George Dart and Cuckoo sail to success at Beer Luggers Club Trophy Presentation Evening

The Beer Luggers Club has enjoyed one its best sailing seasons of late, writes John Mortimore.

The offshore wind with calm seas and lovely sunshine, encouraged the fleet of eleven luggers to race in a friendly fashion, albeit a fiercely competitive engagement between the crews, adhering to strict rules when engines must only be used in emergencies

The luggers vary in size from 16’ to 18’ either clinker or carvel built, rigged like the much larger fishing luggers that sailed out of Beer in the 1700 and 1800s.

A dipping foresail and standing mizzen with either a large bark-coloured or white canvas sail, help create a considerable interest, which is witnessed by large crowds of visitors and locals alike when being rigged on the beach, on Monday evening race nights, during the summer months.

The launching and beaching of the luggers creates a stir. Using holly and blackthorn timbers that are greased and placed under the lugger keels, the luggers are slid over the timbers and pushed with gusto down the slope into the water by the crew. On return the reverse happens with an electric winch on the beach assisting the crew as they rush to heave the stern away from the waves and up onto the safety of the beach

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With the local helm and crew members the friendly banter, encouragement and shouting, is witnessed much to the enjoyment and amusement of all. Sailing in the bay provides a spectacular and picturesque sight for onlookers when completing the triangle courses laid down by buoys to compete around.

To finish off the evening’s sailing, excellent food, a glass of wine or the odd pint of beer is consumed on the beach or at the Club House where everyone is welcome. In addition there is a vibrant social programme for sailing and non sailing members.

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The conclusion of the sailing season is the Annual Dinner and Presentation of Trophies, this year held at the Dolphin Hotel, Beer, where an excellent menu was enjoyed by some 65 members. Cups were presented by Mrs Ann Harding, wife of the Commodore, to George Dart, sailing his lugger Cuckoo, who swept the board, winning no fewer than six trophies ie The Lugger, Handicap, Dolphin, Axminster Tools, Roger Webber and the Alan Bricknell Cups.

Robbie Driver, the ancient mariner of 84 years, had a new lease of energy on his lugger Puffin, and won the Seychelles, Chine and Harry Pyle Cups

David Boalch won the David Tresize Cup and an RNLI pennant with his lugger Mary.

Geoff Pook on Moondance won the John Mortimore Cup, Martin Diplock on Katherine won the Rattenbury Shield and Chris Clapp (Sidmouth Shedman) won the Courage Cup in the lugger Seawitch.

The following cups were awarded to members for their hard work and interest in the club; The Basil Harding Memorial Cup, the Les Miller Memorial Cup and the Oliver Bagwell Cup

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