Sidmouth Sailing club Regatta races
Last week saw the end of the Laser 2000 Nationals, the annual regatta races and the bank holiday Monday long distance race - enough for most people in the club to get bored of sailing by the end of it all!
The second half of the Laser 2000 Nationals, hosted by the club, finally brought some more favourable weather. After three blank days, due to firstly not enough wind, then too much, the fleet were pleased to get in a total of seven races, to complete the series.
Competitors praised the club’s organisation in the adverse conditions. After the ‘week’ of racing the winners were: Jasper and Laura Barnham of Snettisham Beach SC. No local boats took part in the racing.
This year’s Regatta was well supported by a fleet of regular Sidmouth boats and a fleet of Beer luggers, making the journey over for Saturday’s racing.
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Gusty northerlies were the theme of the weekend, the biggest breeze occurring for Saturday afternoon’s racing.
Most of the fleet were nowhere near the line on the ‘go’ gun for the first race. Alex Hayman and Sam Gosling, along with James Salter and Hope Brodie, were the only two boats to start on time. James and Hope suffered bad luck straight off, powering up and snapping the kicker, forcing them to sail the first beat without one.
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Surprisingly they were still in contention round the windward mark, by which time they’d found a handy piece of string to fix the kicker. Alex and Sam, leading after the first leg, had issues of their own, they just couldn’t get the kite up, downwind (I don’t know why, I just heard a lot of shouting!) Consequently James and Hope got past, flying the kite, and went on to win the race. H Thompson won the Lasers and Connor Fitch the Toppers, when all around him were struggling.
In the second race, the results were the same, but this doesn’t mean the racing was uneventful. Off the line Alex tried hard to put a hole in his Dad’s brand new boat, tacking right in front of James and Hope with no right of way.
This landed Alex and Sam with a 720� turn to do before the next mark. They did it and also took a token swim. Karma. This early mistake left James and Hope in the lead, which they capitalised on. Also there was a noteworthy gust on the first lap when James and Hope had just rounded the windward mark and looked round to see the four boats behind them upside-down! Connor again won the Toppers, in an ever diminishing fleet (many retirements, the breeze proving too much for some).
It was all change for Sunday’s racing personnel-wise but conditions remained roughly the same. A breezy northerly always provides tricky sailing, made even worse by a course set controversially close to the shore.
Every boat in the fleet capsized at least once! Race 3 was won by Kevin Gosling and Amy Hayman (replacing their respective sons who had been sailing the boat on Saturday). James and Hope had the pick of the starts (which doesn’t happen very often), but could only hold off the speed of Kevin and Amy for three laps, losing out at the end of the second run.
Kevin and Amy went on to have such a lead that they had time for a cheeky swim up the last reach and even then weren’t quite caught by the finish.
Race 4 saw more capsizes and Kevin and Amy overtaking to win in pretty hairy conditions.
This time the capsize was from James and Hope, their first of the year, but still a good opportunity to check out the bottom of the boat for the first time! Connor again took the Topper win, when all around him were struggling – Sam Gosling, supposedly in one of the ribs, having to sail most of the Toppers in.
I’m assuming that H Thompson won this race in the Lasers as he won the regatta fleet, but I have heard he was pushed all the way by the club’s newest member, Graeme Birch, so he probably won at least one race. The final results for the Regatta (trophies to be presented at trophy night in November) were: Scorpions: 1, James Salter and Hope Brodie; 2, Kevin Gosling and Amy Hayman; 3, Simon Price and Imogen Dinham-Price. Lasers: 1, H Thompson; 2, Graeme Birch. Toppers; 1, Connor Fitch (won all races); 2, Alice Rea.
? Bank Holiday Monday was the end of a long sailing week, and you could tell by the turn-out - two Lasers and a Scorpion. Nonetheless the race was run, there’s a big trophy for the long distance race and the series was all tied up after the first race. To keep it brief, we went to Otter Head, not as much of a blow as hoped for on Monday. Not too exciting, a light breeze on the way there and light to moderate force 3 on the way back, just enough for helm and crew to be hiking, but it was very sunny which was nice.
From the start the Scorpion, James Salter, with novice crew James Collins, took an early lead over the Lasers of Josie Robb and Richard Patterson. The Scorpion pulled away after putting up the kite, handy spinnaker work for a first timer by Collins, building an unassailable lead. Salter and Collins went on to win by a distance, with Josie second, Richard third.
? Next week not so much sailing, so hopefully there’ll be more of a turn out, at club racing on Wednesday (there can’t be many left now, it’s getting dark in the evenings) and Saturday.
Thanks as always to all the race officials and a massive thank you to all who helped in the Laser 2000 event, much appreciated by the club and the Laser 2000 fleet.
