Sidmouth sailors find May chilly for a dip

May has been chilly for sailors, with the sea temperature about 12 centigrade, the air temperature not much better and the wind almost too strong at times, causing plenty of capsizes, writes Keith Brodie.

On Wednesday, the Laser fleet were out, but the Scorpion sailors mainly stayed ashore in the warm. Bob Vine led from start to finish, but the boats behind had close racing.

Connor Fitch, 14, and only in his third sailing season, is starting to get to grips in his newly acquired Laser with a radial sail and is already threatening to show up some of the older, more experienced, sailors who are also generally using a larger standard sail.

Connor got home in fifth place, further down the list than would have been the case if he had realised that he hadn’t finished when Bob Vine crossed the line. He still beat Joe Kent into sixth but allowed Paul Wilson to take second, H Thompson third and Barney Croft fourth. On Saturday, the wind increased again and, this time, five Scorpions braved the conditions with only two Toppers joining in.

The Topper sailors were Connor Fitch, sensibly moving down to slower craft, and John Jones. Fitch stayed upright in both races and enjoyed two wins.

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Strong winds and large swells suited the Scorpions and Chris Clapp, with crew Sarah Weeks, had an enjoyable tussle in the first race with Oliver Salter and Heather Martin, who were also loving the conditions. Chris took the honours.

Andy Hayman had Craig Cabot as crew and got his new boat flying, taking third from Simon and Imogen Price with Nick Jennings who had Nick Partridge as crew for the first time this season, fourth.

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Hayman had penalty turns at the start of the second race which allowed the other Scorpions to build up a lead.

Chris Clapp thought that Salter was also over the line but as the race officer couldn’t see him behind Hayman’s sail, Salter was allowed to continue.

Clapp was behind at this point but took it as a personal challenge and gradually reeled in Salter and overtook on the final lap to win again.

The other positions were the same as the first race apart from Andy Hayman who brought up the rear, never catching up after the bad start and also capsizing halfway through the race.

?The junior training is continuing on Tuesday nights and the children are all enjoying themselves and learning new skills.

The instructors are all very grateful for the time and effort that the club members are putting in each week to make the training a success.

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