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RS300 Winter Championships - Aldenham SC 7/8 December 2013

The long awaited RS300 Winters, re-scheduled from the heavy snows earlier this year, were held at Aldenham Sailing Club over the weekend of 7/8 December 2013.

With the wind forecast at an exciting 8 knots, it was a pleasant surprise to see thirteen 300's enter, with five visitors joining the eight local boats on the testy and shifty conditions to be found at Aldenham.

With the travellers bemused by the Aldenham finish line procedure, we headed out for the first of 3 planned back to back races. Off the line Duncan and Sam jumped the gun, leaving Tim in space up to the first mark, followed by Harry, Mark and Pete.

Tim and Harry traded places all the way round, with Pete and Mark having their own battle for 3rd. Unfortunately for them, after his jumped start, Duncan was a man on a mission clawing his way up through the fleet to leave the end result as Harry, closely followed by Tim, and then Duncan snatching third.

For the second race, the wind had shifted south, creating a port-biased line. Only Pete and Mark where brave enough to trust that Aldenham's shifts would stay long enough to make use of this, and they did with devastating effect. Pete was round the top first with Mark not far behind. Harry and Tim made it round 3rd and 4th, but by this time Pete was in clear air and making the most of it, gaining what appeared to be an insurmountable lead. A risky phrase at Aldenham. Again, Tim and Harry traded place lap after lap, but slowly closing on the front 2 boats. In the last 2 laps, Harry found a burst of speed, passing Mark, and then much to Pete's frustration, taking the lead. This left the finish as Harry, Pete, Mark and Tim.

"No place is safe" should be the Aldenham motto.

In the final race of the day, Harry got into clean air on the first 3 legs, and by the reach had a comfortable lead. This left the real racing to be done for second place, and what a battle it was! Over the first 30 minutes of racing, no less than 5 boats held the position: Mark, Pete, Tim, Duncan and Alan all did a stint there, with much chopping and changing, and the odd minor infringement keeping things interesting.

Eventually it was Tim who got the better of the gaggle, pulling away into a comfortable second behind Harry. Mark and Duncan where next to finish, with their race going down to the wire but Mark just piping Duncan to the post.

Special mention must also go to young Sam, who has only just bought a 300 and at 9 stone is ideal for these conditions and was already showing promise with some solid results - Keep it up! To those nearer the back, Dan (The Godfather) makes an apology for his moaning! 

The problem with Winter Championships is the early nights and inevitable early commencement of evening entertainment. So the hardy walked to the local pub for a great meal and the fool-hardy few even stayed on too late, entertained by the RS300 lonely hearts club (membership censored) attempts to find solace in Tinder (whatever that is).

Sunday brought cracking weather and with it an even better blow than Saturday gusting around 12 knots, though the shiftiness was still present and correct, making smooth racing a little more difficult. It also brought Dan Treloar and Marcus Flint, a very low sun making the windward marks a little tricky to see, and Barry's arrival in his strange 3-wheeled contraption.

In race 4, the fleet split up the first beat, and it was Barry right hand line that paid, getting him to the top first and proving he's not done schooling us yet. The usual suspects of Tim, Mark, Harry, Pete and Duncan where next to the mark, but Harry infringed on Pete, the resultant penalty sent him to the back of the fleet. Duncan, Mark and Tim lead the fleet round, trading places in the shifts and gusts. Pete and Martin where having their own battle for 4th but by the final lap Harry had caught up and came through on a typically unjust downwind gust, leaving the finishing positions as Mark, Duncan, Tim, Harry and Pete.

In race 5, it was Duncan that led the way, followed by Harry, Tim and Mark. Duncan pulled out a sizable lead, leaving Harry and Tim to scrap over the remainder of the podium positions. As the race concluded however, in true gusty pond style, Duncan's significant lead diminished rapidly giving Harry and Tim a sniff of hope. On the final reach, Tim got the better of Harry, and tucked up behind Duncan leading to the closest 1,2,3 of the weekend as they crossed the line nose to tail.

The weekend's final race started with a much-disputed OCS call for Tim, leaving Harry, Pete and Mark to make the best of the diminishing breeze. Harry pulled out a lead in clean air, and Pete and Mark tussled for 2nd and 3rd. The shifty conditions began to take their toll and the fleet spread out towards the end of the 50 minute race, with Mark and Sam making last minute charges onto the podium behind Harry.

A big thanks to everyone who came. The tricky Aldenham conditions made for some very close racing throughout the fleet and some top notch sailing was had by all.

The 300 open season kicks off again in early March 2014 for the Winter's at Sheffield Viking where the conditions are likely to be a lot less pleasant but the Yorkshire welcome will be warm.

Final Results with 1st youth going to newcomer Sam, who also finished 6th overall. One to watch we agree!

Overall Results:


PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st 523 Harry McVicar Aldenham SC 1 1 1 ‑4 3 1 7
2nd 328 Tim Keen Sheffield Viking SC 2 4 2 3 2 ‑6 13
3rd 432 Mark Riddington ESSC/TISC ‑7 3 3 1 5 2 14
4th 454 Duncan Jenkins Aldenham SC 3 ‑6 4 2 1 5 15
5th 500 Pete Ellis Aldenham SC 5 2 5 5 ‑6 4 21
6th 347 Sam McKay Swarkestone SC ‑8 5 6 7 4 3 25
7th 374 Dan Skinner Aldenham SC 4 8 8 ‑10 8 7 35
8th 525 Barry Steel Aldenham SC ‑9 7 7 8 7 8 37
9th 481 Martin Harrison Royal Victoria SC 6 9 9 6 9 (DNC) 39
10th 356 Allan Edwards HLTSC 10 10 10 11 (DNF) 10 51
11th 417 Dan Treloar Aldenham SC (DNC) DNC DNC 9 10 9 56
12th 406 Jim Strother Aldenham SC 11 11 11 ‑13 12 11 56
13th 530 Marcus Flint Aldenham SC (DNC) DNC DNC 12 11 DNC 65