Starcross Steamer Pursuit Race
Report by Richard Watsham of Starcross YC
Three RS Aeros lined up with 81 other boats to face this years chilly Exe Sails Starcross Steamer pursuit race. The RS Aero contingent comprised of Richard Willows and Rob Beaton sailing RS Aero 7s and Rich Watsham sailing an RS Aero 9. Entries ranged from a Cadet to RS800s and an international canoe, providing a wide variety of boats to race against.pasting
A North Easterly wind gave a stable force 3 for the majority of the race providing enough room on the estuary for a long beat followed by ample off wind sailing. Three laps of the course saw conditions gradually veer towards the East with significant gains to be made on the starboard side of the beat. This veer in the wind was particularly evident on the final lap where many places were made and lost as the fleet combined.
The RS Aero 9 started with a Scorpion, a couple of Blaze dinghies and a Zero. Over the course of the first lap these starters traded places, all excelling at differing points on the race course. As the race played out the two Blaze dinghies provided great racing for the Aero 9 with the Blaze driving well upwind and the Aero 9 zipping along down wind. As with all pursuit racing timing is everything and as the time limit approached the Aero 9 found itself on the downwind leg and in its element, taking small gusts and quickly accelerating allowing the Aero 9 to finally pull through the traffic and hold off a few of the oncoming boats.
The Aero 7s started with the RS200s and managed to keep some in their wake to the finish. Both Richard Willows and Rob Beaton had a competitive race and traded blows for the majority of the course. However Richard Willows timed the wind shifts well and took the right hand wind veer on the final lap to secure the honours for first Aero 7.
The overall RS Aero positions were:
Rich Watsham Starcross RS Aero 9 18th
Richard Willows Roadford RS Aero 7 44th
Rob Beaton Plymouth RS Aero 7 53rd
Overall line honours went to Richard Cain and Barney Dearsly in an RS 400 closely followed by Terry Curtis and Peter Greig in an Osprey. Overall results are here
On the whole the day was a great success for the burgeoning RS Aero fleet in the South West. Many people stopped to look at the Aeros and ask questions. Hopefully this will mark the start of a strong Aero representation in the region and bodes well for upcoming events. The next (and last) event in the south west challenge series is the Exmoor Beastie, which takes place at Wimbleball SC on the 22 March. Full details here; www.wimbleballsc.org.uk