In our latest addition of meet the sailors, we wanted continue our celebration of Sanders winners and this sailor has won a lot.
With this in mind; it gives us great pleasure to introduce you to Ross Applebey, owner and skipper of ‘Scarlet Oyster’, an Oyster Lightwave 48 who most recently won Class 2 in the highly coveted RORC Cervantes Trophy, as well as holding the top spot in other prestigious RORC events such as the Transatlantic Race and Guingand Bowl to name but a few.
- Congratulations on your Class 2 win at the Cervantes Trophy. When you have a race over 16 hours long, I am sure there are a lot of moments that contributed to your victory; but can you think of one key moment that was pivotal to your success?
Ross: The initial light run out the Solent was tricky for us, we elected to optimise our sail choice for spinnakers more for potential light reaching on the longer leg of the race (forecast suggested that anything might happen). It looked likely that there would be a big compression of the fleet at the needles so we were not too concerned about losing a little time before that. It was tricky finding a clear lane after the needles, so we chose to put the bow down and sail faster in towards the island near Freshwater Bay. This took us to more favourable current and gave us clear wind to pass other boats. By the time we had to tack out we were back towards the front of our class, and could pick off the remaining boats upwind soon after.
- You have been a loyal customer to Sanders Sails for a number of years, which we are very thankful for. What were your reasons for choosing us as your sailmaker?
Ross: We had an existing good relationship with another sailmaker, when I moved to Lymington, so at the time I was happy to stick with that loft. Along with Scarlet, we had a Contessa 26 and it was clear to me that Sanders had the most experience and expertise with sails for that class so we initially started our Sanders relationship with just the Contessa. I was very impressed with the quality and service we got from Sanders, and the sails were always fast! The switch to using Sanders for Scarlet came soon after. We were racing in the same class as Pintia (French J133), after many races chasing them round the course we finally got near enough to notice that they had Sanders Sails! It was clear Sanders could build very fast sails for offshore boats too, and if an experienced French team would come to Lymington to buy sails then it seemed a “no brainer” that we should too!
- Your mainsail and headsails are made of GPL Lite Skin, which is very popular with many of our offshore racing boats. What do you think of this sailcloth? Have you found them durable, fast, light, effective?
Ross: The GPL cloths balance of performance and durability is unmatched by any other sailcloth that I have used. We sail a great deal of miles and need to get several years out of each sail to make the finances stack up. It is always depressing to see a season year old sail that is clearly looking past its best, and I am pleased to report that this simply doesn’t happen with Sanders built GPL lite skin sails. Our mainsail was delivered for the Fastnet in 2019, and still looks like new. The only exception being the leach tell tails that give away the mileage of the sail! The sail has never been back on a sail makers floor for any repairs; we may have to take it in for a fresh set of tell tails though.
- How important do you think it is to have a good relationship with your sailmaker and how has this helped you design the sail wardrobe you use so successfully today?
Ross: There is usually a great deal of discussion with Pete and the rest of the team when we specify a new sail, I often have ideas that I think could be fast, Pete is very good at incorporating some of these into our sails. Perhaps more importantly though he also has the experience to know the potential pitfalls of some of my suggestions and is not afraid to steer us back on to a more tried and tested path when appropriate!
- What are your plans for Scarlet Oyster this year? Have you got a busy calendar ahead?
Ross: Our primary focus this year is on our Fastnet Campaign.