It had been several years since the fleet visited Queen Mary reservoir, and the last event of this year’s series was set to be a truly international affair, including teams from France and Belgium. We arrived on Saturday to be greeted by rain and gales, giving ample opportunity to chat to old friends. This situation also helped our French visitors Michael Duflos and his crew Anthony Scouarnec (veterans of several 4000 Euro cup events) to make the start of racing! Michael had already driven to Portsmouth to buy his latest boat before towing it straight to the event.
By 2.00p.m. the wind still showed no sign of moderating, so race officer Andy Peters scheduled an extra race for Sunday morning, starting at 10 o’clock. Remembrance Day dawned with much more benign conditions, and the fleet launched along with the 2000 and RS 400 fleets. Andy set 3 laps of an excellent course, utilising the best area of the lake in the F 3 south-easterly breeze. John Reynolds and Fran Howell (4682) had spotted better wind towards the left-hand side of the course, and with a slight port bias on the long start line, were keen to start near the pin along with Michael and Anthony. The strategy paid, and after working the shifts up the left-hand side of the beat, by the top mark John and Fran had built a comfortable lead which they retained for the rest of the race. After the minute’s silence, race 2 began, and this time Steve Cockerill, sailing with Alex Cramp for the first time due to wife Sarah’s injury, made good gains further right on the course, spotting all the best patches of wind, and showing why he is this year’s UK series champion. He won this race easily, followed by local boat Neil and Charlotte Heffernan (4343).
During the day several crews attempted to abandon ship in the gusty conditions. Heading downwind in race 2, John and Fran found themselves sandwiched between Neil Davies and Sarah Edwards (4400) to windward and an RS 400 below them. Fran was almost lost overboard, being towed alongside the boat, barely able to hang on to her trapeze handle with one hand, let alone scramble back on board; John meanwhile was unable to dip the windward wing or pull her back on board for what felt like an eternity. Anthony had a similar experience being washed overboard on a 3 sail reach. He is used to gybing at lightning speed with his more usual helm Cedric Gendron, and crossed the boat a little too quickly for Michael. However, he is a lot younger and stronger than Fran, so was able to pull himself back on board relatively quickly. Jo de Fleury’s classic moment on 4572 was caused by inadvertently hooking onto the elastic instead of the trapeze ring (easily done!) after a tack; the shock cord broke and she went straight into the drink, just clutching the jib sheet, but was able to scramble back over the transom. It is a credit to the general standard of helming in the 4000 fleet, that none of these incidents resulted in a capsize.
By race 3 the wind had built to a gusty F 4-5, and the race officer set a gruelling 4 laps. The French team of Michael and Anthony in the new yellow boat (4317) were now coming into their own, relishing the stronger wind conditions. They took the bullet, ahead of Steve and Alex (4862), with Neil and Charlotte just pipping John and Fran into 3rd place. They could so easily have taken race 4 as well, had their strop not broken after 3 laps which took a couple of minutes to fix, allowing Steve and Alex through to take the final honours.
Thanks to Queen Mary’s for putting on a very enjoyable meeting, with efficiently run races and good support for launching and recovering boats.
Photos of the event taken by Alex Irwin www.Sportogaphy.tv can be found here: http://sportography.photoshelter.com/index#!/index/C0000ccz143I2dVQ/G000080CTMHZb_BM
With the last event of the season coming up here is the provisional current standings.
If anyone can see any mistakes please let me know via the press(at)4000.org.uk email address.
You always know that winter is approaching when we’re back at Rutland for the multi-class open, but as ever (post weigh-in!) bacon sandwiches provided sufficient diversion to the assembled 4000 sailors – the chill was soon ignored and boats rigged for what turned out to be a great weekend’s racing.
Race 1 set the tone for the tight racing to follow, with the fleet reaching the windward mark in close proximity before tearing off downwind in the freshening F4. Some serious shifts rewarded those that read the conditions well both downwind and then upwind again – with Steve and Sarah taking the lead and holding first until the finish, whilst a late charge saw Neil and Jo gybe over the finish line just in front of John and Fran to take second.
