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RS400 TridentUK Northern Tour at Carsington Sailing Club

by Dave Exley 18 May 15:35 PDT 13-14 May 2023
RS400 TridentUK Northern Tour at Carsington © Helen Dennison

Carsington SC gave a friendly welcome to 16 boats with sunshine and gentle F2-3 NE. Unfortunately, by the time the race team had set the course and all the competitors had made it to the start line, the breeze had died to a just moveable 4-5 knots.

With 30 seconds to go, the breeze shut off completely, leaving half the fleet stranded well back from the line. A weak left-hand shift allowed Dave Exley and Nige Hall (Leigh & Lowton SC) and Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman (Bassenthwaite SC) to tack off the line onto port and extend into a healthy lead by the first mark. The wind held just enough to fly spinnakers down the first run, but once again vanished by the leeward gate.

Dave and Nige led and picked left, Chris and Matt gambled (sorry, I mean spotted new emerging wind) and went right! Chris and Matt took the lead, but on the final downwind leg, the fickle breeze shifted 180 deg, allowing Dave and Nige an ember of hope that was rapidly stamped out by Chris and Matt who took the win, from Dave and Nige. Hamish Gledhill and Rich Brown (West Riding SC) came through the fleet strongly to take 3rd.

The look of the lake gave no hope of starting the second race, and as the forecast was for even less (if that was possible) the race team took the popular decision to postpone ashore and gave everyone the opportunity to go for a nap / run round the lake / go for a walk to the pub and start drinking early!

The galley did a popular pie, chips, peas and gravy and we all settled down to be entertained by Quizmaster Extraordinaire John Cunningham and great evening was had by all.

Whilst eating our bacon butties and drinking tea the next morning, a lingering fog meant we only had 100m visibility and zero wind. Could the open meeting count just one race as an official result? a kindly Carsington member offered the use of all the clubs paddle boards so that we could get another two races in somehow, and the amendment to the sailing instructions for the hybrid event rules were just being aired when the fog started lifting, the sun started appearing and ripples could be seen on the water.

Off we all trotted to rig and race, some thankful, some not so, that we had reverted to the planned sailing event after all.

Thankfully the wind built to a variable 4-8kt South Westerly with 30 deg wind shifts and holes ready to catch out even the most diligent. The race team nailed their colours to the mast and got us under way. John Cunningham and Nicky Cockayne (Carsington SC) made early gains up the right but once again Chris and Matt came away from the line strongly in the middle with the rapidly improving Sam Watson and Geoff Edwards (Nantwich & Borders SC) putting in a strong performance and tucking in just behind Chris and Matt all the way to the last leg which eventually turned into a one sided starboard run. Dave and Nige finished 3rd.

The wind direction was now proving a challenge for the race team and competitors alike, and after abandoning a very pin biased start line for race 3 due to a strong left-hand shift, decided to reposition the Race boat to take account of this shifting breeze. No sooner had the race got cleanly away, but the wind flicked to a strong right-hand phase catching many out.

Hamish and Rich punched their way into a commanding lead from the right which they held to the end. Chris and Matt showed great consistency holding onto second as the final downwind leg once again became one sided (this time in the opposite direction to the last race) and once again Sam and Geoff put in "we're not going away lads" kind of performance with a solid 3rd hot on the heels of the leaders.

The race team were once again very busy in between races: the windward mark being moved right by the tireless rescue rib team in an effort to even out the right-hand shift. However at the start of race 4 the wind was persistently right and with the fleet bunching at the committee boat end we were all punished with a general recall and then black flag start. Louise McKeand and Sean Ratcliffe (Leigh & Lowton SC) had a rush of blood and were caught out OCS (worth a mention as Louise is famous for her more common relaxed starting strategy).

Normal service was resumed at the front, as Chris and Matt timed a perfect committee boat start. Dave and Nige fought for second with Hamish and Rich for a leg, until Hamish turned on the afterburners, left Dave and Nige for dead and nearly overtook Chris at the finish. Chris' comment whilst soaking up the race victory in the hot sunshine: "Hamish was flippin' rapid in that one!"

Race 5 was another bun fight for the committee boat end, this time Hamish timed it right and tacked immediately hunting down the right-hand travellator of glory. With this hot duo team now working together in perfect harmony, Hamish and Rich extended away from the fleet to lead by a seemingly unassailable lead.

In a dying and shifting breeze the hunting pack now gybed before the spreader mark and set off searching for the downwind left-hand travellator. Hamish had missed it and as the fleet all compressed at the leeward mark the top 5 places were randomly selected by the hand of God - oh and a little bit of shouting. Dave and Nige dodged the mayhem and got their noses out to take the win, with Hamish and Rich licking their wounds in second. Sam and Geoff settled for 3rd, whilst Chris and Matt accepting by far their worst result of the weekend with a 4th!

As the wind dropped and swung randomly once again, the race committee decided that 4 back-to-back races in those conditions was more than enough and everyone agreed to call it a good day.

Chris and Matt were worthy winners showing remarkable consistency in the challenging conditions. At the prize-giving, they thanked the club for a wonderful effort all round.

Trident-UK Voucher Winners: £10 Carl Whitehead, £15 Jacob Ainsworth, £20 Louise Mckeand

Next Event: Filey SC 19 & 20 May

Overall Results:

PosBoat nameSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stZapp1453Chris PicklesMatt SharmanBassenthwaite SC1121‑45
2nd 1511Hamish GledhillRichard BrownWest Riding SC3‑41228
3rd 1460Dave ExleyNigel HallLeigh and Lowton23‑5319
4th 854Geoff Edwards  ‑7236314
5th 1461Caroline ExleyAlistair CoatesLeigh and Lowton‑6545519
6th 1513Neil ParkhurstOllie Groves 4‑874823
7th 693William HitchmanMick SteerCarsington SC5‑12810629
8th 1029John CunninghamNicky CockayneCarsington SC86‑118931
9th 861Gerard BarronAlistair Barron 111167‑1235
10thLouby Blou1191Louise McKeandSean Ratcliffe 10912(OCS)738
11th 1410Jacob AinsworthKayleigh Roberts 1279(OCS)1038
12thOrangutan1427Carl WhiteheadCarol MilnerFiley SC/910109‑1138
13th 1383Phil RobinsonTim CresswellCarsington SC‑141413111351
14th 795Tim BirdSam Norfolk‑BoothCarsington SC‑151314121453
15th 575Richard GreenTim DuncanCarsington SC13(DNC)DNCDNCDNC73
16th 1369Alexander AlcockAlistair Coates (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC80
16th 1175Fred LordLouise GaleCarsington SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC80
16th 1362Neil ParkhustEsther Parkhurst (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC80

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