RS400 sailors were rewarded by a fantastic weekend of Fat Face circuit racing held at Aldeburgh

RS400 sailors were rewarded by a fantastic weekend of Fat Face circuit racing held at Aldeburgh Yacht Club on 7-8 June.

Local RS400 sailor, Matt Fairless made a great sacrifice by not sailing to assist able Race Officer, George Johnson to ensure that everything ran smoothly on the racetrack. The racing followed windward and leeward course format.

A total of 37 boats consisting of 25 visiting and 12 local crews took to the sea for race one. The conditions were perfect, glorious sun and a solid Force 3-4 south/south westerly against tide, producing short beats and roller coaster downwind legs on big waves. The Race Officer took the opportunity of setting a mile long beat, which proved to be test for all sailors.

It was a cautious fleet that lined up for the start race one to avoid being swept over the line by the tide. It soon became clear that the superstar pairing of Roger Gilbert/Andrew Bonsey sailing Fat Face were on the pace showing superior speed both upwind and downwind to win the race. Laser legend, Mark Littlejohn sailing with son Sam, pushed hard and managed a second place. Phil Jackson/Gerard Barron finished third.

The wind had built to a Force 4 at the start of race two. After a general recall the Race Officer put the black flag into play and the fleet got off on the second start. Jason Pyke/Barney Rubble nailed the starboard end of the line and after a tactical first beat rounded the first mark ahead of Chris Jennings/Ed Nicklin and Gilbert/Bonsey. After a tussle downwind, Jennings/Nicklin got past Pyke/Rubble, whilst Giblets/Bonsey sailed high and fast to lead at the leeward mark. The order of the front three remained unchanged to the finished.

In race three Gilbert/Bonsey continued their dominance followed by Jennings/Nicklin and Jackson/Baron. Consistency was the order of the day for the team racing ace Stuart Hudson/Adam Heely and the Proctor Mast team of Robin Kenyon/Toby Lewis who both finished fourth and fifth respectively in the first three races. It was a tired and but very happy fleet that returned ashore to sample the local Adnams beer in the friendly atmosphere of the yacht club bar.

On Sunday the first start was scheduled for 1030 but the breeze failed to appear. A postponement was posted and with mixed weather forecasts the chance of racing seemed remote. However, at around 1230 a light south-westerly veering southerly filled in and the Race Officer decided there was sufficient wind to race.

A short course was laid making it essential to get off the line in clear air to squeeze ahead in a tight fleet. Race four got off in a Force 2-3 and to surprise of the sailors, the breeze steadily built to a Force 4. Gilbert/Bonsey claimed first from Pyke/Rubble who this time managed to keep Jennings/Nicklin behind them in third. Hudson/Heely and Kenyon/Lewis continued their day one consistency with a respective fourth and fifth. A credible performance came from Gavin Marshall/Anna Robinson who rounded the first mark in third place but then lost out in the strengthening wind.

The fleet thought it had died and gone to sailing heaven. The sun came out and the wind continued to steadily increase against a tide kicking up some great waves. After a recalled start and the appearance of the ominous chalkboard, race 5 got underway. Jennings/Nicklin sailed well to take the bullet followed by Hudson/crew and Jackson/Barron. Gilbert/Bonsey came an uncharacteristic fifth but had done enough to win the event with a race to spare.

At the start of race six, things were really starting to liven up. Half the fleet experienced an involuntary early bath and followed it by an early shower by not completing the race. For the remainder the racing was fast and furious. Jennings/Nicklin won the race followed by Jackson/Barron and Kenyon/Lewis.

Overall Results

1 Roger Gilbert and Andrew Bonsey, Frensham Pond

2 Chris Jennings and Ed Nicklin, Burghfield Sailing Club

3 Stuart Hudson and Adam Heely, Spinnaker

4 Phil Jackson and Gerard Barron, Parkstone Yacht Club

5 Robin Kenyon and Toby Lewis, Hamble River Sailing Club