A bumper fleet of 30 RS400's turned out for this years round of the RS Sprints at Rutland. For the uninitiated, the Sprints is a one off event comprising 12 short 20 minute races over the course of the weekend.
By my reckoning (and I'm bound to have missed some), this year's stellar entry list comprised 3 x national champions past & present, 4 x sprint champions past & present, the current winter champion..... and not forgetting the odd Olympian..... No pressure then!
Bartley SC always attend well at the Sprints, and this year was no exception with 6 boats travelling. So on Saturday in most un-Rutland like conditions (sub 20 knots) we all launched into virtually no breeze..... subsequently developing into no breeze at all! After roughly 2 hours a float, a more Rutland like 15 knots blew through (blew through being the operative words), settling down into the forecast 7-8 knots... and eventually we managed to get away. Stars of the first race were undoubtedly Wayne & Gareth, tacking off quickly, they rounded the windward mark well ahead of the fleet, eventually finishing 2nd in that race.
Such were the conditions, that consistency was always going to be the key... Unfortunately, not many of us were consistent - all Bartley boats (I think) posting a top 5 finish in the qualifiers, but not in each race. Our intrepid & blurry eyed team assembled Sunday morning, genuinely not knowing which fleet they'd be sailing in (Gold, Silve or Bronze). In the end only our most recent Sprint champs Messrs Knight & Knight made the cut for the Gold fleet.
Sunday's racing proved to be equally as tricky if not more so, the wind had shifted around to the West and at best again was only the forecast 6-7 knots..... After our alloted 6 races, Bartleys sailers finished.... Knight/Knight 7th Gold fleet, Downing/McDonnell 3rd Silver Fleet, Ashwell/Cliff 7th Silver fleet, Hancox/Blakemore 8th Silver fleet, Eaves/Pace 10th Silver fleet.... and in their first 400 event Chris & Claire Bownes won the Bronze fleet - well done guys.
A special mention should go to Caroline & Jason for providing the pre race entertainment on Saturday morning..... who else would turn up for an event & decide to change their pole line......preparation, preparation, preparation!!
All in all a great weekend... looking forward to the next traveller