started in a westerly 18 knot breeze but built quickly to 20-25 knots. The first windward mark and kite hoist saw many of the likely contenders taking a swim to start their day. Blustery winds meant that picking your moment to gybe or drop was crucial, especially down the left bank where the wind was strongest.

Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman (Bassenthwaite) kept the mast above the water to stretch out a very healthy lead by the end, followed by Dave Exley and Nigel Hall (LLSC). Sam Knight and Chris Bownes (Batley) fought back from their earlier capsize to take third.

Races 2 & 3 followed a similar pattern to each other, still in very blustery conditions. Sam and Chris scored 2 bullets to secure a slender overnight lead. Meanwhile Dave and Nige had to undo a "spinnaker knot like you've never seen" to give up a race-winning lead in the final race of the day.

Chris and Matt continued their good form while Richard Catchpole and Gary Coop (LLSC) and Alex Alcock and Alastair Coates (LLSC) made it into the top three for a couple of races.

After a day of multiple capsizes across the fleet, the competitors were relieved to get some food down them from the galley and recharge at the bar. Traditional LLSC games were held in the club lounge with the RS200 fleet and competitors were whittled down to a final few through a variety of energetic and technical challenges!

Unfortunately, the RS400 fleet were shown up by the RS200 sailors in the finals - they didn't have racing the following day (that's our excuse...)

As competitors rocked up the following morning, the reaction was much the same across the fleet when they saw 20 knots coming in from the other direction - another day of hiking in prospect on weary muscles!

Despite the wind coming from a "steady ENE" direction the wind shifts were huge, some 20-40 degrees on occasions, making life difficult for Cathy Partington and her team, who set great courses once again. This shifting wind resulted in some great close racing with multiple place changes on every lap throughout the fleet. The wind abated as the day progressed with only 8-10 knots for the last race to give the competitors some rest!

All the event leaders had a shocker of a result sometime in the day with the changeable conditions. Sam and Chris were best able to deal with the conditions and notch up two more wins on their way to clinching the Winter Championships.

Some new faces came to the front of the fleet, include Charlie and Caroline Exley (LLSC) and Hamish Gledhill and Ross Southwell (West Riding). Chris and Matt clung onto a fifth place in the last race to clinch second overall with Dave and Nigel's second in the last race securing them third.

A cracking season opener in sparkling conditions finished in bright sunshine and a light breeze, a far fetch from the start of the weekend.

TridentUK vouchers were drawn at the prize-giving - Mark Dingsdale and Ness Evans picked up £20, Fireman Sam and Geoff Edwards £15, and Steve Dawson and Nik James £10. Thanks to TridentUK and Rooster for their sponsorship again this year.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st1376Sam KnightChris BownesBartley311‑6117
2nd1453Chris PicklesMatt SharmanBassenthwaite1321‑10512
3rd1460Dave ExleyNigel HallLLSC225‑72213
4th1511Hamish GledhillRoss SouthwellWest Riding4‑6424317
5th1508Richard CatchpoleGary CoopLLSC‑54355421
6th1369Alex AlcockAlistair CoatesLLSC77‑837731
7th854Fireman SamGeoff EdwardsLLSC65‑12411632
8th1363Ross RyanOliver Ryan MooreNotts County99688‑1340
9th1461Charlie ExleyCaroline ExleyLLSC10‑1571231143
10th1524Stuart HalmanAnna WalshLLSC1189(DNF)6943
11th1396Mark DingsdaleNess EvansLLSC810‑11109845
12th1467Martin SpencerPaul HeathLLSC‑1411109131053
13th1191Louise MckeandSean RatcliffeLLSC1212‑1411121259
14th1161Chris JonesEwan McHenryWest Lancs1314161314(DNC)70
15th1479Steve DawsonNik JamesLLSC15‑161514161474
16th1306Julian MecklenburghClaudio MecklenburghLLSC(DNF)1313DNF15DNC75

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