RS300 Fat Face finish
For the RS300 this was the final event of the Fat face circuit, and for many the final places were far from settled.
Race 1 started in a good force 4, most started at the favoured pin end of the starting line, with local boats Terry Brooks & Will Gulliver taking full advantage of there local knowledge and splitting from the bulk of the fleet towards the left hand side of the racetrack in the wildly oscillating breeze to take first and second at the first mark.
Steve Cook benefiting from spending more time than anyone in the boat this year quickly caught up and all three boats were nearly abreast at the third mark of the quadrilateral course.
Will (Jabba the hut ) Gulliver used his weight and possibly his mind to miss the snakes and find the ladders on the second beat and pulled out a small lead by the second windward mark while meanwhile in the pack Ben Lulham & Andy Betton also were on top of there game to close up on Steve & Terry.
Gulliver consolidated his lead on the downwind legs possibly due to catching a good gust at the top of the run or maybe the tactical considerations of the 4 boats in the pack slowed them down. The close battle between the 4 boats continued for the next 2 laps with many place changes but towards the end of the race Steve Cook pulled away from the pack into second place leaving Ben Lulham in third, Terry brooks in forth and Andy Betton in 5th.
Race 2 after lunch started in even more breeze. Gulliver again used all his assets to pull out a sizable lead in the bright sunshine followed by Cook in second and Brooks in third.
Race 3 started directly after the finish of race 2 again in a good force 4 to 5. Gulliver had an indifferent start but made up for this on the first beat and managed to tack inside a string of boats at the first windward mark, No collisions were apparent however he took a penalty dropping him to fifth.
Brooks took the initiative and followed by Cook pulled out a good lead as the wind began to drop. On the second beat Brooks pulled further away from Cook to give himself a comfortable lead.
Cook now had to pull out all the stops if the positions remained the same Gulliver would win the event Brooks would be second with a first and a third and Cook third with a string of second places. This would mean Cook would have to count this third position in Fat Face series meaning he would loose his first position in the series to Jamie Mawson by the benefit of Jamie’s first place at Derwent earlier in the year.
On the next beat the wind again rose to the force 4 level we had seen at the beginning of the race. Gulliver shot past Lulham and Betton in a move from 5th to 3rd but Cook remained firmly rooted in 2nd position. On the downwind legs the leading 3 boats closed together.
Disaster beset Cook early on the 4th beat when Gulliver in his continued charge for the top passed him dropping him to 3rd position. At this point the race was turning into a marathon many were hoping for the shortened course at the end of this lap but Brooks sheeted in at the leeward mark signifying a final lap and 1 last chance for Cook.
Gulliver’s tactic seamed to be stay on the opposing tack to Brooks on the last beat as the pair swap tacks time and time again and finally to Cooks & Gulliver’s delight Gulliver got this nose in front and pulled clear. To add insult to injury Cook also managed to pass Brooks into the windward mark and hold it to the finish line. The final race positions being Gulliver first, Cook second and Brooks third.