Capsizing entertains spectators

Sidmouth Sailing Club - Fifteen boats took to the water for the Wednesday evening race including a fleet of five Mirrors for the first time this season, writes Oliver Salter.

Fifteen boats took to the water for the Wednesday evening race including a fleet of five Mirrors for the first time this season. Starting in a south easterly force 3, on a course laid by safety boat crew James Francis and Andy Mitchell, a close mass start soon sorted out the men from the boys or the women from the girls. Although Kevin and Sam Gosling led the Mirror race they were later disqualified for sailing the wrong course and failing to register, which left Graeme Robb to take the top spot followed by Paul Wilson in second and John Nicolle and his sister Sally Stephens in third. Nick Benson and Matt Hill had to retire following damage to the boat which meant they were taking on water. Josie Robb did well in the Topper to stay with the leading Mirrors.In the Scorpions Oliver Salter and Heather Martin had a good start and led for the first three rounds only to be overtaken by Chris Clapp and Erin Pyle-Gray after a poor tactical decision on the downwind leg. Alex Hayman, crewed by Tom Francis, stayed in third from start to finish, Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin in fourth. Simon Price and daughter Imogen in fifth did well to stay in touch with the leading boats.Bob Vine took his catering duty seriously and steered his laser home first to dash to the kitchen. A close encounter followed with H Thompson just pipping Ed Rhodes on the finishing line and Martin Pratt finished in fourth. The conditions were somewhat different for the Saturday race, anything between a force zero up to a gusting force 6 with the direction varying from north to south east just as regularly. This meant that it was more of a survival exercise punctuated with several capsizes. Chris and Erin led from the start in the Scorpions and were followed by Oliver and Heather. Andy Hayman and guest crew Hugh Sutherland finished third having overcome their pre-start swimming practice. Spectators were treated to some synchronised capsizing by Alex Hayman and Tom Francis in their Lasers. Tom eventually took line honours ahead of H Thompson. Paul Kennedy persevered to complete his course in the Topper in very difficult conditions. Thanks as always to galley, safety boat and race management teams for their support.

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