Races 2 and 3 were also taken by Steve and Sarah, with some judicious mid-race strop repairs just holding out, whilst Geoff and Bernice took 3rd and then 2nd – no doubt recovering form after a few months off sailing bigger boats. John and Fran took 2nd and 3rd. Special mention firstly to Tim and Alex who demonstrated exceptional pace interspersed with a desire to jump off the boat at key moments (never fast) and to newcomers Dominic and Harry who put in a string showing on a challenging day.
Sunday’s racing unfortunately saw the fleet a boat down with Sarah damaging her Achilles whilst coming ashore and spending the evening being casted at A&E, not fun and ironic that it happens doing something so innocuous – we all hope that she’s better and back on the water as soon as possible.
Sunday’s weaker wind made for close but less exhilarating racing, Geoff and Bernice putting in a strong 1-1-2 set of results to John and Fran’s 2-2-1, to take first overall from them. With Richard and Jo back up there with a 4-3-4 and Neil and Jo doing just enough to hold 3rd overall in the event.
We look forward to the last series event of the year at Queen Mary SC 7th-8th November and then to the 2016 season – with the Euros already fixed for Riva Del Garda let’s see if we can get above the 38 boat turnout in Quiberon this year!
The Rooster 4000 Class’s much anticipated trip down memory lane to Carsington Water was somewhat subdued due to a fabulous forecast in all but the wind. With XC giving a forecast of 3mph gusting 1mph!!! Unsure as to what that was going to be like on the lake, it was quickly apparent that the forecast had clearly made many people’s minds up not to travel to the most northerly event of the year. Nevertheless, 4 boats turned out to have a little fun in the sun with the also reduced 2000 fleet.
As was expected, the Race Officer announced his intention to fly the AP instead of risking damage to the perfect Carsington Mirror. After a quick check on the mirror an hour later, a second hour delay was added. More coffee and tea was drunk whilst boat fettling and sunning ourselves in the glorious September sun, reminding ourselves that it was indeed September and not August!
As the end of the second delay drew near there were disturbance in the mirror and flags began to move. Murmurings began to be heard around the shore and soon the AP was down and the shore became a flurry of activity as boats launched on a light and shifty breeze.
After a short time the RO managed to get a race away in the fickle wind. However, this was short lived as he was forced to abandon it at the end of the second lap due to a major wind shift annihilating the windward leeward course into a fetch and tight reach.
Race one round 2 – With the course reset, some 40 degrees to the right, the 2000 started their sequence only to get to 30 seconds to go and a major wind shift to the left forced the RO to abandon and reset once again.
Race one round 3 – Now with the course 90 degrees to the left the RO got the race away although the shifting wind continued to play havoc as we crossed the start and were instantly hit with a large shift splintering the fleet in all directions up the first beat. Despite this the racing was close with no one finding any consistency in the wind and positions changing regularly.
Day 2 – having left our accommodation in thick fog we held out little hope of much racing for the day despite a forecast being a little more favourable. We were therefore pleasantly surprised to find the sun starting to burn through at the club and a light breeze starting to fill in.
Despite the ROs best intentions to start early and make up for day one, the wind did not materialise for a little longer, forcing a short delay. However, once the wind filled in we got on the water for more light wind sailing.
Race 2 got under way with tight racing between the boats, however, it was all about spotting the shifts and patched of wind meaning there were large gains and losses to be made. Tim and Alex Litt departed on a couple of good shifts to take lead and never really looked back although John Reynolds and Fran Howell kept nipping at their heels.
Richard and Jo de Fleury and Neil and Charlotte Heffernan had a great battle for 3rd all-round the course which was only decided on the penultimate gybe before the finish in Richard and Jo’s favour.
Before the next race could begin the RO had to reset the course and while he was doing this a few of the boats decided to have a little match play. The fun had a short pause when Tim and Alex capsized but resumed soon after to include a mini match race.
