Every now and again, the Bartley RS fleet decamps en masse. It's a relatively rare occurance, but one thing you can be sure of, is that the RS Sprints will be one of those events that the rowdy Brummies turn up to (apologies to our friends from Stourbridge).
So this year, as last, 7 Bartley 400's & 1 Bartley 300 arrived at Rutland...full of nerves & anticipation.
Some exciting performances had been seen in the 3 brand new boats & the nearly new boat... and as always Sam & John are consistantly at the front of the 400 home fleet. In addition to our star performers, new(ish) talent in the form of Richard Ashwell & Joe Ironside were also showing encouraging signs.
The forecast looked perfect, 12-15 knots on both days, albeit a little on the cold side.
Day 1 started with the usual sprint format, 4 different flights would all battle each other in 6 back to back races on the "M" shaped sprint course. A long beat, tight reach, run, tight reach, beat, tight reach followed by a long run to the finish.
We lost Nick & Greg in the first race due to an unfortunate incident resulting in their bow sprit fracturing... but the rest of the fleet raced on.
Some excellent performances saw Howard & Wayne in 2nd place overnight, hot on their heels were Sam & John, Caroline & Jason in 8th and Richard/Joe in 12th. Those of you that know of the Sprints, will know that those places all count for nought..... as Saturday is merely a seeding day, ready for the big racing in Gold/Silver fleets on Sunday.
So off the water the hot topic of conversation wasn't about the great performances or near misses we'd had, but more about a certain 3 drink rule... I won't name names, but Jason was the enforcer... This topic was closely followed by "how quickly can we open the Enville ale in Howard's Van".
A reasonably sedate evening, by Bartley standards anyway, was followed by the grand finale. A little more breeze was forecast for Sunday & a few nervous Bartley helms were seen pacing the dinghy park.
Again some great racing was had by all. Sam & John were forced to retire due to a broken boom, Richard & Joe had technical issues with a shredded kite halyard, but managed to get back on the race course to finish the last two races in 3rd & 4th respectively.
Without a doubt, the star 400 performers of the weekend were Howard & Wayne, finishing a credible 4th in the Gold fleet. The star 300 performer was Richard Le Mare finishing 2nd in the Gold fleet.
Special mentions to Richard & Joe, recorded some really good results (consistently beating us by miles) & only just missing out on the Gold fleet - I'm pretty sure you'll get there soon guys, and also to Gareth Blakemore (ably assisted by Guy Mason) making his first event outside of Bartley a memorable one, by not only not finishing last, but also not finishing last Bartley boat - well done guys.
As for us ? For those of you that saw Shawn's pre sprint photo on Facebook... let's just say, the goggles hardly got wet, but there aren't many paracetemol or ibuprofen left. It's a tought event, with 12 races over two days, so well done to everyone that took part.