Lobster pot havoc in Sidmouth races

Conditions were against sailing last week, with the only wind of the week coming in time for Saturday s racing, writes James Salter.

Conditions were against sailing last week, with the only wind of the week coming in time for Saturday's racing. It looked promising for some racing to get underway on Wednesday evening - right up until the first few boats hit the water. Launching into the surf at low tide is always tricky, especially when the wind shifts a full 180 degrees and dies entirely as it did on Wednesday. As a result, only one boat made it out, with two others drifting along the beach before giving up. Racing abandoned.Saturday was, therefore, the only race day of the week, races being held in a shifty and gusty North Westerly blowing anywhere between a force 2 and 4. Alex and Amy Hayman had the pick of the starts, coming away from the line with pace, and making the home buoy just in front of Chris Clapp and Nick Jennings. Alex and Amy only managed to hold Chris and Nick at bay for one lap before being overtaken, only to take back first place on the following lap. Alex and Amy went on to take the win, with Chris and Nick in second, James Salter and Max Hayman crossed the line in third ahead of Ollie Salter and Heather Martin, with Simon Price and Imogen Dingham-Price in fifth. In the Lasers, Tom Francis led start to finish, with little event, as far as I know anyway. Bob Vine finished up in second with H Thompson ending up in third.The second Saturday race was a little more eventful, with seemingly more contrast in strength between gusts and lulls. Alex and Amy again had the pick of the start, rounding the home buoy first. It was all looking quite close up to the first mark in the Scorpion fleet, until James and Max went scouting for dinner and picked up a lobster pot, wreaking havoc on the following Lasers whilst getting untangled, then having to complete a token penalty turn for getting in the way of the Lasers - and letting the rest of the fleet past. Ollie and Heather were the Haymans' closest competition, chasing hard, and managing an overtake on the second lap. James and Max seemingly resumed normal service, getting back past Simon and Imogen with the kite up on the second leg. Nick and Chris were holding third place and were still going well right up to a totally unspectacular dunking at a bear away on the third lap, conceding third place to James and Max. Up at the front, Ollie and Heather pulled in front just enough to take the win, with Alex and Amy in second. James and Max had been sailing quickly to get within eight boat lengths of the leaders on the last beat right until they tipped it in to windward hitting a huge header, they still finished in third. Nick and Chris finished the race in fourth before truly embarrassing themselves with a full capsize to turtle close to the beach, hitting the bottom bending the burgee in the action. Simon and Imogen came in fifth. In the Lasers, Bob, this time, led start to finish, with Tom looking good for second, before being caught and overtaken by Ed Rhodes in the final lap. I'm not really sure what happened to Tom in that final lap, but did see him blown over on the way in, very close to the beach. Alice Rea won the first race in the Toppers, but somehow didn't win the second, despite being the only Topper out - some capsizing and retirement involved.The beginners' evenings continued on Tuesday, with capsize drills the order of the day, important stuff.Next week more of the same, racing Wednesday and Saturday, beginners on Tuesday. As always, thanks to the race management team and rescue boat crews. Also happy birthday to grandad Roy celebrating his 80th birthday last week, the regular Sidmouth Sailing club weather forecaster.Good Sailing

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