You know it’s probably going to be too windy to go racing when it takes five people to step the mast, and unsurprisingly racing on the first day of the 4000 Nationals at Royal Torbay Yacht Club was cancelled due to the weather. However, from there things only got better, with Torquay delivering conditions to rival Garda – from where the fleet have just returned.
Day 2, the first day of racing, saw Steve and Sarah Cockerill establish a dominant lead, holding off French crew Michael Duflos and Anthony Scournec, and Neil Heffernan and Jo Morrison, clearly enjoying the breezy conditions. Despite the breeze (15-20knots and gusting more) racing remained very tight throughout the day – with places being swapped right up until the finish line, and in some instances even on the line.
Day 3 saw Steve and Sarah keep first, Michael and Anthony second, whilst John Reynolds and Fran Howell pushed Neil and Jo back into fourth. Special mention for the second race of Day 2 which saw Richard and Jo de Fleury pull off a port end start, cross the fleet and adopt a commanding lead for the first lap, which they held until Steve and Sarah managed to overhaul them. Day 2 also saw things come together for Alex Cramp and Charlotte Heffernan, racing together for the first time, and holding third in the last race of the day right up until the last gybe that saw John and Fran take the inside.
Day 4 brought glorious sunshine but much lighter conditions. Racing was nevertheless focussed, and whilst Steve and Sarah, and Michael and Anthony, could be confident of keeping first and second respectively, there was some pressured racing immediately behind. John and Fran had a strong day to keep Neil and Jo in fourth, in turn managing to stave off Neil and Sarah Davies pushing hard from fifth overall.
Special mention to Kevin Reed and Mark Stitson competing in their first Nationals, and getting faster and faster through the event, and also to Russell Mead with Mike Gray and then Ade guesting from the Cherub fleet – finishing the event with a hard-won 4th in the last race.
So what did we learn from the event? Undoubtedly the 4000 remains a boat that rewards skill not spend – with the weight equalisation ensuring a level playing field no matter the wind conditions, the new Rooster sails delivering the same performance as the originals, and with even the earliest boats showing no speed disadvantage against newer. It is also a very robust skiff – in 12 races, sometimes in very challenging wind and wave conditions, there were no retirements across the fleet due to gear failure. Most importantly though the 4000 is accessible, huge fun to sail and the class association remains as friendly as ever!
Thank you to RTYC for a great event, congratulations to Steve and Sarah for retaining their title, and we look forward to the next open at Grafham 10th 11th September. Newcomers are always welcome!
Please get your entries in asap to get the reduced fee (must be done by noon 6th Aug for early bird fee)
entry form is here www.rtyc.org/torbay-royal-regatta/4000-nationals/
We are now sailing at Poole YC for 9th 10th July, joining the Asymmetric Fleet as part of their annual club regatta. First start Saturday is 11am briefing at 10am. Registration is now open on their website https://webcollect.org.uk/pycracing/category/poole-yacht-club-regatta-2016.
YOU NEED TO ENTER BEFORE 3RD JULY!!!!
UK Series Round 2 – YDSC
Registration open from 9am
Racing starts at 12pm and will consist of 3 back to back races
Racing begins at 10am and will consist of 3 back to back races which should be done by lunchtime allowing people to get away at a reasonable time. Race 4 – the 4000 will be the only ones racing and for races 5&6 there will be club racing on the same racecourse but with a separate start.
Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club is a Charity and operates a donation system for open events. Typical donations made for a 2 day open are in the region of £30 Forms will be available at Registration
There is a £3 fee to the Association
If you are not already you must also be a member of the 4000 UK Association (£30 for the year but a reduced fee may be available for people wishing to only do this event). You can join on the day at registration.
Yorkshire Dales is still to come (28th-29th), but registration for Langstone Harbour the weekend after is now open – www.langstonerace.com. It is an early start (10am first race on Saturday) but there is free camping at Langstone SC…
Based on an initiative by Tim Litt, the AGISEN Match Race 4000 is a project with the objective of providing easy access to high performance dinghy racing and to encourage higher levels of participation. Tim has acquired and renovated two abandoned 4000 hulls and in addition to personal investment Tim has secured sponsorship from Rooster Sailing, Hyde Sails, Selden Masts and The Rutland Chandlery. As the 4000 is a one design and the boats have been set up to have identical rigs, the two boats form an ideal match racing pair.
