Capsizing the order of a blustery day of racing off Sidmouth
- Credit: Archant
Last week was another good week for sailing at Sidmouth, racing being held in good breeze and sunny conditions of Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon, writes James Salter.
Despite the sunshine, Wednesday evening turned out to be a bit gnarly with some massive gusts tearing through the course to frequently blow away the 10 knot mean wind speed. This gust factor made racing, and even sailing, a challenge at times. Straight off the line the first big gust of the evening caused carnage about 100m off the start line. Leaders Chris Clapp and Jack Rea, followed by James Salter and Dave Johnson seemed to be the only survivors. Ollie Salter missed the toe straps in a comedy fashion when the gust hit, fallout out of the boat and leaving the sails hitting the water. Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin also fell subject to the same gust simply being blown over. The Laser fleet didn’t fair much better, with a lot of swimming going on. With half the fleet swimming Clapp and Rea tore away downwind with Salter and Johnson in hot pursuit and the latter finally made their move on the upwind leg, overtaking Clapp and Rea (and a capsized Ollie and Heather along with Nick and Scott – still just off the start line)!
From here on in it was business as usual for Salter and Johnson, the pressure from Clapp and Rae relived when they took a swim trying to gybe down the run. By this point pretty much every one had retired and gone to the safety of shore, leaving Salter and Johnson to take the win, the only boat to stay upright during the race, but rather embarrassingly capsizing on the way to shore in a massive lull. Chris and Jack finished second. The only other boat to finish was Connor Fitch in a topper, sailing well to keep the boat more or less up right most of the time!
Saturday was pretty much perfect conditions, warm and sunny with a sea breeze building through the afternoon. It doesn’t get much better than that. Even with the perfect conditions there still was a fairly poor turnout, with a distinct lack of crews in particular. Racing went ahead anyway on a really well set Port1 course. In southwesterlies racing almost always turns into a precession around the course, as it almost always pays off to go right on the beat, and who ever leads off the line almost always wins! This in mind the start was crucial. James Salter with Simon Price (taking a break from helming his scorpion) took an instant lead off the line, and being the only boat to set a spinnaker went on to win – pulling away downwind. As the racing was a bit of a precession it was fairly uneventful – Chris Clapp won the lasers, ahead of Bob Vine and Barney. Nick Jennings with debutant crew Oliver (off of beginners last week) made a credible second in the scorpions without being able to set a spinnaker.
Saturday’s second race served up much of the same. The breeze increased and turned a bit more towards westerly and the tide started pushing in– wind against tide. This produced a bit of chop in the water, which just about allowed surfing down the second reach, but other than that nothing much changed from race one. Some good fun and quick racing was had by all competitors, and the results were identical to the first race.
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Sailing was planned for Bank Holiday Monday but due to a massive southwesterly breeze and bit of swell sailing was abandoned. Rubbish. Thanks to all involved in running the races and in the rescue boats – it apparently you were quite busy on Wednesday evening and did set a really good course on Saturday. More of the same next week hopefully.
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