Rutland Goes Down a Storm for the Ent's!

Rutland S.C. hosted the Enterprise Inland Championships on the weekend of 30/4 - 01/05. A fantastic turnout of 67 boats turned for what turned out to be an excellent regatta.

Jeff Dyer and former world championship winning crew, Simon Cook from Penarth Yacht Club, were very convincing winners of the 2005 Enterprise Inland Championships, hosted by Rutland Sailing Club. Scoring 1,1,3,5 and 2 for a 7 point total. Their nearest rivals could only manage 21 points in the trying and crowded conditions.

As for the home boats, the team of Paul Young and Alison Torrens, had a good first day, finishing 32nd and 16th in races 1 and 2 respectively. As for Ian and Chris Smith, the race 1 plan was for a conservative start, about a third of the way up the line from the favoured end, head out to the left where there was more breeze work the shifts and tack across in clear air for the starboard lay line, find a gap about 50 yards from the windward mark and round in the top twenty. All well and good as we arrrived in the top twenty however, there were no gaps and we ducked 37 transoms (approx!) and rounded in 55th place. Youngy was long gone down the second leg of the triangle. After three more rounds of triangles and sausages, we managed to claw our way back to 35th. Well atleast we now knew that we had good speed and by crikey our boat handling had sharpened up dramatically! In any case we had decided that this would be our discard.

Race 2 was going to see a marked improvement, a more agressive start was needed and this time we weren't going to get boxed out to one side and we were definitely not going to come into the first mark on PORT! We could only manage a marginal improvement and scored 31st, a long way behind Paul and Ali. We sailed the 30 minute beat back to the clubhouse trying to ' take the positives' out of the day and concluded that what we needed to be was more relaxed.

While most of the fleet enjoyed their evening meal, we headed for the tents and warmed up Julie's delicicious sweet and sour chicken before heading to the club house for a beer or three! Later in the evening, or was it early morning, the youngsters in the fleet were partying hard when the mother of all thunder storms lit up the camp site like so many Christmas trees and eventually I managed some sleep.

Day 2 dawned flat calm and dull. The Merlin Rocket trainees who were sharing the water for the weekend must have had a good nights sleep as Brendan was up early trying to shop for a new wetsuit as his had shrunk, however, the chandlery only had small, medium and large, so he faced another day of being poached in a drysuit.

A 45 minute postponement ensued until eventually some breeze kicked in and we set out on the 30 minute run to the committee boat for 3 races back to back!........3 opportunities to improve our position and with Paul and Ali lying in the low twenties overall, we needed some good results!

Race 3 eventually got underway after a couple of recalls but unfortunately without the Smiths. Being OCS and black flagged along with two others, we sat it out in cool, dull conditions, watching and learning (not)? We convinced ourselves that being over the line was a good thing and simply showed that we were trying! Paul and Ali were disappointed with a 41st but the day was to get even worse for them as race 4 yielded a 46th and for us; 21st. Things were looking up and it felt like we were finally getting it together, however, in this fleet one poor tack or mark rounding cost you 5 positions, let alone choosing the wrong direction up the beat.

The final race eventually got started after some start line adjustments and the sun had even put in an appearance. It had turned into a fantastic day for sailing and whatever the outcome, we would have had a great weekend. We had an awful start again but managed to claw our way up a little bit, finishing in 29th, just one place behind Paul and Ali. Why is it that when sailing back to the club house after a race, one always seems to be faster than the other boats? Answers on a postcard please.

We didn't really care too much about our overall result, we had had a great weekend, improved our teamworking immensely and even got a bit of a tan. Rutland had organised a superb event, complete with an ISAF judge, providing 'on the water' refereeing (is that a real word?) and just for the record, the Midland boats finished as follows:- Ian an Chris 33rd overall and Paul and Ali, who were very disappointed with their second day's performance, finishing 34th. It doesn't get much closer than that!


Ian Smith