Weather picks up for sailing off Sidmouth

All downhill after exciting start

Alongside the regular club racing this week was the annual Laser Open, and here was even a bit of a breeze for the occasion!

As ever, the sailing week started on Wednesday evening. By all accounts there should have been more breeze for the race, after blowing hard all day, but it calmed down to something around a force 2 for the race. I hate to ruin the story but the biggest event of the race was the start, the excitement was all down hill from there!

The peculiar event itself was a general recall on the first attempted start - pretty much all the fleet was over the line, so we had to start all over again. The race got away much cleaner second time round, most of the fleet playing it overly safe, finding themselves well back on the line.

Chris Clapp and Matt Collet were in a close battle for the lead with Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin right from the start.

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As has been the norm in the last few weeks, Chris and Matt couldn’t hold their lead. James Salter and Hope Brodie had to come from behind this week to take it off them, after a very poor start. They managed to overtake then third place Ollie Salter and Liz Venner sailing 1731 (still for sale), then sailed straight past the leading pair, stuck in a hole, on the second beat.

From then on it was business as usual for James and Hope, continuing their good run of form to win their fourth race in a row, by just about a leg. Chris and Matt came in second, Nick and Scott third.

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In the Laser Fleet Bob Vine took the win, in front of David Martin, H Thompson in third.

I can’t divulge any more detail than that, I actually had to concentrate for quite a while this week rather than having time to look around. In the Mirror fleet I’ve been told that Simon and Lauren Olive looked to have the race sewn up by the final lap, but for something of a fatal error. They didn’t capitalise on their lead at all and forgot to cross the actual finish line. Bad times.

In their place Richard Patterson and Ellie Gosling took the win. Alice Rea was the only racing Topper, so she won. Running alongside the racing this week was the first of the series of Wednesday evening improvers’ sessions, which, from what I heard and saw, all went very well.

Saturday looked like a good sail, as there was finally some breeze. Unfortunately for fact and integrity fans I wasn’t there, instead I was hacking round the golf course on the rugby club golf day, but I do have the results and some snippets of information.

Five Scorpions, four Lasers and four Toppers made the race start, just about all finishing. From the results it looked as though Nick Jennings and Scott Tobin stamped their authority all over the Scorpion fleet, winning both.

Simon Price and Imogen Dinham-Price were second in both, Nick and Sam Dicks third in both, Tim Venner and his son fourth in both, Craig Cabot and Hamish Spence were disqualified in both for missing the gate – should probably try and make the gate next time boys!

In the Laser Fleet, Bob Vine took both wins, although only through the gear failure of Gerald Woodley in the second race. Apparently Gerald looked pretty good for it in the second, right up until he ripped a bull’s eye out, meaning he couldn’t really sail on one tack, not so fast. Gerald still managed second in both races.

The four-strong Topper fleet also involved some disqualifications for missing the gate - Olivia Brown in the first race and Rhys Cabot in both races, bad luck. The most experienced sailor of the fleet, Alice Rea went on to win both races, with Jack Dicks second in both.

Sunday saw the Laser Open, part of the South West travellers series. The 15 strong fleet completed three back-to-back races, creating the championship series.

Ben Cornish took the first race win, in some very challenging conditions and seemed to be the only boat to find wind the whole way round the course.

After the breeze had sorted itself out, and decided to blow from the south at a steady 15mph, racing became slightly more interesting (Lasers still fairly boring, no spinnaker or even anyone to talk to). James Green of Beer SC, and Jimmy Green Marine excelled in the blow, taking wins in the other two races. The two race wins and a second place sealed the series for him.

James Salter was the top placed of the four Sidmouth boats, sailing a rather beaten up old club boat (apparently still plenty fast enough to beat all the newer ones) rather averagely into fifth, fifth, sixth, finishing fifth in the standard rigs.

All that remains is to thank everyone involved in the race management for all the week’s events, all on the water for Sunday, Paul Wilson and Andy Swain for staying on a safety boat on Wednesday as they were officers of the day.

Also thanks to John Nicole and Sally Stevens (and partners) for dinner on Wednesday. More of the same next week as club racing continues.

Good Sailing

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