This week at Sidmouth there has been a surprising lack of sailing. Conditions have not been all that favourable so far in the week; club racing continued last Wednesday, but, unfortunately, there wasn’t much success at the start of the week for the Laser 2000 Nationals hosted by the club.
As to the club racing, a moderate sized fleet of 15 started the race (only just managed to start in the case of a few of the Toppers), in a force 3 breeze, from the West.
With a lot of beginners in the fleet and few Scorpions to set a spinnaker, the course was made deliberately small, although this did lead to many, many laps for the race leaders.
Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin had a second good start in as many weeks, hitting the inside of the line right on time, consequently taking an early lead.
Nick and Scott chose not to set a kite downwind so Chris Clapp, in a Laser, managed to rein in the leaders, hitting the front shortly after the gybe mark.
From here on in Chris extended his lead, without any further challengers, to win. Nick and Scott managed to hold second place overall, in their Scorpion. The best racing of the day was from Dave Martin and Bob Vine, real close for the first two laps, with Dave finally managing to overcome Bob upwind on the third lap, earning the pair of Lasers second and third, respectively.
Connor Fitch owned the Topper fleet, lapping everyone else at least once. Saphire Smith and Angus Eaton looked to be having a close race in their Toppers, with Saphire just about managing to do enough to take second.
Although Nick and Scott won the Scorpion fleet on the water, much to their disappointment, they weren’t the only winners according to the official results. This was due to James Salter helping out in one of the rescue boats, due to not having a boat at the club, which, with club rules in mind, James gained average series points, being first the way things have been going.
This week, the other big news at the sailing club has been the Laser 2000 Nationals, a one off event held by the club for a 77 strong fleet.
The bad news has been that the first few days were a write off - not enough wind on Sunday and too much on Monday and Tuesday. The fleet was sent out to have a go on Tuesday, although, with the breeze gusting over 30 knots, pretty much the entire fleet were blown over and were sent back to the beach.
Looking to this weekend, it’s the Sidmouth Regatta.
This means all the regular events; three legged race, raft race, Exmouth lifeboat visit, swimming races on Saturday, children’s events on Sunday, including chalk drawing, and sailing races all weekend. It is worth noting that the sailing will start in the afternoon (after the three legged race), not in the morning as advertised, to allow the fleet to get their boats back down to the club.
Also, as its bank holiday Monday, it’s time for another long distance race, hopefully this won’t be a tie like last time.
As always, thanks to all involved in the regular racing, and a massive thank you from the club to all those who have managed to help any, or all, of the Laser 2000 week, it’s been very important to the club.
l John Jones, the sailing secretary has appealed for any club memorabilia.
He said: “Sidmouth Sailing Club is researching its origins and history. There may be retired members or their descendants who hold photographs, documents or memorabilia which may be of interest to us. Would they please contact any of the members of the club. We can be contacted via the club website www.sidmouthsailing.org.uk.”
Only one race was held at Sidmouth this week, on Wednesday evening.
It wasn’t the easiest sailing, somewhere around a Force 3, but real shifty and gusty. The 17- strong fleet all made it off the line cleanly, Chris Clapp shooting off the line in a Laser to take an early lead.
Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin were also particularly pleased with their start - purely because they started better than James Salter and Hope Brodie (a lead that lasted all of 100 yards).
By the end of the first lap normal standings were in place, James and Hope had made it back into the lead. From there James and Hope went on to win the race, unfortunately, for the story in a fairly uneventful manner, sailing pretty averagely, but still holding off Miles Hapgood and Steve Smith right up to the finish line.
John Nicole and Sally Stevens decided that they would have their best result of the season so far, and managed not to be lapped by James and Hope (the team to beat at the moment). Talking to them in the Bar afterwards you’d think they’d won the race.
In the Lasers, Chris Clapp couldn’t be caught after his flying start. Dave Martin and Bob Vine looked to be having a close race for second place in the fleet, with Dave coming out on top, claiming second place.
Graeme Robb and Elisha Salter took the win in the two strong Mirror Fleet. Elisha did particularly well, getting the spinnaker up for the first time.
Alice Rea won the Topper Fleet, pushing an ever enthusiastic Connor Fitch into second.
The other event of the day was landing. James and Hope made a right hash of it - using a fixed rudder for the first time they nearly hit the rocks on the way in, saved by a last minute evasion. Oh well, everybody makes mistakes!
No racing took place at Sidmouth on Saturday due to lack of safety cover, one of Sidmouth’s safety boats and crew helping out with Beer Regatta.
