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RS400s at the Harken RS Sprints, Rutland Sailing Club

by Paul Hilliar 30 Apr 21:54 PDT 22-23 April 2023

The Harken RS Sprints came to Rutland over the weekend April 22-23 April 2023 and the RS400s brought 18 boats to the party. With it being a multi-class RS event, there was plenty of boat yard banter and old friends to catch up with. The RS sailing family really is special in that regard.

The first day was all about qualifying for the Sunday Gold/Silver fleet racing and the fleet was split into four groups (red/blue/green/yellow) for six races - each group racing each other twice with races lasting about 25 minutes.

With 8-20 knots of wind, some giant wind shifts and no discards, the racing was super tight but you just couldn't keep the best sailors from rising to the top and at the end of day one it was Mike Simms and Jack Holden just leading from Ollie Groves and Esther Parkhurst. Those two boats were well clear, with third through to seventh separated by only three points.

Positions at the end of day one were then converted into points for day two.

Sunday arrived with wind outperforming the forecast and being mercifully stable (for most of the day at least). The fleet was now split into Gold/Silver with nine boats in each fleet and the standard of racing was outstanding.

In 6-12 knots Groves and Parkhurst were clearly the fastest boat early doors, winning the first three races and looking dominant with Simms and Holden fast but not close enough. But then the wind shifted right and the course was reset after an abandoned race. With the windward mark set closer into the bay, the final three races saw three different winners and it all went down to the final mark of the final race - Groves and Parkhurst doing just enough to win by a single point.

The top two of Groves and Parkhurst, and Simms and Holden were the class acts of the fleet and were well clear. Third through sixth were separated by only four points! It's worth reflecting on just how competitive the gold fleet racing was - the top three from the national championships finished 8th, 5th and 4th.

In the silver fleet Steve Restall and Chris Stubbs dominated the early races and did just enough to hold off the consistent Jamie Morgan and Anna-Louise Glendenning on a tie break.

It's hard to describe just how hectic and close the racing was but also how it was a load of fun. Special mention for the race management from Rutland SC, which was absolutely outstanding. They kept seven fleets rolling around a well-set course without too much inter-fleet interference. Bravo. Thank you to event sponsor Harken and to RS400 national tour sponsor Rooster.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubRound RobinR7R8R9R10R11R12Pts
Gold Fleet
1st1362Ollie GrovesEsther ParkhurstBeaver SC211123616
2nd1505Mike SimsJack HoldenChichester yacht club172212217
3rd1535Tom HalheadPaul HilliarLlandegfedd SC624484533
4th1449Jamie CalderKeith BedboroughDalgety Bay Sailing Club468336333
5th1528Christopher EamesRachel TilleyQueen Mary SC535748436
6th1511Hamish GledhillRoss SouthwellWest Riding Sailing Club349695137
7th1235Sam PickeringEmily HeathChichester Yacht Club856851942
8th1376Sam KnightChris BownesBartley SC783567743
9th854Sam WatsonGeoff EdwardsNantwhich & Borders SC997979858
Silver Fleet
1st1189Steve RestallChris StubbsRutland SC411421114
2nd1537Jamie MorganAnna‑Louise GlendenningRutland SC133212214
3rd1192Jack MunnellyLiam VassChichester Yacht Club222135419
4th1363Ross RyanOliver Ryan‑MooreNotts County sailing Club345OCS44535
5th1513Neil ParkhurstIan ParkhurstBeaver Sailing Club574556335
6th1450Nick EavesGreg PaceBartley SC66637DNCDNC48
7th1435Matthew SheahanEllie SheahanWarsash788OCS83650
8th1547John HobsonRebecca OgdenNotts County95766DNCDNC53
9th1355Paul ReynoldsMatthew ReynoldsNotts County Sailing Club8DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC68

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