Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Last weekend was a busy one at Exe SC with three yachts out for race crew training, writes Rex Frost.
Saturday was cool and cloudy, but there was lots of time on the water with the new hopefuls learning all the manoeuvres and ending with spinnaker work.
In the marina the new training yacht had its novices onboard for briefing and they came out to join us later for a gentle sail.
Meanwhile, in the river the dinghies were racing with race officer Chris Rhodes. Seven trios competed in three races in quite blustery conditions with quite a lot of places changing and with ‘home for the holidays’ Alex Horlock winning two of the races and Guy Farrant, with his new asymmetric setup, winning the other. Of the eight handicap boats, Tim Graham in his RS400 scored a one, two, three with the lasers of Nick Coombes and Mike Upton winning one each.
On the Sunday, the training yachts were out early in the sunshine and after introductions to some swapped crews, did more individual training and more spinnaker work. Minor mishaps with fouled anchor and snarled up furler gear were overcome and all were happy with their progress.
Cruiser racing began on Tuesday night with a good sized fleet, for this early in the season. In a choppy easterly a simple course was set, using ‘straight point’ as a weather mark and Chris Rhodes quickly stormed into the lead, closely followed by Malcolm Lynn in Nemesis.
New boy, Stuart Hills in Jenesis went off crew training rather than follow and there were some new season glitches with Jammin (spinnaker), Exehibitionist (various ropes) and Electra (jib halyard). The small boats worked hard in the chop and all had a good race, but for the final glitch of David Palfreyman who spent some time on his mooring with a genoa which refused to budge.
As the fleet raced in they were treated to the amazing sight of a large orange moon rising over Orcombe point. Brilliant!
Wednesday dinghy racing saw race officer Peter Labdon take the fleet across to the Cockwood side for less tide and a longish figure of eight course.
With lots of tide across the start line the two starts were a little bit congested, with various boats being pushed out and having to restart.
The breeze which had been steady, began to shift about and fade as the sun set and the fleet had to work to keep speed up.
After a messy start in the Trios, Ian Horlock pulled into the lead leaving Guy Farrant and Tony Brewster well behind.
In the handicap fleet, after another messy start, Les Arscott was first to the windward mark, followed by Rex Frost but thereafter the other RS400s soon caught up and the fleet stretched well out in the tide. A good race, with a slow return to shore as the wind did actually fade.
The Thursday cruisers had a cracking sail with long legs to Straight Point and back ending with close racing off the beach. Footloose was first in fast fleet and Stardust took the honours in the slow fleet.