Write-UpEMSWORTH SLIPPER’S SHIVER - UK, 28th Dec
Congratulations to the RS Aeros who had six sailors in the top ten with an excellent turnout of 13 in total in the 44 boat mixed fleet. Greg Bartlett took 2nd overall in his RS Aero 9 (showing that you can still win races on the 9 handicap!) Mark Riddington finished first RS Aero 7 in 4th overall with Henry Chandler 5th, also in a 7.
Thanks to Mark Riddington for his full account of the action;
The Slipper Shiver was held on the 28th December in a fickle S-SE F2-3, on the balmy waters of Chichester Harbour. The format of the event was a 90 minute pursuit race, with the RS Aero results to counting towards the UK Aero Winter Series.
44 boats entered the event, with a very broad spectrum of classes: 9 intrepid junior sailors from the local Tera fleet, 13 Aeros (three 9’s, ten 7’s), a handful of RS400s including RS Aero alumni Steve and Sarah Cockerill, up to the final starts with a Musto Skiff and 505.
As the course was set, the wind was a constant S, which shifted to SE for the RS Aero 7 start. This had the unfortunate consequence of the 7’s being unable to cross the start line on starboard, resulting in some interesting rules interpretations and discussions at the pin end of the line! A couple of boats choose to take sterns on port to get immediate clear air, a tactic that seemed to pay dividends. Visiting sailor Fred Barry did particularly well out of the start, leading the fleet for the first third of the beat, but was overhauled by local sailors Patrick Marshall, John Derbyshire and Mark Riddington.
After a 1.2 mile beat, Patrick rounded first, closely followed by Mark and John, with the rest of the Aero pack only meters behind. Not too many place changes on the run, but the fleet did concertina as the wind increased a couple of knots. On rounding the leeward mark, the leading 7’s noted with dismay a flash of pink half way down the run – Greg Barlett was catching up fast in his RS Aero 9, having had a storming first beat!
The next 1.5 mile beat was the determining leg for the race, as it encompassed several areas of fickle tidal influence. Whilst the wind was shifty, tide was the dominant factor, and the fleet spread through the course of the leg. Henry Chandler made significant gains, with great boat speed and tactical acumen. At the windward mark, local sailor Mark led the 7 fleet by a comfortable margin, with John, Henry and Patrick all in the mix.
On the final run, the RS400 of Steve and Sarah Cockerill finished scything through the fleet to take the lead, and were untroubled for the rest of the race. Greg had now overtaken all but one RS Aero 7, and did a great job of covering to move to first in the Aero fleet by the leeward mark, left with a Laser Radial to overhaul to get to 2nd overall.
On the face of it, the final leg was a one-sided beat that should be been processional to the finish. But it was made more interesting by two factors – the tide running through the penultimate mark, and a shift to the left halfway up the leg. A good tight rounding was needed on the mark to hold position, those that lost a boat length to leeward through the tide on the mark were then in the ‘slow lane’ and eventually forced to tack out. But the shift to the left gave tactical opportunities to overtake for those with separation and leverage! So there was a number of place changes on the final leg, despite it being a one-sided beat (apologies for not being able to report more on the place changes, I was busy trying to fend off a Musto Skiff!).
Overall, the Aero fleet had good tactical upwind/downwind racing, and an excellent turkey soup afterwards. The highlight of the day for me was seeing the local Tera fleet on the water in the middle of winter, and then accosting Greg Barlett and Steve Cockerill for racing tips afterwards!
Many thanks to the visitors who made the trip to Emsworth Slipper SC – same time next year!
Final Positions for RS Aeros as follows:
1st – Greg Barlett (RS Aero 9, 2600, Starcross SC)
2nd – Mark Riddington (RS Aero 7, 2553, Emsworth Slipper SC)
3rd – Henry Chandler (RS Aero 7, 2725, Emsworth SC)
4th – John Derbyshire (RS Aero 7, 2414, Emsworth SC)
5th – Patrick Marshall (RS Aero 7, 2440, Emsworth SC)
6th – Hugh Kennedy (RS Aero 7, 2627, Emsworth Slipper SC)
7th – Raulf Berry (RS Aero 7, 1149, Emsworth Slipper SC)
8th – Fred Barry (RS Aero 7, 3127, Warsash SC)
9th – Joe Burnie (RS Aero 9, 1411, Emsworth SC)
10th – Travers Rudd (RS Aero 7, 1213, Thorney Island SC)
11th – Mark Fox (RS Aero 9, 2223, Stokes Bay SC)
12th – Nick Ireland (RS Aero 7, 2518, Stokes Bay SC)
13th – Graham Platt (RS Aero 7, 1490, Highcliffe SC)