Roadford trip enjoyed by sailors of all ages

Club racing was forgotten this last weekend, partly because of the weather conditions and partly because a large section of the club’s membership headed to Roadford reservoir near Okehampton for a weekend of sailing and camping, writes Keith Brodie.

Last year, 50 people went along, but, this year, the number increased to 80, made up of sailors and their families. This year there was a large number of newer members, along with the junior sailors, that have been learning to sail and it gave them the opportunity to sail in a very safe environment.

About 20 boats were taken for the members to sail and, after arriving on Saturday and pitching the tents in the rain, the sailing started and continued through to early evening. At Sidmouth, it is always a challenge to launch and recover boats on the beach, but at the lake, it’s a simple task to wheel a boat on its trolley from the gently shelving shore into the water and even the youngest members were able to launch without the need for adult help. It meant they were able to take a boat and go sailing whenever they wanted, under the vigilant watch of the Roadford reservoir’s safety crews. Saturday’s proceedings came to an end with the usual barbecue and get together.

On Sunday, sailors woke to a grey day, but at least it stayed dry throughout and, although the wind was very strong ,which made for some exciting sailing and lots of capsizes, everyone was able to get on the water if they wished in boats of various description and propulsion.

There were the sailing boats and a row boat, as well as some kayaks and a hired powerboat. The weekend is very informal and gives the chance for members to sail with different crews and helms and get more experience and learn from the more knowledgeable sailors. There is even the opportunity for non-sailors, who would not want to go on the sea, to try sailing in very safe conditions,

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After lunch, the juniors were organised into teams for a raft building challenge. Four teams were each given poles, barrels and ropes and told to construct a raft to carry four paddlers out to a mark on the lake about 100 metres from shore and back again.

One raft barely made it into the water and the other three fell apart very soon after the start, but two teams managed to push the debris around the course and received a share of the sweets provided as prizes. After the raft race, more sailing was enjoyed in craft less likely to sink.Another barbecue was organised for Sunday evening and the chatting went on long into the night when even the light rain failed to dampen the spirits.

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Sunday night into Monday morning eventually brought heavy rain which made cooking breakfast a challenge but didn’t stop a the more intrepid going sailing.

Members drifted off home gradually through the day, with the last not getting back until early evening after another full day on the water.

Overall it was a good, relaxing weekend albeit a little damp at times, but a complete change from sailing at Sidmouth. A lot of hard work goes into making a success of the weekend and many members are involved, but none of them will be offended, I am sure, if a special thank you is given to Nick Jennings, the sailing club’s vice commodore, who, as the prime organiser, put in hours of hard work so that members could all have a good weekend.

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