Fabulous photos thanks to Tim Olin. See his complete gallery here
RS700s at Stokes Bay Skiff Open
Eleven RS700s gathered at Stokes Bay as is tradition for the first event of the year on our RS700 Rooster National Tour.
There were some nerves within the fleet ahead of the event with expectations of a very light forecast. We needn’t have worried because when we arrived on Saturday morning we were treated to beautiful Spring sunshine and a nice Easterly breeze that picked up to 14 knots throughout the day.
The fleet jostled for position on the beach amongst the RS800s, B14s and Musto Skiffs, launched and put kites up for a comfortable sail to the committee boat. The RS700s started with the Musto Skiffs making position and timing on the start challenging. The starboard line bias and strong W to E tide didn’t help spread the fleet along the line.
Race one saw Tom Porter show great speed both up and downwind which he kept up for the whole weekend. Tom was pressed hard by local Richard Wadsworth and Matt Conner but held them both off for three laps to take the first race win.
The wind slowly built and reached 14 knots by the second race. The race was dominated by Richard Thurlby, another local, who led for three laps until he wrapped his kite on the final gybe and let three boats through. Tom again showed great pace and managed to find a way through the Mustos. Matt Carter managed to get past Tom upwind and guiltily passed Richard Thurlby on the final leg to take the win. Tom stayed ahead of Rich Wadsworth to finish in third.
By the third race the fleet were regretting wearing the Summer wetsuits and were shivering hard while waiting for the final gun. We set off with the wind moderating slightly. Tom showed great pace again but couldn’t get past Nathan Steffenoni who disappeared over the horizon to take his first ever win on the Rooster Tour. Tom came in second consolidated a great first day, followed by Matt Carter.
We retired to the bar to catch up on the long Winter, tell tales of the day and share the agony of a particularly dodgy quiz!
The fleet woke to a gentle 8 knot SE breeze and milky sky. We set off to the start line aching from the day before. The tactics for the start changed with a E to W tide making hitting the shore a priority.
On the first start Phil Highfield showed his light wind pace and battled with Richard Thurlby up the first beat. Richard could not be caught and took his first win of the event. Another local, John Booth proved how quick he is in the lighter stuff to go past Phil for second, and Phil stayed ahead of the pack for third.
The second race saw John continuing to show excellent speed and tactics to work through the Musto traffic. John was chased by Matt Carter and Phil but neither could close the gap. John won with Matt second and Phil third.
By now we had had five different race winners in five races. Points were tight at the top and everything was to play for. Pete Purkiss made a great start and showed his brilliant light wind pace without being over the line or having a bad race incident. Unfortunately that only lasted so long until Pete found a mass of weed ruining his chance of a race win. John took full advantage to win the final race and the event overall. Pete recovered for second, with Matt Carter third.
The racing all weekend was extremely close and exciting. John took a very well-deserved win with Tom second and Matt Carter third. Racing within the Musto fleet added to the tactical challenge and pressure on mark-roundjng (not additional comments required). A massive thank you to Stokes Bay for holding such a fantastic event and to Rooster for the continued support of our National Tour. Our next tour event is the Salcombe Gin RS Summer Regatta at HISC 24-25 June. Info here
Report by Matt Carter
Up onY&Y here