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Tony Cliff

Tony Cliff

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RS400 Nationals 2017 - Mounts Bay Sailing Club

It was with some trepidation that I eventually agreed to crew in the RS400 Nationals this year.... Like many, I wasn't born into this sport, I didn't do the rounds with the Oppies or Toppers, and I was certainly nowhere near the Laser squads! So for us late comers, any event can seem quite daunting, let alone a National Championships.  What made the decision equally difficult, was that the two sailors that asked me to crew for them, are both very credible helms. 

The decision was made, and trepidation soon turned into nerves - this is my hobby, why do I get nervous ?!   The nerves were seamingly justified, as day 1 dawned..... to a very misty Mount, around 20 knots of breeze.... and oh yes, that other thing I hadn't encountered in an RS400 - waves...... big waves.  The sail out to the start area was interesting enough,  you know the conditions aren't great, when you're struggling to see the leeward gate, let alone the windward mark.

Off we go, day 1, race 1.  Maybe there's an assumption that everyone understands that things are going to be slightly more lumpy on the sea, and I certainly had this in my head, but until you're actually out there,  you don't realise quite how difficult even the basics become. At a fleet talk given by Russ Clark, one of the top 400 sailors in the country, Dave Exley, said that on day 1 of the nationals, he didn't know what his settings were..... with the combination of the wind, rain, waves, it was just a tad disorientating...   So, first race, a quarter of the way up the beat, we go for a tack. I drop the sheet, and like a muppet go back for it - in the meantime, we get slammed by one of the monster waves.   

So... the boat is on it's side, we think the main has cleated, and it takes an absolute age for us to right the boat.  When eventually, we do right the boat, there are around 70 RS400's disappearing into the mist about 200 yards in front - not a pretty site.

There were quite a few DNF's, but we did manage to recover a few places, and ended up 52nd. 

With every event, you'll usually have some highs and lows, undoubtedly, the capsize was one of our lows. For me, one of the biggest highs is a more general point. With our extended sailing family (Sam & Ben Pickering from Chasewater), Bartley / Chase had 5 boats in attendance at the event, so it's important that wives, girlfriends, kids etc all feel like they're part of the team.  My 16 year old daughter was on the fringes a little, waiting for her GCSE results & unable to get them until we returned from Cornwall. But everyone really made Wendy & Emily feel like they were part of the family.

The RS400 team also helped with events planned for every night of the week.... even a reception with Lord Levan on the mount ..b2ap3_thumbnail_21032386_10101307286396617_2031331449130130490_n.jpg

And the Bartley team had a great night out at The Fire Engine Inn

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I can't sign off without mentioning probably one of the best days sailing I've ever had. Conditions are rarely perfect, too much wind, not enough wind etc etc. But on Tuesday the sailing gods were smiling on all of us. A beautiful day, wall to wall sunshine and I'm guessing the wind was somewhere in the mid to upper teens. You'd think on a clear day like this you'd be able to spot the windward mark... but our RO had other ideas, we think the first beat was somewhere in the region of 1.5 miles. We came out of the start gate relatively early, and held our lane.... rounded the windward mark in 7th... blasted around the course to finish a very credible 8th. The result in the 2nd race of the day wasn't as good... but we had a pod of dolphins join us - what a way to finish the day!

Like many, I like to reflect on the event, what it means to me, what could I have done differently & what have I learned.

Those that are wary, don't be, a glance down the results will show you, that whatever your ability, there will always be someone you can race against.  You'll probably be nervous, but nerves will soon diminish - especially if you're lucky enough to be visited by dolphins.

Lessons ?

1) I'm not fit enough!

2) Never believe a helm that tells you he's not bothered about the results !

3) Enjoy

 

There are some great pics on photolounge.co.uk  take 5 mins & have a look

400 Nationals

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Practice, practice, practice... that's what it's all about. So, having only sailed together for the last few months (and never on the sea), Richard and I headed for the one day event at Portchester on 14th May.