Four boats from the regular Sidmouth fleet also made the journey over to Beer for the regatta - Amy and Max Hayman, along with James Salter and Hope Brodie in Scorpions, Joe Kent and Paul Wilson in Lasers. After racing a three race series Amy and Max had done enough to take the Slow handicap series win.
This week there is no club racing as Sidmouth is hosting the Laser 2000 nationals, which currently has 76 entries.
Also, I forgot to mention Miles Hapgood and Steve Smith’s ‘black’ Tuesday at the nationals – disqualified twice in one day. Firstly, they lost a protest in the morning, knocking them out of race 2, then obstructing the Gate boat, also led to a disqualification.
Once again thanks to all involved in running the racing at Sidmouth this week.
Alongside the regular club racing this week was the annual Laser Open, and here was even a bit of a breeze for the occasion!
As ever, the sailing week started on Wednesday evening. By all accounts there should have been more breeze for the race, after blowing hard all day, but it calmed down to something around a force 2 for the race. I hate to ruin the story but the biggest event of the race was the start, the excitement was all down hill from there!
The peculiar event itself was a general recall on the first attempted start - pretty much all the fleet was over the line, so we had to start all over again. The race got away much cleaner second time round, most of the fleet playing it overly safe, finding themselves well back on the line.
Chris Clapp and Matt Collet were in a close battle for the lead with Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin right from the start.
As has been the norm in the last few weeks, Chris and Matt couldn’t hold their lead. James Salter and Hope Brodie had to come from behind this week to take it off them, after a very poor start. They managed to overtake then third place Ollie Salter and Liz Venner sailing 1731 (still for sale), then sailed straight past the leading pair, stuck in a hole, on the second beat.
From then on it was business as usual for James and Hope, continuing their good run of form to win their fourth race in a row, by just about a leg. Chris and Matt came in second, Nick and Scott third.
In the Laser Fleet Bob Vine took the win, in front of David Martin, H Thompson in third.
I can’t divulge any more detail than that, I actually had to concentrate for quite a while this week rather than having time to look around. In the Mirror fleet I’ve been told that Simon and Lauren Olive looked to have the race sewn up by the final lap, but for something of a fatal error. They didn’t capitalise on their lead at all and forgot to cross the actual finish line. Bad times.
In their place Richard Patterson and Ellie Gosling took the win. Alice Rea was the only racing Topper, so she won. Running alongside the racing this week was the first of the series of Wednesday evening improvers’ sessions, which, from what I heard and saw, all went very well.
Saturday looked like a good sail, as there was finally some breeze. Unfortunately for fact and integrity fans I wasn’t there, instead I was hacking round the golf course on the rugby club golf day, but I do have the results and some snippets of information.
Five Scorpions, four Lasers and four Toppers made the race start, just about all finishing. From the results it looked as though Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin stamped their authority all over the Scorpion fleet, winning both.
Simon Price and Imogen Dinham-Price were second in both, Nick and Sam Dicks third in both, Tim Venner and his son fourth in both, Craig Cabot and Hamish Spence were disqualified in both for missing the gate – should probably try and make the gate next time boys!
In the Laser Fleet, Bob Vine took both wins, although only through the gear failure of Gerald Woodley in the second race. Apparently Gerald looked pretty good for it in the second, right up until he ripped a bull’s eye out, meaning he couldn’t really sail on one tack, not so fast. Gerald still managed second in both races.
The four-strong Topper fleet also involved some disqualifications for missing the gate - Olivia Brown in the first race and Rhys Cabot in both races, bad luck. The most experienced sailor of the fleet, Alice Rea went on to win both races, with Jack Dicks second in both.
Sunday saw the Laser Open, part of the South West travellers series. The 15 strong fleet completed three back-to-back races, creating the championship series.
Ben Cornish took the first race win, in some very challenging conditions and seemed to be the only boat to find wind the whole way round the course.
After the breeze had sorted itself out, and decided to blow from the south at a steady 15mph, racing became slightly more interesting (Lasers still fairly boring, no spinnaker or even anyone to talk to). James Green of Beer SC, and Jimmy Green Marine excelled in the blow, taking wins in the other two races. The two race wins and a second place sealed the series for him.
James Salter was the top placed of the four Sidmouth boats, sailing a rather beaten up old club boat (apparently still plenty fast enough to beat all the newer ones) rather averagely into fifth, fifth, sixth, finishing fifth in the standard rigs.
All that remains is to thank everyone involved in the race management for all the week’s events, all on the water for Sunday, Paul Wilson and Andy Swain for staying on a safety boat on Wednesday as they were officers of the day.
Also thanks to John Nicole and Sally Stevens (and partners) for dinner on Wednesday. More of the same next week as club racing continues.