Race 3 began in a chaotic manner with a wind shift bunching everyone to the pin end, all wanting to start on port. However, Neil and Charlotte were having none of it and started on Starboard, leading to a penalty for Richard and Jo. From this point the wind only got worse and left the race more of a fetch and reach. Richard and Jo did do some recovery though, thanks in part to tacking with the kite up round the supposed leeward mark but it was not enough to catch the leaders! Snakes and ladders does not do justice to how big some of the holes in the wind were, meaning it became more pot luck than racing.
Race 4 – the wind finally settled in one direction and allowed the best race of the event to take place to round things out. Fran and John ran out early leaders but were caught briefly only to regain the lead on a better shift up the beat. Richard and Jo and Neil and Charlotte again had a close battle this time decided by a catastrophic wind shift on the right for Neil on the last lap.
Thanks to Carsington Sailing Club for the weekend. It is never easy when the wind does not want to play, alothough I’m sure the fleet would love to come back again try again. Also thanks to John Steer and Phil Spray for taking the photos and making them available.
|1||John Reynolds||Fran Howell||4682||MAN||1||-2||1||1||5||3|
|2||Richard de Fleury||Jo de Fleury||4572||STROMA||2||-3||3||2||10||7|
|3||Neil Heffernan||Charlotte Heffernan||4343||-||-4||4||2||3||13||9|
|4||Tim Litt||Alex Litt||4546||Top Banana||3||1||(Rtd)||DNC||14||9|
This year the Rooster 4000’s have headed to Mumbles in the Wales for their Nationals. Despite a number of notable missing boats due to clashing commitments we still have a turn out of 15 boats including a good mix of old and new faces.
Day 1 – The Welsh weather did not fail to dissapoint, with heavy rain greeting the fleet and no wind. Things did not seem hopeful until the clouds parted, the sun shone and some wind appeared. We were released onto the water and managed to sail round a shortened race before the wind disappeared completely and we had to return to ,what was now, dry land for a well deserved ice-cream.
Day 2 – Again the wether was not the glorious sunny summer that we had ordered, yet there was the added advantage of some wind. We had three races on the water with some very close racing from the fleet. The front runners of Steve and Sarah have been able to maintain a winning streak througout the event so far, although they have had to fight off strong competition. Battles throughout the fleet have meant that positions were changing constantly throughout all of the racing, with both new-comers and old-timers alike moving up and down the field.
With such competative racing, it can be the smallest mistake or the right tactical move that can make all the difference to the final results. Although the rain seems to be inevitable, there is the promise of more wind to keep the sailors on their toes.
With building wind, the OOD wanted to include an extra race to make up for the some missed in the previous days. The close racing continued with most boats finishing in different positions in each race. The only exceptions were Steve and Sarah, who were still battling to maintain their winning streak, and new-comers Jo and Meg, who were able to come 10th in each of the races. With the competition as close as ever, the starts were sometimes a real test of timing and nerves, particularly when Richard and Jo decided to cross the fleet on port in the final race of the day. Although it was sometimes dryer in the boats than on land, the rain didn’t chase the wind away and we were able to get four races in before heading to shore.
As if the sailors weren’t tired enough, the final day of racing saw the strongest winds of the event, in addition to big waves and, of course, a little rain. Although some crews elected to stay ashore, the majority of the fleet braced themselves against the wind and waves and started the first race on a closely contested start line. Unfortunately, Richard and Alex lost their way a little when the rudder detached itself, but at least they were able to find their way safely back to shore (with some help from the rescue boat). As the last of the fleet came through the line the wind and waves gave no sign of diminishing and so we continued to battle the elements. The second start saw the youngest crew of the event, Callum and Alex, storm off into the lead and the boys were the first boat round the windward mark, holding off Tim and Harry who weren’t far behind. Although there was some good capsize practice on the race course, the race finished with Tim and Harry clinching that final first place.
https://youtu.be/0vJUt_mBOv0 Video of race 1 before it got really rough!