The entry list had been steadily growing over the previous two weeks, and when we entered 32 RS400's were headed for the coast with sunshine & winde forecast a plenty.... a little too much for me if I'm honest.

Our journey started, a little too casually, at 8am yesterday...and ended in blind panic arriving at 11:30am for a 12pm briefing & a 12:30 start.... all before we'd put the boat together, fixed the spinnaker cleat & got changed.... Something had to give, and unfortunately, the customary bacon sandwich & cup of tea gave way to a Bounty & a swig of Fanta. 

The good people of Portchester sailing club did their very best to help us all get on the water promptly, and with some trepidation, we launched into a good 20+ knots breeze. I have to admit to feeling particularly nervous at this point, I don't handle the heavier stuff particularly well - google apocolyptic conditions at the Steve Nicholson trophy and you'll understand why, but as the opening line says, practice, practice, practice.

For the first race, we roamed a little too far away from the start line, and without any timings just about made it - Not a great start, but we were under way. The pressure was on the left of the course, we were about two thirds of the way down the fleet & with 20 boats rounding the windward mark to port... made for an interesting approach for us back markers, lots of tiller movement usually preceeded by lots of shouting. And so having rounded the windward mark we start our downwind leg... I'm not really sure whether or not it was an advantage being that far back, but with the breeze still building, what lay in front was something akin to carnage, at the gybe mark there were 400's aplenty upside down. No such drama for us, made a nervous gybe, and managed to creep back up to 16th for the first race.

The second race was a little more entertaining - nailed the start, held our lane, and came into the windward mark in 5th (I think).... a little misunderstanding between crew & helm resulted in our only capsize of the day. The rest of that race is a bit of a blur, we recovered, overtook a few boats, had a storming last reach before overtaking more boats right before the finish line - and rather surprisingly finished 8th.

By now, the fleet was a little decimated, some retired wounded, others majestic in their victory - Russ & Penny Clark were simply untouchable. Feeling pretty exhausted, we started the last race of the day, hoping for only two laps! The RO duly delivered, and without much incident, we replicated our race 2 performance, coming in 8th.

Overall, we finished 10th - which, I think it's fair to say we're both very happy with. We found out afterwards that the breeze peeked at 28 knots, and down wind, it's probably the quickest I've been in a 400. We had a couple of hairy moments, when the kite gybes and the main doesn't, it usually spells disaster, but both times we recovered. Nerves aside, we had a great day, so a big thanks to the good people of Portchester for putting on a wonderful event - the afternoon tea post racing was well received.

Looking for to Hayling Island in June!

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Thursday evening 4th May - great looking forecast!

The forecasts looking great for tonight & for the weekend..... Why not come along this evening and join us for a sail !

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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 travellerb2ap3_thumbnail_18010188_1871376549802486_1003007641282187605_n.jpg

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This seasons Thursday night series is due to get under way on 20th April.  All classes welcome.

Come along, have a sail followed by a hot meat in the clubhouse.. and maybe a cheeky pint. For those RS400's due to head off to the RS Sprints at Rutland, it's an ideal opportunity to get some last minute practice in!

 

See you there.

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We are highly honoured to be both on the Northen Circuit & Southern Circuit for the RS400's this year.  Let's see if we can mobilise a bumper home fleet.

Make the most of the next couple of Thursdays & next weekend to practice ready for our open!

Details are available from Caroline.

As always, food (and beer!) will be available.

See you there.

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The warning signs were there for all to see.... as I arrived, it was pouring down with rain & a group of hardy sailors were all huddled together just outside the club. I thought, no one will sail tonight, we'll just have a beer & a chin wag about the weekend.... 10 minutes later, as the wind moderated, we were all getting ready to rumble.

5 x RS400's & a Blaze braved the conditions. Nick & Greg had a flying start (ahem!), but the lead boat pretty much from start to finish, was Caroline & Jason. Sam & John pushed hard all the way around the race course, but to no avail. In Waynes absence, I did my best Barnum & Bailey impression in the front of Howards boat, which meant the best we could hope for was a 3rd place...... Just as we'd taken that 3rd place, I endeavered to make it a bit more interesting by dropping the kite sheets in the gybe.... Entertaining enough from the shore I'm willing to bet!

