A total of 39 RS400 crews made the trip to Parkstone YC for the 6th Fat Face circuit event shared with the RS200s

A total of 39 RS400 crews made the trip to Parkstone YC for the 6th Fat Face circuit event shared with the RS200s. There was plenty of sunshine and bikini-clad 200 crews to go round, but the big question was would there be any wind?

Following a robust briefing from the OOD the fleet launched in regulation time and began the trip around the harbour to play chicken with the chain ferry. With everyone safely through, bizarre wind conditions ensued as a battle between the gradient wind and sea breeze took place.

The start sequence began a Force 2 sea breeze up and running. Race 1 eventually started after the 200s had finished checking the race officer had packed all of his flags, over a particularly port bias start line. A quick tack onto port was required with the windward mark to the right of the course and a hack upwind against the tide began. The Littlejohns came in from the left with a good lead to round first followed by a tightly packed group. Burlton and Bonsey managed to break away from the pack and ground down Littlejohn to pass them on the second reach to take the win. Neal and Paul Freeman came through to second leaving the Littlejohns third.

Race 2 began in similar conditions with a similar port bias line. This time the Littlejohns made no mistakes and won by a good margin. Just as they crossed the finish line the game of roulette started behind them. With 2nd, 3rd and 4th boats approaching the leeward mark the wind switched off. These three boats managed to get round the mark giving Burlton/Bonsey 2nd followed closely by Dave Jones and Mark Hogan in 3rd and Chris Hogan/Elaine Marsh 4th. The remainder of the fleet was left wondering whether the northerly land, or southerly sea breeze would win. In the end neither did and the ensuing drifting match saw some massive gains and losses.

Race 3 was cancelled due to lack of consistent wind.

More sun greeted the fleet on Sunday morning but a flat calm in the harbour meant the fleet had to wait for the sea breeze. The race officer showed exceptional enthusiasm by initiating a tow out to the start, however this was not required as the sea breeze kicked in late in the morning.

Race 4 started in a Force 2, from a even line. Jennings/Nicklin got to the windward mark first and got away down the first run. Holes in the breeze made for tricky conditions and Burlton/Bonsey jumped the gap on lap two and challenged for the lead on lap three. Jennings/Nicklin just held on at the bottom of the final run to bag the win from Burtlon/Bonsey and Paul Hilliar/Toby.

The fifth race was run in similar conditions. This time local lightweights Duncan Glen and Simon Flack finally got into their stride. At the windward mark the tide seemed to be playing trick on everyone ending up with Chris Gowers mooring up on the mark as the leaders sailed round him. Up the second beat Burlton got to the favoured left of the fleet to briefly take the lead only to have Glen sail past down wind. Glen and flack went on to win from Burlton/Bonsey and Jennings/Nicklin.

With time running short it became clear that there would only be time for one more race. With a consistent score line of 1,2,2,2 this gave Burlton the event with a race to spare.

A pause in the proceedings followed Race 5 while the race officer manoeuvred the course to accommodate a huge shift in the wind signalling the beginning of the end of the sea breeze. Race 6 started over a very starboard biased line and the right side of the beat was favoured with more wind. Jennings/Nicklin rounded first and gybed to stay with the breeze. Duncan Glen/Simon Flack rounded second and used their light wind skills to keep in touch. A shift left in the breeze favoured Glen who took the lead at the leeward mark. Burlton/Bonsey also caught up in the shift to round third. The wind was now very light and the right-hand side was heavily favoured. Glen/Flack led the way followed by Jennings /Nicklin, Burtlon/Bonsey tacked away which turned out to be a costly error. The Freemans took up the third spot and showed good light wind speed near the top of the beat. The OOD very wisely shortened course at the windward mark and Glen/Flack took the win. Jennins/Nicklin fended off the Freemans who took 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Burton/Bonsey took the overall win by a large score margin. Jenning/ Nicklin took 2nd overall in front of a close scoring pack. Glen/Flack took 3rd.