Scottish RS400 Sprints – Fourteen boats and their eager crews arrived at Dalgety Bay Sailing Club over the weekend of 18/19th April and with a balmy forecast and comments of ‘Dalgety al Garda’ there was a keenly anticipated day of early season training followed by a day of ‘Sprints’, a new format to the Scottish RS400 scene.
A combination of ace RS400 trainer (even though he has just bought an RS200!) Roger Carter and the ever present chairman, organizer and general cheerleader Keith Bedborough and the fleet were soon into helm and crew briefings before heading out onto the water. With crews from as far north as Stonehaven and south as Newcastle, there were new faces, helm/crew combinations, and boats/kit to be tested out.
Following some tight follow my leader, tacking and gybing practice the fleet showed they had lost none of their competitive instincts in the afternoon practice races. With tide under them many had forgotten the need to keep the water between boats which led to a lively de-brief at the post sailing BBQ at Keith’s house. The first round of the Rs400 great cornflakes box challenge commenced on schedule at 2200 with Bendy Hannah Robertson emerging a worthy winner, closely followed by runner-up wormit likely lad Fraser Mulford – who knew?
Sunday dawned somewhat fresher and despite a delayed start due to lack of water and mark laying challenges, once underway six very competitive races were sailed. Early races were sailed in the strong tide, but the fleet seemed to have learned from the previous day and kept it clean. As the tide slackened and wind built it kept the racing interesting with no one-sided beats and an emphasis on keeping your head out of the boat as well as close quarter boat handling on the short courses.
Stewart (with his newly implanted bionic hip) and Sarah Robertson started this year where they left off last year showing the fleet a clean pair of heels in every race with only Bedborough/Spacey and Mackenzie/Box edging past them in the last race. Many crews had their moment of glory towards the front of the fleet but keeping errors to a minimum was key and shows that consistency will pay at this year’s events.
Overall, Bedborough/Spacey took runners up spot by one point from McLellan/Meldrum followed by Mackenzie/Box and Yeamans/McMinn. Well done to those club members trying out the front end of the RS400 for the first time, with special mention “newcomer of the weekend” Elana Gray crewing for Iain Tait for a worthy second place in race five showing the future of the fleet is in good hands.
Many thanks to all those at the Dalgety Bay Sailing Club for hosting the weekend, Keith and Roger for their general organizing and training, tour sponsors Stewart Brewing and in particular to the rescue boat drivers/mark setters who did a brilliant job in tricky conditions.
A fantastic weekend that shows that the RS400 is the dinghy to be sailing in Scotland this year with competitive sailing throughout the fleet and a great circuit of events lined up. Despite the tidal challenges the Sprint format got an enthusiastic, but tired, thumbs up from everyone. Next up is a joint Training / Circuit event just across the river at Port Edgar on 2/3 May, followed two weeks later on 16th May by a one day racing event at picturesque Loch Tummel up in the Scottish mountains. See you there!