Rutland Marathon Report 2012

19 July 2012

Action For Children Rutland Marathon 2012

Rutland Marathon 2013 in aid of Action for Children, sponsored by Tushingham

Race officers Mike Dempsey and Tessa Ingram had a plan! The trouble with plans is that they seldom work quite the way you had anticipated, especially when you are relying on the Great British Weather.

On the main course the wind had been fairly good for course racing and despite the overcast conditions the sailors seemed keen as racing began. The master plan called for three races back to back, which would allow for a reasonable lunch break prior to the Marathon start at 3pm.

On the junior course conditions appeared to be just about perfect and after an extended briefing with the race officer and the RYA coaches, racing began. Two good races tested the junior sailors and they went to lunch anticipating the 3pm marathon start.

Unfortunately, but given the season so far it should not have been any surprise, the wind dropped and Rutland water became mirror flat. The record for the marathon held by Ross Williams is not much over 30 minutes, everyone was prepared for a two to three hour slog but  they would need at least a couple of knots.

By 4pm the ripples began to cross the lake and it was game on. Up went the flags, out went the race officials and safety crews followed by the competitors some of whom had dressed up for the occasion.

Within minutes the wind filled in to a steady 10 knots and with a downwind reaching start we should have expected chaos.

As good as gold the Juniors went first on a shorter course with most of them making it up to the tower and back. With the water level being so high, only the top of the tower was visible, which certainly added a different perspective than in recent years. What a wonderful sight to see the 3.5, 4.5 and 5.8 sailors rounding the tower and heading back up wind to the finish line.

The main or should we say adult start, nothing could be further from the truth, began with a general recall and a big crash at the port end of the line. The event organizers had chosen to run a fun race for 2012 to celebrate the 2012 Olympic Games. However it seems no one had explained the fun aspect to the sailors. They took it far to seriously as we had another general recall. Third time lucky and away they went. By this time the wind was already dropping. The leading group of 15 sailors worked their way through the juniors and rounded the tower in 12 minutes. It took a lot longer to get back up the arm before turning left to head up the South Arm. From now on it was going to be pumping all the way as the wind continued to drop. The leading group stayed surprisingly close together to the next turning point around the H buoy opposite the beautiful White house overlooking the reservoir. It had been agreed given the late start, that the course would be shortened at Normanton Church after two hours due to the late start. Surprisingly this was going to apply to the whole fleet, despite their hard work, in this wind it was a losing battle to make the cut off point within the cut off time.

All the leaders headed up the left hand side of the South Arm but as they approached the Church there was a change of tactics. Some tacked off early heading right towards the fishing club, whilst others stayed left leaving the tack later and for a few too late. By far the better tactic was to go early as the wind completely disappeared.

So as agreed the Church became the last mark of the course, there was to be no final leg along the dam wall and the race was now on to the finish line.

Suddenly the sky went black, the clouds burst, and the wind filled in as the sailors crossed the lake for the final time. Just as quickly as they had hooked in it was time to unhook and pump for your life as again the wind disappeared. All four seasons in just one day.

Finally the black buoy signifying the finish line was upon the leaded and Joe Bennett was first to cross followed shortly by the remaining members of the leading group and later by all the remaining finishers.

Everyone who finished took the walk of fame between two rows of Union Jack Flags to be presented with a Tushingham Gold Commemorative Medal.

During the evening the formal presentation was made with the many class winners receiving the historic Rutland Marathon trophies.

Guest Debbie Smith from action for children gave us a presentation on how the money raised over the years by UKWA sailors has and would be spent, both an informative and moving experience. Debbie thanked the UKWA for its support and congratulated the sailors on their performance before receiving a cheque from Joseph Thompson, Techno Fleet, who raised £190. Debbie then  presented the trophies.

As far as we can ascertain the Rutland Marathon has been running since 1988 raising tens of thousands of pounds for formally National Childrens homes now Action For Children. Thank you to all those who supported this years event and all those who have supported us in the past

Roll on 2013!!

Thank you to Dave Hackford and Tushingham for their support