MUSTO Skiff Open Rutland Sailing Club 2nd – 3rd April 2016 (GBR)
3 way tie after 6 races ...
Report by Dan Henderson
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The 1st of the UK MUSTO Skiff Series took place at Rutland water on the weekend of the 2-3rd of April. 22 eager MUSTO Skiffs attended the 1st of what will promise to be a thrilling. The event ran alongside the B14, Cherub and RS700 Open. The MUSTO class opted to ask the only 2 RS700’s if they wanted to sail on the same course to speed the race turn around up and for some friendly racing. Sailors were greeted with a 6-12 knot shifty race course with the MUSTO’s and 700’s competing on the windward leeward race course while the B14’s and Cherub’s were on the outer loop.
The first race got underway with the middle to pin looking the favoured side for most. GBR542 Daniel Henderson who had started at the committee boat end played the shifting and gusty wind well up the first beat to round the windward with a comfortable lead over the chasing pack consisting of Ben Schooling, Alex Knight and Richard Stenhouse. At the top of the second beat positions remained the same with Henderson having what he thought was a race win on the cards. Oh how he was wrong when the wind shut down at the bottom of the 2nd run while the chasing fleet ploughed down the second run in a building breeze. Ben Schooling led around the bottom gate and maintained his lead through to the finish. Alex Knight finished the race in second with Henderson having to settle for 3rd.
Race 2 was sailed in what was the most consistent breeze of the day. Stenhouse won the start off the committee boat and looked strong throughout the opening lap. Stenhouse was chased hard by George Hand and Dave Poston who made some great tactical decisions and found the better breeze to work his way up the fleet. Positions stayed the same to the finish with Henderson finishing 4th and Serega Samus putting in a great race to finish 5th.
The final race of the day was sailed in very similar conditions with large unpredictable wind shifts and gusts meaning things really weren’t over until the end. George Hand sailed a great race to win and take the overnight lead. Dave Poston again made some heroic decisions to take him to 2nd in race 3 with Ben Schooling taking 3rd. Human Leaver Tom Wright put in his best result of the day to finish 4th with MUSTO Skiff Guru Richard Stenhouse rounding out the top 5. Overnight George Hand led from Ben Schooling, with Richard Stenhouse in 3rd and Henderson in 4th.
The 4th race on the first day was that to the local pub where 90% of the Skiff fleet enjoyed some good food and a few drinks. The conversation was very much around the up and coming world championships that will be sailed in Carnac France in early June. New sailor to the MUSTO Skiff fleet Andrew Tarboton hadn’t even planned on attending the world championships however by the end of the evening he had his accommodation and travel planned as the fleet jumped into action to help assist him with his plans.
When sailors arrived on Sunday morning it was overcast, lightly drizzling and mirror like winds. After a good breakfast at the club the sun came out and the wind started to build ready for a 10:30 start. The PRO held the fleet while he changed the course around a little as the breeze was again a bit all over the place. Race 4 got underway in 6-8 knots with snakes and ladders racing. George Hand picked up from where he finished on Saturday to take the race win from Ben Schooling and Alex Knight. Henderson followed in 4th with Ricardo Pelios taking 5th.
Hand had what looked like the event win wrapped up only needing 1 more decent race to take victory. But this was Rutland “shifty” water and it wouldn’t be over till the fat lady sang. Hand put in his worst race of the weekend taking 7th while Henderson managed to just keep 1st place from Mike Palfreman and Alex Knight.
The event all came down to the final race with Hand leading Schooling by 1 point with Henderson 3 points adrift. Hand had a great 1st beat and comfortably led his closest challengers around the first mark. Alex Knight streaked away to an embarrassing lead which he would keep till the end. Hand covered Schooling up the second beat only to let Henderson through on the right hand side which had paid. Henderson rounded the windward in 2nd with Hand and Schooling back in 6th and 7th. Mike Palfreman aced the final downwind to sail through the lee of Henderson to take 2nd place with Henderson taking 3rd. Andrew Tarboton finished the regatta with his best result to take 4th with Schooling and hand fighting back to take 5th and 6th respectively.
So who had won? As it turned out, the top 3 of Hand, Schooling and Henderson were all tied on 15 points with Hand taking victory as he had 2 bullets. Schooling finished the event in 2nd with Henderson 3rd. Special mention has to go to Andrew Tarboton who finished the event in 7th after only having the boat a month. He will definitely be one to watch out for later in the season.
The class would like to thank Rutland Water SC for their hospitality throughout the weekend and look forward to visiting again next year.
The 2016 UK Series continues at Stokes Bay SC on the 16th and 17th of April.
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