After four days of good racing, the sailors can now reflect on this event with a mixture of quizzical looks and childish grins. We have had great fun spending time catching up with friends and getting to know new faces, while sustaining hard fought, competitive racing.
A big congratulations to Steve and Sarah Cockerill who held out for the overall first place, closely followed by Tim and Harry Litt in second and our Italian visitors, Anna and Andreas, in third. We would like to say massive thank you to Mumbles Yacht Club for the warm reception and to Rooster for supporting the event.
Final results and Photos can be seen here http://www.mumblesyachtclub.co.uk/cherub4000
A brilliant event again… We are getting more and more boats out each successive year – this time we had 37 boats booked in. See the above results and the write up in Y&Y
Just a week away from the 4000 Euro Cup in Quiberon on the Carnac peninsula, the 4000 class met for a weekend of sailing at Weston Sailing Club. Weston is notorious for being a shifty venue, but with the potential of some champaign sailing conditions it was no wonder many made the trip south. Either it was the sea breeze/ land breeze fighting but it was clear that shifts with huge holes were apparent on the race track – so we experienced wind of 20knots to 8 knots on the first day of racing.
With a slight upwind speed advantage Steve and Sarah Cockerill played the shifts to the first mark with John and Fran close behind. J&F were constantly pushing S&S with some super fast downwind sailing, perhaps J&F were always lucky hitting the best gusts and angles downwind. There were definitely some snakes and ladders available to make it exciting and nail biting to the end.
N&J finished a constant 3rd, pulling through Alex & David.
Steve and Sarah reducing the rig tension thinking that the breeze was finally in found themselves suffering upwind for height in the big holes that appeared as the start gun went, S&S tacked early to play the shift on the right and led at the first mark. J&F passed on Run – but then got their kite in a mess up in the drop to let S&S back through. Tim & Harry Litt nearly took second from with some cleaver shift work but ti was J&F who took second at the finish.
S&S rig tension back on again at start time, Again Alex and David were high and fast off the start line holding Steve and Sarah off from tacking. Meanwhile Tim & Harry Litt won the port biased pin from John and Fran – but being held out by them from taking advantage of the port shift – they continued to make it hard for themselves. Neil and Joe, however, were late on the start line – enabling them to take advantage of the left shift – to lead at the first mark – marginally from S&S. Down the run S&S took an early gybe and played the Left with more wind to take the lead. N&J found themselves in less wind and lifted on the right hand side eventually giving up second to J&F and 3rd to Alex and David.
S&S took an early lead. J&F took an early shower after taking a dip on a gybe. S&S then joined them with a swim of their own whilst hoisting, dropping them to 3rd behind T&H and Nick and Joe. S&S took N&J on the approach to the leeward mark at the end of lap 2 and then took T&H upwind as they was suffering from lack of vang tension due to an early break in his kicker primary, but it was not over – as down the next run T&H took a lower course from the spreader mark to put S&S under pressure but they finally found a hole which enabled S&S to gybe ahead. On dropping the kite the downhaul got in a knot which needed sorting whilst sailing upwind with all three sails. However T&H had issues of their own, as the last gust had made them miss the gate mark which caused them to have to gybe round, tack and gybe again to take the right hand gate. S&S held them off at the finish – although the knot did test them severely.
Newcomers – Neil Davies and Sarah Edwards had launched their new purchase only to find that their main halyard broke on the first beat. They spent the afternoon kicking their heels desperate to join in the exciting racing.
Sunday dawned, and thankfully the race to started late waiting for high water, which allowed the sea breeze time to build. The conditions could not be as nice as Saturday – or could they? The sea breeze was perhaps more stable than Saturday – up to perhaps 20 knots and sparkling sea conditions.
