Bartley SC hosts the RS400 Southern Tour opener !
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.