Overall, I think we beat everyone on the capsize count - now he knows what Shawn has to put up with!

Join us next week, when hopefully Howard's performance will be much improved with the addition of Wayne!

Sailing, beer, food & a good laugh in the bar afterwards.... what more could ask for on a Thursday night.

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Thursday evening series 28th April

Forecast is looking good for Thursday 28th April boys & girls.  Dust off your wet suits, get the cover off your boat, and come down and enjoy an evenings sailing followed by a drink & meal in the bar.  Open to all classes.

 

See you Thursday!

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Every now and again, the Bartley RS fleet decamps en masse.  It's a relatively rare occurance, but one thing you can be sure of, is that the RS Sprints will be one of those events that the rowdy Brummies turn up to (apologies to our friends from Stourbridge).

So this year, as last, 7 Bartley 400's & 1 Bartley 300 arrived at Rutland...full of nerves & anticipation. 

Some exciting performances had been seen in the 3 brand new boats & the nearly new boat... and as always Sam & John are consistantly at the front of the 400 home fleet. In addition to our star performers, new(ish) talent in the form of Richard Ashwell & Joe Ironside were also showing encouraging signs.

The forecast looked perfect, 12-15 knots on both days, albeit a little on the cold side.

Day 1 started with the usual sprint format, 4 different flights would all battle each other in 6 back to back races on the "M" shaped sprint course. A long beat, tight reach, run, tight reach, beat, tight reach followed by a long run to the finish. 

We lost Nick & Greg in the first race due to an unfortunate incident resulting in their bow sprit fracturing...  but the rest of the fleet raced on.

Some excellent performances saw Howard & Wayne in 2nd place overnight, hot on their heels were Sam & John, Caroline & Jason in 8th and Richard/Joe in 12th.  Those of you that know of the Sprints, will know that those places all count for nought..... as Saturday is merely a seeding day, ready for the big racing in Gold/Silver fleets on Sunday.

So off the water the hot topic of conversation wasn't about the great performances or near misses we'd had, but more about a certain 3 drink rule... I won't name names, but Jason was the enforcer... This topic was closely followed by "how quickly can we open the Enville ale in Howard's Van".

A reasonably sedate evening, by Bartley standards anyway, was followed by the grand finale. A little more breeze was forecast for Sunday & a few nervous Bartley helms were seen pacing the dinghy park.

Again some great racing was had by all.  Sam & John were forced to retire due to a broken boom, Richard & Joe had technical issues with a shredded kite halyard, but managed to get back on the race course to finish the last two races in 3rd & 4th respectively.

Without a doubt, the star 400 performers of the weekend were Howard & Wayne, finishing a credible 4th in the Gold fleet. The star 300 performer was Richard Le Mare finishing 2nd in the Gold fleet.

Special mentions to Richard & Joe, recorded some really good results (consistently beating us by miles) & only just missing out on the Gold fleet - I'm pretty sure you'll get there soon guys, and also to Gareth Blakemore (ably assisted by Guy Mason) making his first event outside of Bartley a memorable one, by not only not finishing last, but also not finishing last Bartley boat - well done guys.

As for us ?  For those of you that saw Shawn's pre sprint photo on Facebook... let's just say, the goggles hardly got wet, but there aren't many paracetemol or ibuprofen left. It's a tought event, with 12 races over two days, so well done to everyone that took part.

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Thursday 21st saw 12 boats take to the water for round 2 of our Thursday evening series. The race officer for the night, Guy Mason, set a "Sprint" like course to give the RS boats a little practice for the the real RS Sprints on 23/24 April.

This week our 12 boats were 5 x RS400's, 1 x RS300, 1 x Merlin, 1 x Phantom, 1 x Blaze, 1 x K1, 1 x Laser & 1 x Vago. 

