Sidmouth fleet leaders pipped on line

Sidmouth Sailing Club held four days of sailing in a fairly busy week.

Sidmouth Sailing Club held four days of sailing in a fairly busy week. Club racing was held as always on Wednesday evening, and teaching was held from the club over the weekend and on Tuesday evening.Wednesday evening turned out to be a much better race than expected. With no wind all day, a steady South Easterly force 3 had developed by the start time - a pleasant surprise. With the starboard course, a beach start line was laid, with the opportunity of gambling on a port flyer. This opportunity was seized by Ed Rhodes and Alex Hayman in their Lasers, squeaking across in front of the starboard starting fleet. But they didn't really think it through and, having to tack shortly afterwards to make the home buoy, killed their speed, letting the starboard starting James Salter and Bex Parker through. Once clear of the home buoy, it seemed to be a bit of a follow-the-leader, with the majority of the fleet picking out the inside route up the first beat. By the windward mark James and Bex had pulled out a lead of around five boat lengths in front of Alex Hayman in his Laser and the second placed Scorpion of Mike Holmes and Jayne Clancy. This was pretty much how it stayed at the front for the next few laps, without too much drama. Coming into the last lap it looked as though James and Bex had the Scorpion fleet and overall race sewn up, with Alex odds on favourite to take second and the Laser fleet prize. But the plan came unstuck at the final wing mark - bad times. After some crewing issues, involving a spinnaker pole and a face onboard with James and Bex, a lot of their lead was lost, winding up with Alex just taking the gun first, pipping them on the line, their consistent and mistake-free sail making the difference. James and Bex were second overall and won the Scorpion fleet, with Mike and Jayne in second, Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin pulled a third out of the bag with John Nicole and Sally Stephens coming in fourth (much more kicker needed upwind in that dodgy boat!). David Martin took second in the Lasers, with third going to Paul Wilson. I have no idea what happened to Ed Rhodes who finished fifth after a really good start. Paul Kennedy took the honours in the Toppers, as did Richard Patterson in the Mirrors. Tim Venner helmed his Laser Fun to a handicap win over Alice Rea and Andy Mitchell in the Otter.l The second RYA training event was scheduled for the weekend but, due to a strong breeze, this turned into a morning in the classroom on Saturday, with no sailing until Sunday. The club racing on Saturday afternoon also ended up being called off, much to my disappointment - perfect conditions, a good breeze and bit of a chop with would have been no problem for experienced sailors. The RYA course continued on Sunday, managing to get on the water, with unforecast conditions of light winds and sun. With the excellent conditions success was inevitable and, by the end of the day, all of the beginners were sailing round a triangle, launching and landing, and performing seamanship skills with no real difficulty.Conditions remained spot-on for the second Tuesday evening taster session. The Tuesday evening sessions differ from the RYA weekends as there is no official accreditation offered, and teaching is by club members in Sidmouth methods, just like it used to be done 'back in the day'. It was another successful training day with all of the young beginners managing to meet their target of helming a figure of eight for the first time, tacking and everything! l Next week club racing should continue on Wednesday and Saturday, weather and turnout permittingThe next in the series of beginners' evenings will be on Tuesday, and there is the Topper Open on Sunday. It only remains to thank everyone involved in the race management and in the training for all of their hard work.

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