Johnson edges out Clapp in thrilling contest on the sea off Sidmouth

Sailing off Sidmouth

Sailing off Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

The past week has seen plenty of sailing at Sidmouth Sailing Club culminating in a very successful Open Day on Sunday.

Wednesday’s race was held in a gusty northerly, making for a tricky and potentially tactical sail.

With plenty of boats out racing the start line was very congested, not helped by the fact the James Salter and Hope Broadie picked up the start buoy.

Adding to the confusion, Scott Tobin in the race box got a little horn happy. Normally one horn starts the race, one more if there is someone over the line or two more to make everyone start again; Tobin started the race, and then hit the horn twice more.

Some of the fleet turned round and started again, others carried on, and Salter and Broadie got off the start buoy.

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Mile Hapgood and Steve Smith made a good start and instantly set the kite to tear off down wind – unfortunately to the wrong mark. As it turned out this didn’t harm their race too much, still right in the race and challenging for first at the gybe mark. With the fleet bunched up the rest of the first lap was all a little congested, the fleet not splitting until the upwind leg.

With the fleet split opportunities to race a bit more tactically opened up. This allowed Salter and Broadie to make it up into the lead after a good upwind leg. Also taking advantage of the shifts were Dave Johnson and Chris Clapp at the front of the fleet (both sailing lasers).

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The battle for the overall win was tight between Johnson and Clapp. The former took advantage of a great shift down the right hand side of the course two laps before the finish which was just enough to win over Clapp under a boat length! Salter and Broadie managed to take the scorpion fleet win, just a boat length behind Clapp. Oliver Salter and Heather Martin finished second scorpion after a strong last leg, with Amy Hayman, sailing his scorpion solo, in third.

On Sunday the club, along with a host of other clubs running out of Port Royal, held an open day which proved to be a great success and thanks are due to Hope Broadie for organising things. As a result a good deal of interest was shown by potential new members.

On Monday there was more racing. The weather forced the cancellation of the planned long distance race and instead a handful of sailors went out for an hour-long drift just off Sidmouth.

There was a five to eight knots breeze at the start, just enough to sail successfully. Salter and Broadie took advantage of this straight off the line. For one sailor the highlight wasn’t so much the sailing, but just sitting eating sweets (Elisha Salter, crewing for Ollie Salter!). By the last few laps the wind was so light that nothing was happening as the boats simply drifted and the race was shortened to bag an early finish.

Salter and Broadie were declared winners with the two Salter’s, Ollie and Elisha second. Dave Johnson had a close, but far from thrilling race, with Paul Wilson for the Laser fleet win.

As always thanks to the race management team, rescue boat crews and all involved in the racing, and all the open day festivities this week.

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