Northampton has always been a favourite inland venue for RS’s mainly due to the slick race management and this year was to be no exception. With the fleets sailing ‘one on-one off’ for both days the PRO did an excellent job to fit 12 races in, on an excellent course even if the NE wind continued shifting throughout the event. The ‘one on-one off’ system of racing, although unpopular with some, did allow for some very entertaining viewing with many of the top 200’s failing to pick their way through the shifts and ending up back in the mid-fleet pack with Ian Pickard.
The picture was much the same while the 400s were on the water with the patchy shifty wind turning each leg into a game of snakes and ladders. Consistency was only going to be the key to doing well in this event and so it proved.
In Race 1 Jez Entwistle and Rachel Jones hit the right hand corner of the first beat and picked up a good shift to get to the windward mark first closely followed by O’Brian & Staite and the chasing pack. On the last beat it was still all to play for between the top four with each team having their turn to sail into the abundant holes. At the finish line it was Tubby O’Brian and Commodore Colin who took line honours followed by Tony Woods second and Craig Burlton Third. Nigel and Helena Hammond came in fourth showing excellent speed in the light airs.
Race 2 was again sailed in difficult conditions however Chris Jennings and Ed Nicklin expertly negotiated the shifts to take the bullet from Craig Burlton and Andrew Bonsey with Woods and Fletcher making up the top three.
In race three the sight of the Racing Snake towards the front of the fleet at the windward mark indicated a tactical role swap with Badger now helming. However the snake soon realised where it was and headed for its usual position finishing 23rd. At the front of the fleet the wind must have increased as it was the Prince boys who led the fleet home followed by Jennings and Burlton. Robin Kenyon and Toby Lewis finally began to get to grips with the conditions finishing fourth.
Overnight Jennings and Burlton were both tied on eight points followed by Shielsy and Woods both on 11 points. This was of little interest though as the bar was open and the challenge to drink it dry had begun. A stirling effort by the bar staff to keep it coming and the RS sailors to keep it going meant that by the end of the night the only drink left was warm gin and lemonade. Undeterred most soldiered on with some great personal performances well worthy of note.
With the 400s sailing second, a valuable hour was gained to get over the hangovers. However this obviously wasn’t enough for some as Chris Jennings scored OCS and all Craig Burlton could summon up was a twelfth. This left the door open for Robin Kenyon and Toby Lewis to score an important victory, with another consistent performance from Woods coming in second and Sheilsy in third. One look at Tom Halhead and Chris Priest’s tent on Sunday morning and you’d have thought they’d be lucky to make it on the water all. However Chris’s ‘not-so-changing-rooms’ redecoration of the tent didn’t stop an excellent performance to come in fourth.
Race 5 saw a return of concentration in the Burlton and Bonsey boat to take their first win of the weekend follow by Sheilsy and Jennings.
Going into race 6 the event was still wide open with Burlton on 9 points, Jennings on 11 and Woods on 13. As well as the fact that Burllton and Jennings had both cashed in their discards that morning it meant that anything could happen. On the water it was in fact Robin Kenyon and Toby Lewis sailing Proctor Masts who took the line hours, their second of the day showing they can perform inland as well as on the sea. This left Jennings to come in second and tie up the event, with Woods finishing third to take second place overall and Burlton only managing a tenth to come in third. It was amazing to see what Woods could achieve when he managed to stay behind the start for once.
A top event was had by everyone and with a different winner at every event so far this season, it’s shaping up to be an interesting year.
The large number of double stack boat trailers and big grins at the end of the event could only mean one thing. In two weeks the RS’s go to Carnac. Back to the French home to the Euro-cup to sample the Kronenbourg 1664, fine wines and awesome sailing. Someone had best warn the Whisky Bar we’re coming.
|1||Chris Jennings||Ed Nicklin||Burghfield SC||5||1||2||OCS||3||2||13|
|2||T Woods||I Fletcher||Leigh + Lowton SC||2||3||6||2||6||3||16|
|3||Craig Burlton||Andrew Bonsey||RYA/Northampton||3||2||3||12||1||10||19|
|4||Robin Kenyon||Toby Lewis||Hamble River SC||11||10||4||1||5||1||21|
|5||Dave Shiel||Paul Heath||Leigh + Lowton SC||6||5||5||3||2||11||21|
|6||Greg O'Brien||Colin Staite||Bartley SC||1||9||14||7||8||4||29|
|7||Colin Prince||Tony Prince||Weirwood SC||14||8||1||5||4||DNC||32|
|8||Jason Pyke||Chris Goswell||Burghfield SC||12||4||11||16||9||5||41|
|9||Tom Halhead||Chris Priest||BCYC||17||20||10||4||7||7||45|
|10||Phil Jackson||Gerard Barron||Parkstone YC||7||14||17||8||10||6||45|
|11||Nigel Hammond||Helena Hammond||Oxford SC||4||13||8||9||20||13||47|
|12||Norman Byrd||Richard Bailey||Draycote Water SC||DSQ||7||7||13||12||8||47|
|13||Jez Entwise||Rachel Jones||Leigh + Lowton SC||8||19||12||10||17||9||56|
|14||Martin Browne||Dinah Holmews||Gt. Yarmouth + Gorlestone YC||9||11||9||14||18||15||58|
|15||Andrew Fox||Simon Birchill||Leigh + Lowton SC||15||21||13||6||15||12||61|
|16||Mark Redington||Johny Lynd||Bartley SC||10||17||15||11||16||14||66|
|17||Chris Bailey||Matt Bailey||Bartley SC||13||12||22||15||19||21||80|
|18||Chris Jordan||Gill Jordan||Burghfield SC||18||22||18||18||11||20||85|
|19||Chris Larr||Karen Larr||Stewartby Water SC||23||18||20||19||13||18||88|
|20||S Pilkington||M Gunn||Notts County SC||20||15||16||20||26||19||90|
|21||H Farbrother||L Hosken||Datchet SC||16||6||21||DNC||21||DNC||93|
|22||Simon Cowood||Peter Rowley||Pwhelli SC||DNC||DNC||DNC||21||14||17||110|
|23||Tim Smith||Ruth Appleby||Weston SC||25||26||24||23||22||16||110|
|24||Gavin Marshall||Anna Robinson||RNSA||19||16||19||DNC||DNC||DNC||112|
|25||John Callaghan||Dan Sanders||HISC||21||24||23||17||OCS||DNC||114|
|26||Mark Bath||Rachel Bath||Bowmoor SC||26||27||25||22||24||DNC||124|
|27||Helen Stewart||Brian Stewart||Bartley SC||22||25||DNF||DNC||23||DNC||128|
|28||Paul Barker||Sarah Barker||MKSC||24||23||DNF||DNC||25||DNC||130|