Winds spice up sail sport at Sidmouth

Tactics pay off

HAVING been complaining about no wind early season, there was a bit too much at times this week. There was no sailing on Wednesday because it was howling and the sea quite choppy. Fortunately the breeze had just about sorted itself out for the weekend, not too rough, but still gusting pretty strong and awfully shifty.

Despite the perfect conditions, racing saw a low turn out, particularly when judging by this year’s string numbers sailing, due to the Ham Sewerage works ‘poo in the sea’ issues (it was actually all fine by Saturday afternoon).

Either way there was a total of nine boats and it definitely paid not to be too far from the start line in the first race. After blowing constantly hard in the pre-five minute sequence, the wind decided to lull on the one minute gun leaving half the fleet unable to start on time – schoolboy error.

Chris Clapp and Matt Collet, along with Ollie Salter and Heather Martin, and Gerald Woodley in his Laser, were certainly on time at the start, flying off and taking a commanding lead immediately.

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Ollie and Heather’s success in the first sail in a few weeks was short lived, James Salter and Hope Brodie sailing past within the first leg.

James and Hope went on to catch up with Chris and Matt to challenge for the lead.

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After some extremely close racing for three laps, James and Hope’s late spinnaker drops proved too much for Chris and Matt, allowing them to go on and take the win, despite the close attention from Chris and Matt near the finish line.

Ollie and Heather seemed to have something wrong with their rig or something, cruising round into third.

In the Lasers Gerald Woodley took the win. Must have been a turn up for the books, not tipping it in all the way round. Bob Vine secured second.

Race two was another cracking race, with some even stronger gusts blowing through it felt like flying down wind.

To cut to the chase, the top two results in both the fleets were reversed, this time Bob taking the win over Gerald, and Chris and Matt beating James and Hope into second.

But it’s all about the racing, not just the end results.

This time around, the start line was much more competitive, with almost all the fleet hitting the line on time and wanting a pin end start.

Chris and Matt again sailed away off the start, leaving the rest of the fleet to play catch up.

The shifty and gusty conditions made for some very interesting racing, Ollie and Heather having a bit of luck on one gust, sailing up wind, past James and Hope and nearly getting up with Chris and Matt.

James and Hope weren’t going to stand for that, so overtook Ollie and Heather within the lap and went on to put pressure on the leaders in the last two laps. But it was all too little too late, Chris and Matt taking the win, James and Hope second, Ollie and Heather third.

As mentioned, Bob took the win in the Laser fleet with Gerald in second place, which must be making interesting competition in the series results.

This week there was also some teaching going on down the club. Twenty one Sidmouth College students took part in a three-day sailing course early in the week, all of whom did well for a first time sailing.

It only remains to thank everyone who helped out at the club this week in running the race and all involved with the Sidmouth College days.

Racing continues next week, along side the final weekend of the RYA training course.

Good Sailing

BEER LUGGERS by John Mortimore

The weather on Monday evening was not ideal for lugger racing. There was some debate between skippers and crews whether they would sail or not as the wind was very light to non-existent.

Eventually, a little draught came in from the south west, so they decided to go.

Seven luggers launched from the beach for a very short course around the bay.

First away from the starting line was the Twilight and Moondance, but it was more of a drift than a sail towards the windward mark.

As usual, it was the Percy Mitchell, who arrived at the mark first, with Twilight second.

As the race progressed, slowly, the Enterprise picked up a couple of positions by going on a different tack. Twilight and Moondance were still neck and neck, trying to make headway.

The ‘Ancient Mariner’, Robbie Driver, was having his best race of the season sailing the Puffin, holding fifth position.

After sailing for an hour, the race official decided to shorten the course, which left the Percy Mitchell well in front to win.

Moondance just squeezed through on the line to take second place from Twilight.

Bringing up the rear, Scrumpy just got over the line in front of the Catherine by a matter of seconds.

Results of the Race: 1, Percy Mitchell sailed by A Green; 2, Moondance sailed by G Pook; 3, Twilight sailed by P Bagwell; 4, Enterprise sailed by J Adkin; 5, Puffin sailed by R Driver; 6, Scrumpy sailed by G Lockyer; 7, Catherine sailed by T Tolman.

Winner by Handicap: Moondance.

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