Tacking and gybing

SIDMOUTH SAILING: With the Bank Holiday weekend last week, three races were scheduled, a long distance/pursuit race on Monday and normal club racing on Wednesday and Saturday, writes James Salter.

With the Bank Holiday weekend last week, three races were scheduled, a long distance/pursuit race on Monday and normal club racing on Wednesday and Saturday. Unfortunately racing didn't happen on Monday as it was 'too windy', leaving only club racing for the week.The first race, on Wednesday, was held in light to moderate breeze and it was reasonably sunny. Shortly after launching, John Nicole and Amy Hayman had an early swim and James Salter and Hugh Sutherland launched and landed again after an initial rigging 'school boy error'. At the start it really paid off to be right on the inside, with a majority of novice crews all jostling for position off the line near to the pin. Alex Hayman and Tom (formerly Little Tom) Francis had the best start, pulling off the line with pace, closely followed by James and Hugh. As the race moved on through the next lap, positions started to settle out. Miles Hapgood and Steve Smith pushed into second with a good upwind leg. Positions changed again on the next upwind leg, Alex and Tom mistakenly tacking onto the outside of the course letting Miles and Steve through and John and Amy snuck third place from James and Hugh after James rather stupidly gybed at the wing mark when it really wasn't needed, but at least they didn't capsize. These were the final podium positions come the end of the Scorpion racing. Ollie Salter and Sally Stevens took fourth from James and Hugh due to spinnaker issues, Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin pulling a steady sixth out of the bag. The tightest racing in the Laser fleet was in the first few laps. Bob Vine led after the first lap only to be pushed into second by David Yeo, who then went on to hold off all contenders for the rest of the race. Ed Rhodes gained a place in the second and third lap, getting up into second from the third lap until the end and pushing Bob into third come the end of the race. After a promising first lap in second place Hamish Spence finished in fourth. In the Topper fleet the racing was less intense, and much more predictable. Alice Rea won after holding first (out of one) from the start. Paul Wilson held off Nick Benson in the Mirror fleet.One, longer race was held on Saturday. Conditions had not looked favourable at all in the morning and early afternoon but, after a burst of frustration-driven passion and all round keenness from Max Hayman, a small racing fleet was put together consisting of four Scorpions, a Topper and a Laser. Fortunately the wind filled in over the course pushing towards a strong force 2 at times! Off the line start Ollie Salter, sailing solo (against fleet rules), got the pick of the starts at the boat end pushing out his son James and daughter Elisha, (in her second ever race) not allowing them to start first time - how unfatherly. Barney and Amy Hayman proved to be Ollie's main opposition as the race progressed. Ollie sailed reasonably well to hold the lead until the end in the ever increasing breeze, although admits struggling to keep Barney and Amy at bay towards the end. James and Elisha made a creditable third, pushing hard until the end with the good jib work by Elisha in the tacks and gybes. Despite starting the race with the fleet, Alastair Bates and Max didn't manage the finish. Laura Mitchell made up the Laser fleet and took the win, if she didn't it would have been really embarrassing. Alice Rea made up the Topper fleet, also managing a win.Thanks to the race management and rescue boat crews, much appreciated. Next week racing will be on Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon as normal, weather and sailor commitment permitting.Good Sailing.

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