Pin biased start line with the promise of more wind on the left or right hand side. Tim and Harry won the pin and was the first to the new left shifted breeze, then tacked early to cross the fleet. S&S were next to cross the rest once they had sailed a little deeper into the left new pressure and crossed ahead of J&F. However J&F choose to dig even deeper into the shift. First mark positions were directly proportional to those who dug deeper into this new pressure, J&F, S&S and T&Ht. S&S took a slightly lower course as the breeze was building from behind which put J&F under pressure as they tried to cross on port. S&S gybed to take their wind and and rolled them into the leeward mark. A few more smart shifts from T&H and they were now hunting S&S with their new Rooster mainsail giving them some great pace to windward.
Downwind they found a nice hole to take them back into the hungry pack – leaving S&S to take a clear win from J&F. Putting their first day of disasters aside from Saturday Neil Davies and Sarah Edwards had a storming race to take 3rd from Neil and Jo. Big smiles were present – and not just the result – but because the 4K is just so pleasing when you ‘send it’ upwind and downwind in a big breeze.
Had their pace been beginners luck? No – as they took the pin at the start of the final race, they faced away waiting for the big left shift to take the lead at mark 1. S&S were pinched off at the starboard end and tried to play the shifts on the right – but were able to round second at the first mark. S&S noted that Neil and Sarah were now on lift downwind – so S&S gybed set to take the new breeze from the left with some big pressure to take a commanding lead at the leeward mark. T&H pulled back to take second from J&F who’s last race 3rd was consistent enough to take second at the event.
Tim and Harry Litt was happy with his new mainsail and speed upwind, although he had some small boat failures to be sorted.
Neil and Sarah were happy – a 3rd in Race 5 and leading at the top mark in race 6 – plus the amazing champaign conditions gave them lots of positive’s to take away and work on in time for the 4000 Nationals at Mumbles. Steve and Sarah were happy that they were finally finding the gears to make their new ‘expensive’ 4000 sail as fast as the old one. (expensive was £625)
Alex Cramp and his new crew David Haughton were occasionally very very fast – they put together a series counting only 3rd’s and 4th’s – I wonder what training might produce?
Neil and Jo were also consistent in their placings taking 3rd overall. Tm and Harry Litt had sadly sailed through the start finish line on the downwind leg, which unbeknown to them was a disqualification offence. This was an interesting SI – which enabled the RO to start the fleets separately and got the races turned around sharply. It did perhaps limit the tactics somewhat.
Despite the less than inspirational weather, Grafham provided another enjoyable weekend of racing for the 4000 class. The light and shifty winds tested the teams with Steve and Sarah Cockerill often whispering their way to the front and ultimately taking first in the event, having battled past local demons John Reynolds and Fran Howell. Geoff and Bernice Holden put in a strong showing in the conditions to take third overall, and with their track-record in a breeze, look to be a team to watch in the Europeans next month in Quiberon, France. Special mention to newcomers in the fleet Keri and Freya Harris and also to guest crew Harry Kennedy sailing with Richard De Fleury. Next up is Weston 4th and 5th July and then the fleet is off to Quiberon for what promises to be a cracking event hosted by the rejuvenated and fast-growing French 4000s.
1st 4190 Steve Cockerill Sarah Cockerill
2nd 4682 John Reynolds Fran Howell
3rd 4266 Geoff Holden Bernice Holden
F0r results so far click here….
The 4000 fleet arrived at Rutland last Saturday, to be greeted by glorious sunshine and a stiff force 5 north-easterly breeze – classic Garda conditions, just 20° colder! This was to be the 1st event of the 2015 UK series (see www.4000.org.uk for the full calendar). Some of us were relatively fit, like Steve and Sarah Cockerill, fresh from their creditable performances in the Laser Masters at a very windy Grafham the previous weekend, while others were only just out of hibernation.
