A somewhat depleted 4000 fleet were greeted with a soggy Grafham last Saturday morning. After the exuberance of Garda and the Torbay Nationals, an outbreak of “crews blues” had struck, with some notable absences and last-minute crew substitutions due to illness and injuries. But the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those who could make it.
Tim Litt was sailing with Alex Cramp, as neither of his sons was available. They were spotted at the weigh-in, stretching the definition of “light clothing” to the limit. This was in a vain attempt to make rack 4 on the weight chart, to make Tim’s helming position a little more comfortable.
The forecast force 2 – 3 southerly breeze duly set in, and racing began promptly. The wind was due to track right by at least 90° during the afternoon as the rain cleared, so would it be a question of simply defending the right on the beats? We shall see….. Race officer Nigel Dench set a port biased line, long enough for the 28 D-Zeros holding their Inlands on the start before us, so it was vital to choose the correct end of the line. Neil and Charlotte Heffernan performed an admirable port flyer, but by the top of the first beat they had been overhauled by Tim & Alex, and David & Matt. Tim and Alex went on to take the win, but when asked what their secret was later, Tim replied that they were so fired up after making the start on time for once, they couldn’t go wrong!
Despite the U flag, the D-Zeros were a little too keen on the second start, leading to a general recall. The line was again port biased, but 30 seconds before our start, the wind went even further left. Neil and Charlotte were again closest to the pin, but this time they found themselves unable to make the pin on starboard, as several boats got away over them. John & Fran spotted good wind at the top of the lake well to the left, so hit the corner hard, reaching the top mark with a comfortable lead over the rest of the fleet which they retained to the end of the race.
The D-Zeros got away cleanly on the next start, but the ominous low dark cloud just to the west signified the weather front was very close. Two minutes before our start, we spotted that the line was becoming starboard biased, so duly lined up for a committee boat start. We suddenly found ourselves in lighter wind, on a run as the gun went, trying to make it round the back of the committee boat! Apparently, according to the race committee, the wind veered through 160° – mainly in that couple of minutes! Nigel had no choice but to abandon the race and completely rejig the course. Race 3 eventually got away in a north-westerly. The lighter wind suited John & Fran to a tee, and coupled with a bit of local knowledge, they soon built a large lead, with David & Matt in the other local boat taking second place.
Sunday dawned with bright sunshine and light airs, and we were all at the starting area in time for the published 10.30 start. Unfortunately it took a full hour for the wind to stabilise sufficiently for the race officer to finalise the course. However, this gave the opportunity for three different helms to try the latest prototype carbon mast (#3) Steve Cockrell had been planning to trial it in the event, but due to Sarah’s illness, had given it to Richard for the weekend. Initial impressions are very promising, with the sail setting much better than the previous two prototypes earlier this year, so we will be continuing the trials; watch this space!!!
Racing finally got away in light, shifty conditions, which eventually built to around 7 knots, but with gusts of twice this which would catch out the unwary. At least one boat capsized after being suddenly “tacked” by a wind shift and the helm not making it to the other side in time. Trevor & Adrien are used to inland sailing in Belgium, and relished the conditions. They reached the top mark first in race 4, closely followed by David & Matt, but John & Fran pulled through to take the win.
Race 5 continued the “snakes and ladders” theme, and this time John & Fran found themselves stuck in a hole at the bottom of the beat, never to recover, as the rest of the fleet sailed away to the right. This time Martin and Tom Burgess had their best race, and were leading down the second reach; but by the end of the final lap both Richard & Mike and Trevor & Adrien had overhauled them. For race 6, Nigel had set the top Mark much further right, but inevitably the wind soon shifted back again leading to a rather biased course. Tim & Alex led the drag race and crossed the line first, only to find that they were disqualified due to being OCS. This gave Team Peirce their first race win in an open meeting, and second place overall in the event, behind John & Fran. Well done to Elena for doing her bit on the first day in place of her brother.
Many thanks to Nigel Dench and his wife for their excellent race management in difficult conditions. Let’s hope all the absent crews are fit again in time for the final series event at Rutland next month.
Results can be found here – Results
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.