Busy sailing weekend

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 July 2009 | UPDATED: 09:42 18 June 2010

Sidmouth has seen five days of sailing with club racing on Wednesday and Saturday, and teaching at the club from Tuesday to Friday

Sidmouth has seen five days of sailing with club racing on Wednesday and Saturday, and teaching at the club from Tuesday to Friday.

First to the important stuff, the racing...

The racing week got under way with a typical Wednesday night north westerly; sunny, gusty and very shifty. The boats were set off from a sea start, tricky in the shifting breeze. As it happened, the best place to start was right in the middle of the line, not on a port flyer, as tried by Alex Hayman and James Salter (mostly for flair purposes) in their Lasers.

As usual, racing was tight up the first leg with positions changing all the way up the beat, and there was no surprise when Chris Clapp rounded the windward mark at the front, although this time he was in a Laser.

After the first lap, positions had started to settle, Chris Clapp and David Martin were at the front of a nine strong Laser fleet, and Max Hayman and a Swedish visitor from the international school were at the front of the Scorpion fleet.

In the third lap the front half of the Laser fleet started disappearing; the first casualty being Alex Hayman - to a ripped out main sheet block, followed by Tom Francis, although not due to breakages. Later Alex rejoined the fleet for the last lap in Tom's boat, but, despite the effort he put in, without a podium finish.

Come the end Chris Clapp took the win in the Laser fleet, followed by David Martin, with James Salter in third, just in front of Bob Vine - the close finish due to James tipping it in almost on the finish line - Laser boom issues.

Max and his crew took a convincing win in the Scorpion fleet, and Simon Price with Imogen Dinham-Price sailed well to take second in front of Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin.

After what must have been a record turnout in the Laser fleet on Wednesday, well, for recent years at least, there were much depleted numbers for Saturday's start.

Conditions were not as favourable, it was raining, but on the plus side there was a steady Force 4 south westerly with a big swell running.

Out of the six boats rigged on the beach only four made it more than 50 metres out, both non-starters having rudder issues.

The three remaining Lasers and Paul Kennedy in his Topper took to the course from a river start. James Salter got away cleanest, taking an early lead over Bob Vine and Ian Holton.

For the sea state it wasn't actually all that windy, not quite enough to really get going.

In a fairly uneventful, follow-my-leader type race James took the win, Bob was second, Ian third. Paul Kennedy in a Topper completed the first race in the tricky conditions, before deciding to call it a day before the second.

In the second race, Bob took a lead after the first lap, despite some attempted covering by James and his baggy sail.

As the second race progressed in much the same manner as the first, the breeze steadily increased, pushing a strong force five at times. Bob looked to be good for the win, apart from in the run, where he nearly tipped it in twice.

Luckily for Bob the race was shortened after the second triangle, not needing to run again. James finished second, with Ian in third after a few capsizes in the increasing breeze.

The final event of the day was James capsizing, knocked over by a rather large wave on the beach - first time ever, very tippy boats those Lasers!

The remainder of the week's sailing was in the form of teaching - the final Tuesday night session was held, plus a three day course for 20 Sidmouth College students as part of their activities week.

The Tuesday night sailors did well to get out in very gusty and breezy conditions. The Sidmouth College course was also a success, but not without the occasional incident, and all students achieved full RYA stage 1 and part of stage 2, with Olivia Brown achieving Stage 3.

In short all went well, apart from the odd capsize, a lost rudder on Thursday morning, found and recovered from the bottom of the sea via a cheeky dive on Thursday afternoon, and a Topper stuck on the rock pools at Jacob's Ladder on Friday!

It only remains to thank all those who helped and to Simon and Imogen for sticking round on Saturday after their breakage to help in the other boats.

And, if there's anyone looking to hire a BSc Geography (Hons) graduate with a 2:1, who is also good at lifting heavy stuff, come and find me at the sailing club!

Good Sailing

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