Rutland Open 2005

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The two day open meeting with only Sundays racing to count towards the class Silver Tiller generated a surprise turnout of 20 boats on the Saturday, competing ‘just for fun’.

A short course was set under the lee of the shore in a light and extremely shifty force 2. Dan Alsop and Jennie King sailing Gangsta Paradise made the most of the conditions picking the beats beautifully to take an early lead. Eventually, however, their luck ran out as the chasing pack rejoined them on a trickling run. Tom Stewart and Matt Mee took line honours very closely followed by Dave Winder, Richard Whitworth and Alsop who was unlucky to only take fourth.

In the second race the breeze had abated further, the start was to be crucial for obtaining that vital clean wind. Although at the 5 minute gun there was clear port bias on the line a few had noticed that with a drifting pin end mark the line would certainly be starboard bias by the off. Alsop and Blake made clean committee boat starts to take the early advantage. Alsop continued to sail the shifts to perfection never to find himself on the wrong side of a header and by the end of the race had a comfortable margin to take victory, with Winder second and Whitworth third meant Winder held the overnight lead.

Fleet numbers were bolstered that evening with a few keen beans arriving ahead of schedule for Sundays racing, the majority headed en-mass to the Wheatsheaf for sustenance and liquid refreshment with a few opting to enjoy the opportunity to cycle the full circumference of the Water, what a stupid bl**dy idea I thought to myself awaking the next morning somewhat stiffer than normal for the experience. Others had enjoyed more unusual sporting activities such as car surfing and awoken with even more severe physical damage to themselves, but the less said about that the better.

Photo of start line

With the turnout almost 40 strong we were pleased to see a good lengthed line, this time with a firmly anchored outer distance mark. With a perfect force 4 occasionally dipping to 3, blowing down the length of the water from the club house, the race committee took full advantage and set a cracking course. Sailing fast out of the blocks were John Bell and Pat Blake with Bell just squeezing around the windward mark first. The two were closely followed by Stewart and Whitworth. After Bell and crew Williamson made an forced error at the leeward mark under the pressure of the chasing pack they dropped back considerably. Whitworth overhauled Blake up the next beat and held the lead, Blake second and Stewart third while Bell made a valiant recovery to finish fifth.

For the second race of the day, under a black flag on the second start, the wind swung to the left making it almost impossible to cross the line on starboard. Class veteran Alan Warren crewed by Liam Demsey pushed their luck starting with a port tack flyer - taken perhaps on the young crew's guile rather than experienced helm’s better judgement. Inevitably it ended in tears, Whitworth and Alsop calling starboard on Warren as he stumblingly refused to tack off and gybing round to start properly. This incident left Warren capsized and Whitworth well down the fleet with a lot of ground to make up. Blake and Stewart blasted off to an early lead with Stewart eventually taking the glory, Blake second and Mike and Jane Calvert third.

For the final race there was all to play for with Stewart, Whitworth and Blake all in with a chance of taking overall victory and those coveted Silver Tiller points. Blake made an outstanding start and with Stewart and Paul Davies hot on his heels. Stewart took the lead on the second beat and gradually pulled away from Blake and with Whitworth chasing hard. On the final beat Whitworth tucked inside Blake coming in to the lay line and planed away down the reach. With the third race results reflecting those of the overall it appeared that the fleet had found it’s natural order.

After a timely set of protests generated from Alan Warren’s earlier infringement and the resulting ramifications on other competitors, the prizegiving finally took place with Stewart walking away with the glassware, Whitworth second and Blake third.

After one of the best weekends sailing of the season the fleet will no doubt especially look forward to their next visit to Rutland for our annual 3-day training event as part of extensive training and support programme in the class.

Report: Alex Jackson
Photos: Martin Hollingshead

See the full results

Photo of winnder Tom and Matt