On the water Mssrs Eeles & Hancox soon found the front & extended what we at frirst thought was an unassailable lead... this proved to be the case almost until the end, when team Downing/McDonnell not only closed the gap, but overtook them. At the final hoot, Eeles/Hancox just held off Knight/Knight (trying out new sails ready for the sprints).

Once the handicap had unwound, Downing/McDonnell took the win followed by another Sprinter Richard Le Mare in his RS300.

Early days yet, but it's close at the top of the table, with Downing/McDonnell tied on 1 point with Knight/Knight.... followed closely by team Bownes in the  Merlin & Richard Le Mare both tied on two points.

Much was made of Howard/Wayne's unassailable lead... Sam/John's new sails in the bar over a drink & our evening repast!

 

Come down & join us for round 3 next Thursday - our officers of the day Mark Walker & Graham Blackwell assure us it will be a course for single handers !!!    Don't forget -  all classes welcome.

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A big thank you to Mark & Colin for running our latest RS400 training day on 17th April.

Sunday morning arrived with glorious sunshine & an extremely shifty breeze, which came in from nearly every point of the compass at some stage.  

After the initial briefing, focusing mainly on boat handling, the fleet took to the water to practice tacking & gybing. This was followed by a short triangular course, where gybe sets & gybe drops were both practised.

A little light lunch was followed by race practice, 2 laps around a short windward leeward.

All in all, a very successful day, which proved useful for all on the water.

Once again a big thank you to Mark & Colin for putting on the training, in what proved to be somewhat testing conditions!

 

See you at the Sprints!

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Don't miss out on our fantastic pre Sprints RS400 training day. With some excellent coaching from our in house RS400 guru's Mark & Colin, we should all hopefully see some improvements to take into one of our favourite events, the RS400 Sprints.

Be rigged & ready for 10am, Sunday 17th April.

 

See you all there!

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Thursday night series got well under way this week.  5 x RS400's, 1 x Phantom, 1 x Merlin, 1 x Blaze & 1 x K1 all braved our season's opener. Downing & McDonnell got out early for a little practice, only to shred their kite halyard. Wayne quickly helped them to get back on the water, and they only just missed the start.

Last years Stevie Nicks & Sprints Champs Messrs Knight & Knight pretty much lead from start to finish - guys you at least need to give us a little hope that we can catch you!

A warm meal & a couple of beers later, and we can pretty much all say, that we're glad mid week sailing is back.

 

Plenty of room for all comers on a Thursday evening - it's not class specific, so come down, have a race & chew the fat afterwards over a beer!

 

See you all next week.

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  • Nick Eaves
    Nick Eaves says #
    Sam was only second to the first mark so it was not all his own way quite!

It occurs to me, that all race reports are written by the winners, or at the very worst someone not far behind. Whilst there’s nothing inherently wrong with this (after all, history is always written by the winning side), it doesn’t always tell the full story.

So with this in mind, here’s our story from the recent RS Southern championships.

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Tony Cliff & I sail with my best friend Shawn Woodcock an RS400 at Bartley SC. We’re usually somewhere towards the back of the fleet – although not always, we do every now and again, get the occasional nose bleed !

Our planning for the Southern Champs started some time ago, probably around the time of the RS Sprint Champs at Rutland, when, buoyed by our promotion to the gold fleet (if only for one brief moment – we still have the picture to prove it) & the large turnout of Bartley 400’s – some 7 boats made the trip to Rutland, we all decided that it be great to try to repeat the experience at another event.

Ever since we started planning, tales of the killer chain ferry, along with links to youtube videos of said ferry destroying a dinghy have done the rounds, much to the amusement of some, but I have to say, real worry for me !

So, at 6am on Saturday 20th June, Shawn arrived to pick me up. We travelled down to the south coast through the drizzle, eventually emerging in Poole harbour to a gloriously sunny day. Some 100 boats of the various RS classes joined us – quite some spectacle.

After the briefing, which included instructions on getting past the chain ferry – don’t hit it, as it’s an offence, we started off with some trepidation. I should probably explain, as puddle sailors from Birmingham, our experience of sailing together on the sea is limited to a flat calm weekend at Pwllheli. lord knows how many years ago.

