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The Starcross Steamer - Starcross YC, Exe, UK 04/02/2024 - 04/02/2024
The Starcross Steamer - Starcross YC, Exe, UK, 4th Feb
Great to see 9 RS Aeros turn out for the Starcross Steamer Pursuit Race on the Exe Estuary, amongst the big fleet of 78 mixed class boats. This annual race is a wonderful day out in the southwest and the entry limit sold out within 24 hours this year!
The weather in Devon was a mild winters day with the temperature up at about 14'C. The medium breeze was particularly gusty and shifty as it was blowing directly off the Starcross shore.
With some long reaches on the course there was opportunity for RS Aeros gain their design advantage by getting planing intermittently as the gusts came through. This placed emphasis on a weaving course on the reaches, to meet and retain the gusts, and to then efficiently promote and maintain planing when the opportunity was there. Another key consideration, beyond the obvious trying to best catch the frequent shifts upwind, was to engage the gust lines down the runs which required frequent looking behind to be ready to step sideways quickly as new gusts evolving off the shoreline became visible on the water.
Peter Barton's RS Aero 7 broke through to the front bunch of of Solos, RS Aero 5 and Radials early, however, a tricky downwind saw the breeze drop right off and then fill from behind on the other side and the hard earned distance over the similarly matched K1 and Comet Trio was lost. An increase in the wind again for the final two legs saw Peter re-overtake the Comet Trio again and get back back just behind the K1 for 3rd overall. The winning RS400 had snuck through with about 8 minutes to the finish.
Mike Way of Exe SC also edged into the top ten in his RS Aero 7 in 9th. Zak Mitchel in his RS Aero 5 had a great race finishing 12th overall and showed good speed over the Solos whenever the breeze was up to hold the lead for a while. Top RS Aero 9 was Richard Watsham, squeezing into the top third in 25th place. Nice to see 4 of the RS Aeros in the top 13.
Thanks to all at Starcross YC for another great day out and to Exe Sails for their continued support of the event.