Together with the support of Steve Tylecote, a novel and innovative racing format has been formulated. Inspired by team racing and based around Americas Cup style racing six helm/crew teams take turns to match race each other on windward-leeward courses. Points are scored for race wins and a novel bonus points system is employed to encourage good sportsmanship by virtue of a self-policing penalty system. The event has the primary objective of providing maximum fun through participation in addition to the strong underpinning of competition.
Members of Rutland Sailing Club were invited to be the Guinea pigs with the support of a few 4000 class association sailors who provided expert help. Helms and crew pairs were combined from those familiar with 4000 and those not so familiar to provide six teams having balanced ability and crew weight advantage.
A spectator friendly course was set in an area between the main pontoons and the fishing lodge. With a reaching start to the leeward mark of a compact windward-leeward course, the competitors sailed 2 laps before reaching back to finish through the start-finish line. Full competitor participation was achieved by a rotation system that required all teams to take turns umpiring, racing, start-finishing and results entry – providing an ‘Event for the sailors, run by the sailors.’
Saturday saw the completion of a complete round-robin with all teams sailing 5 races each. Despite the firm breeze providing some limitation on the ability of boats to engage in close pre-start manoeuvres, this didn’t stop Steve Tylecote and Harry Litt finding several opportunities to hold opposition boats off the line. These early gains proved decisive leaving Steve and Harry in controlling positions for most of their races.
After a hard days racing the sailors made their way to Spoons in Oakham for a well-earned debrief involving food, plenty of beer and to celebrate Steve’s 50th birthday.
The wind shifted towards the North on Sunday and increased in strength providing 18-24 knots from the dam wall giving rise to a fair chop. The stronger and colder breeze didn’t stop Andy McKee and Jon Dixon joining in and getting back into 4000s after many years out. After a few early capsizes Jon and Andy started to display the level of competency normally associated with established skiff sailors.
After 2 days of racing the combination of Harry’s athleticism and Birthday Boy’s boat handling and tactics proved too good for the rest of the teams leaving them with a clean sweep of results closely followed by Dave Marchant and Alex Litt. From the positive responses and feedback given, the conclusion to be drawn from this trial event is that we have devised a fun and interesting format that has left all the sailors egger for the next event.
AGISEN – www.agisen.co.uk
Rooster Sailing www.Roostersailing.com
Hyde Sails – www.hydesails.co.uk
Selden Masts – www.seldenmast.com
The Rutland Chandlery – www.rutlandchandlery.com
Whether you are new to the boat, been sailing it a few years, or many years this, will be a great opportunity to get out on the water and improve your 4000 skills. We’re keeping the plan reasonably loose so that we can tailor it to what people want to cover (and what the weather brings us…..). Post any questions below and let us know if you’re coming. Tim’s match racing boats at Rutland can be borrowed for a contribution to their running costs, so not having a boat is not a barrier! Cost of the event will be the £35 weekend sailing fee at Rutland plus a small contribution to the class if you’re not a member already.
Your Association Needs You!
Please renew your membership to the Association to continue to receive the benefits it brings as well as making sure you are eligible to race at official class events. If you are renewing you should have had an email from Fran with details of how to pay etc. However, if you have not had the email or wish to join as a new member please contact Fran Howell at newmembers @ 4000.org.uk (without the spaces).
This year Rooster are kindly offering a benefit to the Association membership of a 10% discount on all internet orders for paid-up association members until March 1st 2016. So be quick to get your membership returned and get your discount code
European Championships at Riva del Garda in Italy, Nationals at Torbay, a strong UK series with some trusted favourites (Grafham, Rutland) and some new events. Plus the Match Racing trials and the start-of-season training event, what more could you want!
June/early July events still to confirm (marked TBC in calendar) and will update asap.
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