The sail out to Bournemouth bay was pretty uneventful really – 100 dinghys managed to negotiate the chain ferry with no real drama. In fact, once we cleared Poole harbour, it was a pretty good reach down to the start line. Our three races on the Saturday were pretty good too, enough breeze to get the boat planning / catch a few waves, but not too much to cause many problems. We also had our own little tussles with a few of the other back markers. In the first race, we were in about 23rd position for much of the race, until the last leg to the finish line – we didn’t know where it was & the chasing pack did ! Hence our position of 27 out of 27…

Things improved in the 2nd race, we had some exciting battles and ultimately managed to hold on to 20th (with the other 7 boats breathing down our necks at the finish line). In the final race of the day, tiredness along with a broken wing wang meant that we retired, only to face a trudge back to the club against the tide. We clocked it at 1 ½ hours from the sailing area.

The real entertainment, as always, is reserved for Saturday night, to give you a flavour we had, an RAC callout due to an over active fridge…, BBQ’s till midnight, midges galore, an inflatable sofa and spiced rum & coke. Of course none of this would be any good unless you had a great bunch of friends to share it with!

Sunday morning dawned with one or two sore heads & more breeze than Saturday. Feeling once again nervous about the days sailing we started off in circa 15-20 knots with waves for the chain ferry… Once again no issues.  So for us, we come screaming out of the harbour going about as fast as we can ever remember going only for a mighty bang, followed by Shawn calmly (!) telling me he had no steering, we realised quickly that whatever we’d hit (below the surface) had broken the down haul on the rudder. We promptly capsized, to re-emerge facing Poole harbour… the remnants of the oncoming RS fleet (100’s, 200s, 300’s, 400’s, 500’s, 800’s) all flying there kites approaching at speed…along with various other craft coming in and out of the harbour !

Unfortunately, our weekend was over – we crawled back to the club to pack away. Nevertheless, we had a great time once again. I have learnt a few lessons, and if you’ll indulge me a little while longer, these are they :

  1. Make sure your boat is prepared – over the course of the weekend breakages cost us 4 races. Whether we’d have been able to do all 4 is questionable though!
  2. There will always be someone to race against, whatever your ability – don’t deprive yourself of the chance to have a go
  3. Don’t listen to scary stories about chain ferries and the like – it wasn’t that bad in the end. Four successful crossings and not a near miss in sight (it really wasn’t a killer chain ferry !)
  4. Even if you’re a puddle sailor with limited experience (like me), at least once in your life, have a go on the sea. It’s hard work, but with all that expanse of water, the wind & the waves, even if you’re in last place I guarantee you’ll enjoy the reaches
  5. Value your friends – we had a great bunch with us at the Sprints in Rutland & again at the Southern Champs – this what really makes the weekend.

I hope I haven’t bored you too much !

Happy sailing!

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This weekend saw a bumper turnout of Bartley boats at both the Supernova Nationals at Paignton and the RS Southern Championships at Parkstone.

Well done to Mike Gibson coming 2nd overall in the Supernova Nationals, with Bartley also being well represented by Chris Hawley, Gary Butterfield & Steve Hawley (all finishing in the top 20).

Full results are available at :

http://www.paigntonsailingclub.com/results/2015/special/2015_Special_Supernova%20Nationals.html

 

Bartley representatives at the RS Southern Champs took 3rd & 4th place in the RS300's - well done Richard Le Mare & Sam Knight respectively.

Full report available at :

http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/183699/RS300-Southern-Championship-at-Parkstone

 

In the 400's - Howard/Wayne finished 11th, Caroline/Jason 13th, Nick/Tony 18th & Shawn/Tony 27th.  Shawn & Tony proving that a bit of boat bimbling goes a long way broken wing wangs on Saturday & rudder down hawl on Sunday, although we're pretty sure the latter was the fault of a rather large jelly fish.....

