It’s not Cowes, but it’s a fun regatta!

The Sidmouth Regatta may not be quite Cowes or Dartmouth but for Sidmouth Sailing Club it means that members have the opportunity to have some fun on the water, writes Keith Brodie.

There is competitive sailing for the more experienced crews but the regatta offers a chance for newer members with less experience to get the chance to mix it with them.

It is also the time when the club gets an occasional visitor including former members who have moved away and have come back for a bank holiday visit. So it was this year.

Simon Heuson, who usually sails his Phantom at Lyme Regis, joined in for the Saturday racing leading the pack round in each of the four races but, being a faster boat with a bigger sail area, it was perhaps expected in the gusty conditions.

Barney Croft brought his wife, ZsaZsa, along for a trip out in a club Feva and also his brother David with his wife, visiting for the weekend borrowed another of the new Fevas and helped swell the fleet with some competitive sailing.

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It was also good to have Bruce Woodley out on the water in a club Laser. Bruce was in town to see his parents and professed not to have sailed for years but he certainly hadn’t forgotten how to get a boat around the course, particularly as the conditions were testing with some strong gusts making concentration important if a capsize was to be avoided.

Bruce’s father Gerald has made a habit over the years of causing havoc by capsizing on the finish line, and it was good to see the family tradition continue, with Bruce causing the same chaos by capsizing on the start line.

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The weather conditions over the weekend were good for sailing with generally an offshore wind giving mostly a flat sea. The wind was strong enough throughout the whole two day event to give some interesting racing which was enjoyed by the crews.

James Salter and his crew Laura Mitchell won all six races in their Scorpion and took away first prize. Chris Clapp was denied a clean sweep by jumping the start in the final race and having to return behind the line and in effect start again. This gave Bob Vine the chance to win a race which had proved hard all weekend.

Imogen Dinham-Price and Josie Robb entered the regatta in one of the club Fevas and although they were unable to win all of the races, they did enough to win the handicap class.

The Toppers were won by Kyle Fitch, another junior sailor who has improved immensely this year,

Bank Holiday Monday saw the club members contest a long distance race. Only two or three of these races are run during the season and the weather conditions have to be just right.

On this occasion the wind held offshore out of the north and was strong enough to get the dinghies along the coast to Otterton Point and back again on an exhilarating beam reach in an hour and a half.

With the sun shining and a good wind the conditions could not have been better and allows a variation on the usual club racing around the buoys and a chance to see another part of the beautiful coast that we are able to call home.

Fifteen boats entered and the first Scorpion home was Miles Hapgood and Steve Smith.

Paul Wilson brought his Laser home first in class and Colin Walls did the same in his Feva. All in all a satisfactory and fun weekend.

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