A select band of boaters met at Carsington Sailing Club for the first Open meeting of
the RS700 2011 series. The location and scenery were stunning in the early spring
sunshine and even the quirky wind failed to dampen spirits. In fact, it would have been
a CSC v QMSC match but for Jon Heissig driving halfway across Britain.
Saturday began with wind calm and clear blue skies. The forecast F2-3 just about
kicked in for the first race at 1300hr and false alarms about improving wind conditions
were the story of the day. Those who read the patterns were well rewarded in the shifty, light wind.
Those a little late on parade for the first race were well rewarded by the sight of
Heissig’s “sail of shame” back to the beach to put the bung in.
Race 1 was a 2-lapper warm-up and Wales led from start to finish. Allan showed that a
little local knowledge is not a dangerous thing and pipped Heissig for 2nd on the last
reaching leg from the favoured southern side of the course.
In what is a tribute to the pride Carsington sailors take in appearances Bumby, noticing
some dirt on his mainsail one presumes, decided to wash it thoroughly at the first
windward mark. This had the beneficial effect of making the rounding more interesting
for the others.
In the 4-lap (shortened to 3) second race Heissig had learned his lesson and overhauled
Wales, who had led at the first windward mark, by making good use of the few gusts
that seemed to reach that southerly part of the lake and thereafter led to the finish
with some close racing behind. Your correspondent achieved a lifetime ambition by
completing a 360 with the spinnaker up and still not (quite) capsizing or finishing last.
By the start of race 3 the wind had dropped away to nothing and those who chose the
left on the first beat gave themselves a huge advantage on an altered course with the
first windward mark awkwardly set in the deep southwest corner of the lake. Wales
unaccountably stuck close to his clubmates up the right (I began to wonder if I owed
him money) and in doing so was badly led astray, rounding the mark in the trailing
group. Bland took honours at that mark but gybed into a hole, reinforcing the
advantage of the right of the course on the run, and was passed by the pack. Wales
recovered well on the next beat and put himself back in the race for 3rd.
Sunday’s weather was a different kettle of fish with a much less shifty F2-4 providing
excellent sailing condition for three 4 lap races. Wales started the first well again,
leading all the way round. Allen performed a never to be repeated gybe recovering from
the “bodysurfing holding on to the trapeze” position on one side, via a brief moment in
the boat to an identical tow on the other side without actually capsizing. Class.
In race 2, Heissig cleared most of the fleet with a port tack start although was beaten
to the mark by Wales. At the final windward mark Heissig was headed and found
himself stranded against the mark standing on the foredeck (as you do). Wales had to
luff hard to get round and celebrated his success by diving into the water over the back
of the rack (awarded 8.9, once degree of difficulty had been taken into consideration)
allowing Heissig through for the win.
In the last race Wales sealed overall victory leading, yet again, all the way round.
This was the first open of the RS700 GPS era and it is hoped that the tracks will be up
on the internet in a few days – details to follow on the forum.
What a great weekend! Many thanks to Carsington Sailing Club and all helpers for
looking after us and particularly to Henry Wright (PRO) and his team for managing the
challenging conditions so well. We’ll be back!
(p.s. - Do they have cocktail cabinets on those K6s?)