Full report available at :

http://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/183700/RS400-Southern-Championship-at-Parkstone

 

If you have any other reports of Bartley SC travellers, why not upload to the blog ?  

 

Happy sailing !

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Congratulations to our Supernova travellers at Exmouth last weekend. Steve Hawley finishing 11th, Chris Hawley finishing 9th & Mike Gibson finishing 2nd.

Full results are available at :

http://exe-sailing-club.org/dinghy_results/2015/Supernova_Open_2015.htm

The RS400's are off to Locks next weekend & the RS Southern Champs will be the weekend of the 20/21 June - stay tuned for more results!

If you have any results or reports that you'd like posting to the blog, let me know or you could even have a go yourself!

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This week RS's dominated the starting line, with a 300, 2 x 600's & 3 x 400's with the addition of a phantom to the starting line, it certainly wasn't a slow fleet.

The wind direction, as has been the case for so many weeks now, proved challenging, with huge shifts & huge holes providing a stern test for helm & crew.  Having said all that, Andy & Ciara did a great job for the night as RO's - thanks both.

Back to the racing... a fairly even start saw Mike/Tony, Sam (in a 600 tonight) & Crispin/Leslie challenging for the lead - Mike just edging the others out to take the lead at the windward mark, only for a navigational faux pas, compounded by the crew insisting the direction we were travelling in would be "ok", resulting in a slip from 1st to 5th by the leward mark...

By this stage Crispin & Sam had pulled out in front of all other challengers & the race for 1st/2nd was between them. Eventually, Mike clawed back into 3rd position on the water.

Corrected results for the evening saw 1st - Crispin/Leslie  2nd - Sam  3rd - Andy Bownes  4th Mike/Tony

Rumour has it you could put Sam Knight on an ironing board with a hanky & he'd still be in the top three...(no green eyed monster here!)

Off the water chilli & a pint of "two hoots" was not to be sniffed at. Talk soon turned to the upcoming Southern Champs for the RS fleets & the rather daunting negotiation of the chain ferry...

Hope to see a few more of you on a Thursday night - you're really missing a good night !

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A beautiful sunny evening in May, around 10 knots of breeze - who'd have thought we were in the middle of Birmingham!

This Thursday saw our largest turnout this season, with 15 boats taking to the water. The RS400's made up a third of the fleet, with Lasers, Phantoms, an RS600, RS300, RS200, Merlin and not forgetting the Blaze.

All keen to get on the water, barring the slight hiccup of helping Brad retrieve his dagger board, which no sooner had he taken the 600 off the trolley, promptly floated away !

From the outset Howard lead the way (with his returning super crew Wayne), followed around the windward mark by Mike & Caroline. The two reaches proved to be very tight & Howard/Wayne expertly negotiated these. 

As the first lap ended the places were still Howard 1st, Mike 2nd & Caroline 3rd - not for much longer, as Caroline, in breeze managed to point a full 10/15 degrees higher than anyone else, easily swept aside Mike & started chasing down Howard.

Andy Bownes in the Phantom & Chris/Claire Bownes in the Merlin stuck in there never really losing too much ground on the 400's, with Gareth & Matt having an interesting tustle in the chasing pack.

As the finishing line approached, there was to be a little extra drama, Howard sailed into a hole & the whooping team Girl Power (Caroline/Kate) clinched it on the line! I'm sure Kate will be gracious in her victory and not constantly remind her husband that she beat him!

A swift retun to the bar for a delicous pulled pork bap (thanks Paul) and a pint of two hoots, talk quickly turned towards Parkstone for the 400's.

Why not come down on a Thursday and join us ? A nice relaxed atmosphere, hot food & a pint - not forgetting the racing of course !

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Tonight saw the promise of a little more breeze than of late, although with the wind direction still Northerly, still a little unsettled and cool. A little too unsettled for John & Sam Knight, who after there heroics at Rutland (circa 25 - 30 knots), managed to capsize in about 5 knots on their way out to the start line (unfortunately for me, I missed it!).