Geoff and Bernice Holden (4266) were sporting a brand-new Rooster red kite, but on their test hoist , they found they had rigged it wrongly and had to return to shore to fix it, unfortunately missing the 1st race. The race officer set 3 laps of a fairly short but true course, with a starboard-biased line. Father and son team Tim and Alex Litt (4546) were so keen to start this season’s challenge that they were OCS and had to go back. This allowed Steve and Sarah (4190) to romp away, playing the shifts on the beats expertly as usual, and by the end of the race which lasted barely half an hour, they had built a commanding lead over John Reynolds and Fran Howell (4682), with David Marchant and Matt Reynolds (4568) coming in 3rd.
Race 2 was sensibly extended to 4 laps, and this time John and Fran rounded the top mark in 1st position, having hit the left side of the course hard and tacked in good wind just off the peninsula. They headed back that way downwind, closely followed by Steve and Sarah. After gybing, John was determined to make the bottom mark in one, consequently slowing down somewhat. Steve decided to gybe out in an effort to overtake, but capsized in the disturbed wind. John and Fran held their lead almost to the end, but things really hotted up at the final leeward mark. Tim and Alex just got through John and Fran at the mark rounding. 4682 immediately tacked off onto a good shift and had slightly better wind on the left, and as they tacked they realised that they could just have the yellow boat at the finish, provided Tim couldn’t get them on starboard. But somehow, Tim and Alex capsized while tacking, allowing John and Fran to win comfortably. Meanwhile another close battle was being fought between the next two boats. Neil Heffernan and Matt Barker (4343) capsized just after rounding the leeward mark – was this a case of some of the more unfit sailors getting a tad tired perhaps??? This allowed David and Matt (4568) to fill the vacant 2nd slot with ease.
Race 3 began, still with breezy conditions and a clear blue sky, with no change to the course. There was never a dull moment in this race. Geoff and Bernice were jostling with Richard and Jo de Fleury (4572) on a reach when Geoff slipped off the rack and almost abandoned ship; he would have been instantly run over by the other boat had he not somehow clung on to both the tiller extension and the mainsheet (https://youtu.be/KQN27phRkXY)
. He managed to keep the boat upright, despite sending Bernice flying around the shroud! Further back down the fleet, Tim and Alex were chasing the pack after an earlier capsize, and as they reached off towards the peninsula, found themselves on a collision course with 2 Sprint 18’s who were beam reaching on port but not racing. Tim knew it would be impossible to get above them in the strong wind, and by the time it was evident that the cats either would not or could not keep clear, he had no alternative but to ditch the boat, catapulting Alex into the “GBR” on the mainsail. 4000 crews have to be strongly made!
So at the end of Day 1, 4190 and 4682 were on level points at the top of the leaderboard, with everything to play for. The day certainly showed off the superb weight equalisation system of the 4000. Where else could we lightweights compete on level terms with the heavy teams in a solid force 5? The day also posed some interesting questions:
- Martin Burgess and Martin Scholes, sailing together for the 1st time in the challenging conditions, were frequently seen washing the cobwebs off 4467. Would they be able to keep it upright on the Sunday, with the wind forecast to moderate slightly?
- Would rumors that John and Fran (combined age 120+) are “getting past it” be proved to be somewhat premature?
- Would Matt Reynolds finally get to beat his dad? (Answer: yes, by the narrowest of margins in race 4.)
Sunday was cloudy, with larger shifts than the previous day, and a more manageable force 3 to 4. We were racing on the club course, leading to some interesting traffic scenarios. Yet Steve and Sarah stamped their authority on the event, with 3 bullets, always seeming to spot the shifts upwind and find the best pressure downwind. In race 5, after a good start, John and Fran sailed a near-perfect 3rd beat to round the top mark ahead of them, only to be overtaken again as Steve and Sarah powered away downwind. Race 6 was started by the OD, with Tim and Alex continuing their starting woes as they tried to do a port flyer. They succeeded in ducking David and Matt but failed to duck John and Fran, hitting their port wing and capsizing (again). As the club boats went in for lunch, we had to finish ourselves at the top mark in order to get in our back-to-back races, a first for the fleet in any full open meeting that I can remember! Local boat Simon Laken and Andy Dring (4574) managed their best result coming in 7th. Thankfully, there were no contentious issues with the results.
