Bart was an amazing guy both a successful sailor AND a gentleman who respected his fellow competitors. Today at Stokes Bay Sailing Club we honoured his memory again. For some of us who raced closely with him, I am not sure what he would make of it. Nick Harrison was more than close to Bart as he was part of their coaching team in the run up to Weymouth Olympics.
Nick must have felt proud as Stokes Bay worked hard to help contribute to Bart's Foundation.
Meanwhile, as I am sure Bart would have thought - there was a race on. One large massed start for the faster boats off a committee boat start. In the 4000 fleet we had some pretty top draw guests: Penny and Russ Clarke. Its a while since they sailed the 4000, in fact it was 10 years ago in 2005:
Penny and Russ Clark 2005
In between time, Penny qualified for the Radial slot at the Olympics and later sailed the 470 achieving world number 1 status AND Russ came 3rd in the Musto Skiff Europeans. So you can imagine, Bart - please forgive me, that I was reasonably focused on the race.. They had borrowed our second Rooster 4000
- fully tweaked of course. Our first pre start encounter suggested that we were very similar in height and speed - perhaps a little smoother in the tacks.
With options to start near the favoured pin in the current or start at the crowded committee boat and tack for the shallower water, whilst also avoiding some who were out for a Bart's Remembrance
We opted for the Committee boat start - and were the first to tack for the shore. Pen and Russ opted for the pin end. The dice rolled. The wind went right and increased where we were, leaving us a comfortable margin over the second boat (an RS800) at the top mark. We kept our noses ahead for the next two laps to the finish taking line honours. God knows what that will do for our handicap - but it was drifter semi wiring conditions and broad soaky down winds - again great for a 4000 with its wing wang.
After the race we hooked up with Rus and Pen: sailing to windward for some long beats. It was like sailing against Florence Le Brun at the Euro's she was also a top draw French 470 Olympian. It was close - but I think we had the slight edge, probably as our rig is a little better set up.
Downwind we were a little faster - only until they copied our style and then improved on it a little with even slacker kite halyard.
Wow - What a day - great race - great training.
Thanks Russ and Pen - thanks Bart