Lack of wind affects quality racing

Busy week for Sidmouth sailors

This week at Sidmouth Sailing Club there was plenty of sailing, but mostly without so much wind.

As always, the sailing week began on Wednesday with the usual evening racing, held under very shifty and fairly gusty conditions; not the easiest to sail in.

To add to the complication of the tricky conditions there were some issues regarding start timings from the race box. The race officials sounded a horn and hoisted a flag to indicate that there was only one minute before the start, when there was two minutes left, and then started the race when there was actually one minute to go.

All sorts of stories were coming from the officials after the race - but most of the fleet cottoned on to what was happening and started one minute early (but on time).

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James Salter and Barney quickly overtook Miles Hapgood and Steve Smith, taking the lead before the first mark. That lead was only held for two legs, before spinnaker recovery issues allowed Chris Clapp and Matt Collet past. Unfortunately, for all except Chris and Matt, they shot off and claimed the win, despite getting caught in a hole on the last beat, allowing James and Barney to get close. James and Barney regained second place from Miles and Steve, a place lost mid race, only to be regained due to some improved spinnaker work from Barney.

Alex Hayman sailed well in the Oil Barren’s Solo, keeping up with the leaders for much of the race. I have no idea about the results of the Laser fleet, as I have had no results passed on to me this week, although I would hazard a guess that Bob Vine would have won, he normally does. It’s much the same story for the Toppers, no idea who won, but it was good to see a few new faces on the water.

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Saturday came, but still no steady breeze. In fact, it was even worse - the wind just wouldn’t stay in anything like the same direction for any time at all in the first race.

It was such an unsteady direction I remember sailing three beats in a row (something that really shouldn’t happen). The closest race was for the overall lead, fought out between Alex Hayman in the Solo and James and Hope in a Scorpion. And that wasn’t much of a race either; Alex won without too much trouble. James and Hope still won the Scorpion fleet by a fair distance over closest rivals Nick Dicks and crew.

Bob Vine and H Thompson were involved in some tight racing in the front of the Laser fleet, but Bob came out on top when it mattered, taking the bullet.

Richard Patterson won the Mirror fleet as he was the only Mirror competing, and, predictably, won the second race.

By the second race the wind direction had settled down to a steadyish south south westerly, and increased to a strong force 2. In the increased and steadier breeze, the kite made the difference downwind for James and Hope. This time they took the win without too much bother, seeing off Alex by a leg, and the other Scorpions, the Venners and Nick Dicks, respectively, by over two laps.

Bob and H had the closest race, fighting for first place in the Laser fleet - once again Bob took the win. Martin Bagwell made a return to the club, picking a third place result in the Lasers. Also a mention goes to Angus Eaton, picking up two third places in the Topper fleet, a good result on a day when just to make it round in a first day of racing, particularly in those shifty winds, was impressive.

On Sunday, the club held its annual Mirror and Topper Open, unfortunately, without much support from club boats or travellers. There were only five Topper entries (three Sidmouth, two visitors), and no Mirror entries at all.

Luke Robertson from Durleigh Sailing Club won the regatta with a perfect result of three first places, Alice Rea was second, and the top placed Sidmouth boat, picking up a fourth, third and a second.

Theo Tobin was the youngest competitor, at age eight, and is also one of this year’s beginners, unfortunately, not managing the second and third race, but a good effort just to turn out.

It only remains to thank all of the race management team for the week’s sailing. Next week, hopefully, they will have got that clock battery sorted.

Also this week it was the last of the Tuesday night beginners’ evenings, so congratulations to all who completed the course. Hopefully we’ll see you racing before too long, and thanks to everyone involved in helping in the Tuesday evenings.

Good Sailing

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