There were a couple of highlights for me:
- Steve going topless at the weigh-in, in an effort to stay the correct side of the 2 / 3 weights boundary on the equalisation chart, stretching the definition of “light clothing” somewhat!
- A peal of laughter rang out across the fleet as the 1st five-minute gun went off on the Saturday, as our brand-new class flag (still lime green, but with the new 4000 logo, recently supplied by Scott Dawson) was hoisted upside down! This proved to be prophetic, as only 3 boats stayed upright throughout the Saturday.
Overall this event was a brilliant start to the new season. Thanks go to Wave Clothing (www.waveclothing.co.uk) for the prizes, complete with the new 4000 branding, and to Tim Litt for his sterling work organising the event.
Next up – Langstone Harbour in less than2 weeks’ time, a new venue for the 4K’s.
|Position||Helm / Crew||Sail No.||R1||R2||R3||R4||R5||R6||Total||Nett*|
|1||Steve & Sarah Cockerill||4190||1||(4)||1||1||1||1||9||5|
|2||John Reynolds & Fran Howell||4682||2||1||3||(5)||2||3||16||11|
|3||Geoff & Bernice Holden||4266||(DNC)||3||4||2||3||2||24||14|
|4||David Marchant & Matt Reynolds||4568||3||2||(6)||4||4||5||24||18|
|5||Richard & Jo de Fleury||4572||6||(7)||2||6||5||4||30||23|
|6||Tim & Alex Litt||4546||4||6||(7)||3||6||6||32||25|
|7||Neil Heffernan & Matt Barker||4343||5||5||5||7||7||(8)||37||29|
|8||Simon Laken & Andy Dring||4574||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||8||8||7||53||43|
|9||Martin Burgess & Martin Scholes||4467||(DNF)||DNC||DNC||9||9||RTD||58||48|
A year on from the first introduction of the new sail plan and the 4000 fleet are already getting excited about its venture to this year’s Euro Cup at Quiberon in July. Talk is that we are expecting 50 boats in the warm western French sailing resort, with 8 Italian, 25 French and perhaps 22 British teams competing in 2015’s 4000 Euro Cup.
Despite the 4000 circuit not yet programmed to have its first regatta for another fortnight, 4 Rooster 4000’s ventured to Weston Sailing Club on Southampton Water to race at its Easter Grand Slam Regatta. The past Euro
Cup Champions John Reynolds and Fran Howell were keen to topple Steve and Sarah Cockerill’s recent domination of 4000 events from Autumn in 2014. Were Steve and Sarah’s recent tight racing at Stokes Bay Sailing Club’s winter series, work up enough to dominate this first regatta?
Tight racing ensued between the 4 4000’s in changeable and shifty conditions with many instances where you could throw a bed sheet over the 4 boats. Steve and Sarah held a one point lead in shifty offshore conditions from the first two days, but were toppled from the top spot of the fast handicap fleet in the end by a competitive RS800 in some steadier 15 knots conditions on the last day.
In the steady conditions John and Fran pushed Steve and Sarah closely with Jo and Richard de Fleury beginning their work up
from their recent injury in preparing for their European Challenge. Some interesting crew and helm swopping took place in their boat — was this a new method of crew helm understanding training, or are they preparing for the ultimate role swop – let’s wait and see?
Keri and Freya Harris, a brand new father and daughter team, were at the very
beginning of their journey. This was their very first race in a 4000, although I know that Keri has campaigned everything from International 14’s to B14’s in the past. But in this instance, they showed the rest of the fleet the meaning of ‘would-a-could-a-
should-a’ — after despite the odd capsize, broken toe strap, missed toe strap and mis-rigged spinnaker — they were still able to challenge for the top spot in many of the races. Yet another new team to watch out for as the summer approaches.
Thanks to LBP Aerial Imagery for the Photos