Sidmouth sailors on tour

PUBLISHED: 13:50 04 June 2010 | UPDATED: 14:03 18 June 2010

Well on tour may be a slight exaggeration, as Sidmouth Sailing Club members only went as far as Roadford reservoir, midway between Okehampton and Launceston.

Well "on tour" may be a slight exaggeration, as Sidmouth Sailing Club members only went as far as Roadford reservoir, midway between Okehampton and Launceston. However, approximately 50 people, made up of club members and their families, trailed boats down to Roadford for three days of camping and sailing over the bank holiday weekend.

The entourage arrived on Saturday in the rain, which didn't help the setting up of the camp. Typical bank holiday weather! We were allocated a field to ourselves on the banks of the reservoir where we could also keep the boats for easy launching. In fact, compared to the usual problems of launching into the sea from the Sidmouth beach, it was pure luxury.

Andy Mitchell had the foresight to bring along his father's large frame tent which became the "Community Centre" where we could cook, socialise and watch the antics on the lake.

Saturday afternoon provided some very exciting conditions with strong winds, which the Scorpion sailors really enjoyed. Plenty of wind and a total absence of waves made for some spectacular sailing, with boats easily planing, with spinnakers flying. Chris Clapp and Imogen Dinham-Price entered the Roadford sailing club's afternoon race and were leading at one point, although it was uncertain how far up the fleet they eventually finished - but the Sidmouth Sailing Club's honour was safe.

By the evening, the weather had improved and a barbecue was enjoyed by everyone. It was a shame that a disposable barbecue was stood on the bench seat of the picnic table: but the ensuing fire kept us all warm until someone found a bucket of water to douse the flames!

We woke on Sunday to a fine sunny day and that is the way that it stayed with wind as well and near perfect conditions. Part of the idea for the weekend had been to get as many of the beginners and juniors as we could to take part and receive training.

This worked very well with everyone helping each other and sailing. We also had some kayaks and a rowing boat and a hired power boat and so there was plenty of choice and everyone got on the water in a boat of some description.

In the afternoon, the juniors, and some not so juniors, challenged each other to a raft building competition, using barrels and poles supplied by the Roadford Water Centre. To say the rafts floated is strictly correct but any other complements would flatter the finished articles. I certainly wasn't prepared to risk a soaking by getting on one and felt much happier sat in the comfort of the safety boat.

The sailing continued until early evening when thoughts turned again to a communal cook out, this time without the picnic table heater, but we did have entertainment from Barney Croft's friend and his guitar instead.

The forecast had been for a return to rain and wind on Monday, but, fortunately, the forecasters got it wrong and Monday was another warm sunny day, but with very little wind.

The quiet conditions meant that Laura Mitchell was able to offer trips around the lake in a borrowed Enterprise.

The offer was taken up by the Commodore, who doesn't sail dinghies for fear of getting wet, and he enjoyed a brief trip helming. The same was true for Christina, the Commodore's wife, and Laura's mum, Carolyn, who aren't usually seen anywhere near a sailing dinghy.

It was a fun weekend, enjoyed by all and allowed some extra teaching and for members' families to get to know each other.

Thanks goes to all who took part and helped make the weekend such a success but a very special thank you goes to Nick Jennings, the club's Vice-Commodore, who organised the whole event and to whom we are very grateful.

l This coming weekend sees the first of the Open Championships with the Scorpion Fleet visiting.

We are hoping for some decent weather to provide good sailing.

The first race starts at 2pm on Saturday afternoon and there are further races on Sunday.

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