First too much wind, then hardly any …

Sidmouth sailing was once again at the weather s mercy this Wednesday. This time the race was blown off; too much wind to sail.

Sidmouth sailing was once again at the weather's mercy this Wednesday. This time the race was blown off; too much wind to sail. Fortunately, by the weekend, the weather had settled for Saturday's club racing and Sunday's Laser Open.

Early on Saturday morning, the lack of wind looked as if there could be no racing, possibly explaining the low turn out - three Scorpions, four Lasers, two Toppers and a Mirror.

The first race got underway with what appeared to be a reach from the inner limit mark. It wasn't so much of a reach as I thought, definitely too tight for the spinnaker, well, if you don't try these things, you'll always be left thinking what if!

This allowed Chris Clapp and Barney, along with Ollie Salter and Heather Martin, to pull out a lead in the Scorpion fleet. Reasonably close racing continued for the next few laps but nothing to really write home about, Ollie and Heather leading, closely followed by Chris and Barney.

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Ollie and Heather's ability to hold the spinnaker on the tighter reaches proved critical. They went on to win the race, Chris and Barney second, despite a last minute serge from James Salter and Maddie Martin.

In the Laser fleet, Gerald Woodley took the bullet. I'm not entirely sure what the results were in the slow handicap.

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In the second race, there wasn't really any good starts by any of the fleet, probably not helped by Maddie trying to tell her mum, in another boat, that her friend was engaged 15 seconds before the start line. It most certainly distracted me and I'm guessing she wasn't concentrating all that much herself.

The fleet was close all through the first lap, Chris and Barney storming away with the spinnaker with Ollie and Heather, leaving James and Maddie behind, simply not having the weight to hold it up in the strong breeze.

After some real close racing, Chris and Barney seemed to pull away for no apparent reason on the second to last lap, which was quite annoying really. With a little more speed on the last run, James and Maddie overtook Ollie and Heather. James and Maddie just pulled off the loose cover up the beat, pushing Ollie and Heather further inshore into an area of less wind. James and Maddie took second, Ollie and Heather third.

Gerald Woodley sailed well again to take his second win of the day, although he did have a cheeky swim at the leeward mark mid- race. Graeme Robb won the Mirrors; he was the only one, but it's still series points! At least one of the Toppers, if not both, had to be towed in by a rescue boat, struggling in the strong wind.

On Sunday, Sidmouth held its first Laser Open of the year, but there was a shocking turnout, only three visitors and four Sidmouth competitors; there was almost as many people in the race management/fishing boat as there were competing.

With a major Laser event later on in the year, The World Qualifiers, it was thought that a few more would test the conditions. Three races were held, all back to back, in fairly light winds, pushing a force 4 for the middle race.

The biggest event of the first race was Alex Hayman's attempted port flyer. Always entertaining, successful or not, he wasn't and ended up having to do turns. Despite this, he managed to climb his way back into second place. In the second race, all three visitors were over the start line, therefore disqualified. This left the race just to the Sidmouth fleet, so it was made considerably shorter to prevent boredom. By this time most of the 'rescue boats' had caught all the mackerel they could deal with, so boredom was definitely on the cards.

Dave Martin won the second race, Alex took second and called it a day, after which was the only windy race which made me regret my decision to fish.

In the third race Dave Martin was second, the highest placed Sidmouth boat, and that was really the most eventful thing of the longest race of the day.

The overall competition was won by some bald chap from Torcross, second, and the highest placed Sidmouth boat, was Dave Martin, third overall and first junior was Alex Hayman. Good Sailing.

By Adele Salter

Sidmouth sailing

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