Our RO for the evening, Richard Ashwell, got us off promptly, John & Sams chilly start to the evening, didn't temper their mood, shutting Mike & Tony out and forcing them around the end of the line to restart.... ahem...clearly they are born champions !

Andrew in the blaze, got off to a flyer & was in the top 3 around the windward mark - but Mike & Tony eventually pulled through, and despite getting close, couldn't quite make the gap with John & Sam. 

It was great to see Chris & Claire out in the Merlin, they sailed a solid race to finish 3rd.  Gareth & Kate took the opportunity to get some practice in their 400 too.

Beer & hot food was awaiting our return to shore (thanks Paul), and the chat continued, with a few coaching tips thrown in for good measure.... now how was it you managed to capsize again John ?!

Three weeks in and already 18 different boats have taken part in the Thursday evening series - it would be great to see a few more in the coming weeks.

Don't forget we have a major event on at the club this weekend with the Lasers - come down and support us if you can !

 

Happy sailing !

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With thanks to Sam Knight for providing the excellent report !

Bartley hosted the first round of the RS 400 Southern tour on Sunday 26th of April. A great turnout of 11 home boats was boosted by a further two visitors from London and the south coast, and they brought up the sun with them! Unfortunately this was accompanied by a light and shifty north easterly, resulting in the courses being rather restricted by the width of the reservoir.

 After welcoming the visitors, the PRO John Ling left the beach to start the racing promptly at 11am. Flying out of the blocks were Caroline and Jason, leading round the first mark and sailing off into a good lead down the first run. In hot pursuit were Sam and John, Crispin and Leslie along with the two visiting crews. It was soon apparent that the leading boats may not have the advantage, as the leading boats sailed off into a large hole, allowing the chasing pack through. Howard and Wayne were also flying, and were on the back of the pack despite having started late. By the finish the two visitors Howard Farebrother/Loiuse Hosken and Mark and Paul Oakey had pulled through, finishing in that order. Crispin had pulled through to third, finding a large shift on the last leg to complete the top three.

The fleet stayed out for the second race, and this time it was Sam and John who established a good lead throughout the first half of the race. However, Paul and Mark were starting to close, and took the lead at the halfway through the third lap. On the final lap they were ten boat lengths clear, but Sam and John fought back, and were ahead within five lengths of the line. A last minute gust saw team Oakey pull through to take their first bullet by less than a quarter of a boat length. Behind  was a close race for third, with Caroline/Jason showing great speed to keep them ahead of Howard/Louise and Howard/Wayne. The racing was close throughout the fleet, and it was looking close between the teams of Nick/Tony, Shaun/Tony, Matt/Jane and Gary/Kate for the last top ten place.

After a break for lunch, the fleet headed back out for race three. Again it was the fast starters of Sam and Caroline that took the early initiative before Caroline demonstrated her perfect backflip-broken tiller extension manoeuvre, hoping to distract the following teams. Unfortunately, she was forced to retire and Paul and Mark pulled through once again to take the win on a rapidly shrinking course (a drifting windward mark) from a fast finishing team Beaumont, with the Knights just sneaking it from Jeremy and Gary on the last leg to take third.

With the event wrapped up, Paul and Mark showed some class to take the last bullet of the day, once again coming from behind to overtake early leaders Sam and John. With a new tiller extension, Caroline and Jason sailed a flawless final two laps to push Sam and John into third by some distance. Once again, Jeremy lost out on the final leg to Crispin, once again showing that a race isn’t over until the finish line. In the battle for the top ten, Nick and Tony had pulled out their best result of the open to seal it, with Shaun/Tony, Matt/Jane and Gareth/Kate behind them in that order.

The Bartley 400 fleet would like to thank everyone that had given up their time on the day to ensure the event ran smoothly. In particular John Ling and all of his team for taking on the task getting in four good races for use in wind that was less than ideal. Once again, the open shows the Bartley 400 fleet is in excellent health, and standards among the whole fleet improve every year. Hopefully the good results can continue through the season, showing why Bartley is one of the best places to sail and race 400’s at this time.  

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