Exe SC enjoys fine start to new season of sailing

PUBLISHED: 11:52 15 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:52 15 April 2017

The first racing of a new sailing season for Exe SC

The first racing of a new sailing season for Exe SC

Archant

The season has started well at Exe Sailing Club, writes Rex Frost.

The first dinghy race of the year saw lovely sunny conditions and 25 boats appeared. So keen were they, that there was a general recall to get started in good order. The channel course saw some lively conditions but capsizes were kept to a minimum and the four ‘new to racing’ boats all got round happily.

The weekend race also saw 25 and although a slightly long afternoon, the conditions were really fun and on return it was warm enough to sit out and enjoy the late sun.

The cruisers raced on Tuesday and despite a little confusion over the start line position, the Fast fleet got away with a tight little pack of Gruffalo, Exeat and Electra all pushing hard for the first mark. In the fresh conditions boat speed was good and all arrived close together for a fast reach to ESC3 and then a beat back to Safe Water. By then the gaps had opened and the Js were closing in.

Jenesis (Stuart Hills) had got to the front by Safe water and was chased around by Electra and Gruffalo (Mike Way) with Jammin catching up fast. Although not a planing breeze for the Js, they were both out in front by the last reach, leaving the others not too far behind.

The club class had good sailing too, with Zephyr (Karen Melling) seen well heeled-over, charging back to safe water and Maybee (Martin Mointer) storming around in pursuit.

Wednesday evening saw a very blustery westerly blowing as the dinghies gathered on the beach. Only two ‘new to racing’ crew dared to put their toes in the water and a number of more experienced crew backed out too.

As predicted however, once the fleet had launched, the wind dropped somewhat, but the strong tide across the start line made life interesting.

The first start was marked by the reluctance of a certain little single hander to get off the Trio line, but once clear they romped off to the windward mark and then reached off to No 16.

The usual little bunch in the lead, McAusland, Farrant, Brewster and Horlock, had good speed until the gybe when the downwind gusts began to play havoc. The Horlocks were caught out by a big gust and were rolled, taking some time to get going again.

They were luckier than the several who capsized just off the beach and the 200s were at one time dropping quickly too. Paul Raven and guest crew James Nicholson got fairly wet, but were the only 400 to compete and were catching the Trio fleet by the end.

By lap two the wind was getting light and speeds were down. The Trios were moving well against the tide on the run, but even their legendary downwind spinnaker setting was not paying much of a dividend.

The slower boats in the handicap fleet were going very gently at that stage, but credit to Steve Kirby in his Aero who held on and Justin Harries and his daughter in a well reefed vision kept on going.

The Thursday evening cruiser race saw a good breeze and with a downwind start at the channel entrance there was a big clutch of 7pm starters with Electra, Exeat, Vela Fresca and Maverick (David Preston) all trying to overtake each other.

Vela Fresca (Neil Matson) slowly pulled ahead and led round the first mark with good speed up to windward, as well. A slow hoist though, after Safe Water saw Electra start to close in, but by then Jammin (Steve Best) had slid up and pushed into second place for the final reach.

Meanwhile behind them Jenesis suffered a major spinnaker rip, leaving them struggling for speed and Exeat had a big twist, which allowed Exehibitionist (Rick Newcombe) ,with an all-girl crew to get into contention. For full results go to; www.exe-sailing-club.org

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