Exe SC battle gusty winds
11:04 22 May 2014
There was no racing at Exe last weekend as we were hosting the Volvo Sailing Academy in conjunction with the RYA, writes Rex Frost.
ThereConditions were such that sailing was on the scary side of interesting, but lots of prospective members tried their hand and the members’ session on Sunday with Helena Lucas (Paralympian) and the girls from the Olympic squad was very instructive.
Cruiser racing on Tuesday was great fun with gusty conditions and a good sized fleet. The first leg to number two mark was a tightish reach and many elected not to fly a spinnaker. Those that did made good gains and the fleet stretched out well. Andrew McAusland chose to fly his cruising chute for the first time and his Scorpio showed that she was not slow. With both fleets on the same route, the beat back to safe water allowed for several close encounters which tested the mettle of a few helms and crew. With a solid breeze it was definitely a day for having weight on the rail, and playing with sail trim kept the cockpit crew busy. Rounding the windward mark saw nearly every boat hoist a kite and Red Fox (Colin Leach) successfully held off Nemesis (Malcolm Lynn) going into the final lap. As the wind got a little lighter, things became easier for the crew but playing the shifts was still important. At the final mark Papagoy (David Bernard), in the slow fleet was still ahead, with Stardust (Steve and Rachel Hughes) storming up behind and Matthew Flinders still trying to find form. Martin Minter (Maybee) stayed ahead in the fast fleet with Jenesis (Stuart Hills) opting for a gentle downwind sail to the finish, whilst others still put on maximum speed to see what could be made up.
Wednesday night dinghy racing was again gusty but manageable, and race officer Symon Garratt took the fleet to a nice tide free area off Cockwood. Setting a very tight course saw the Trios in a tight tussle as usual with Guy Farrant, Bob Horlock and Andrew McAusland all battling very closely around each lap. The handicap fleet had two newcomers with Tim Pearce and Ben Ranft sailing a Vision. They also had the privilege of witnessing the collision between Ann Way’s 200 and Rob Jones Blaze; could have been worse. At the start Sue Burridge had a mainsheet failure and had much catching up to do in her first serious Wednesday race. In fact with a short course she was pursued up the beat by the first of the Trios on their second lap. In the shifty conditions both John Walpole and Nick Pearce capsized, giving Sue a chance to finish the race in better than last place.
Cruiser racing on Thursday was a very gentle sail, only just above drifting conditions, with lots of tide. The slow fleet had to push against the tide on their course and while Wavelet and Matthew Flinders went well, Rob Masters (Sante) did not even get to the first mark. In the fast fleet Malcolm Lynn and Martin Minter got away slowly and were soon passed by Rex Frost, but as the wind got even more vague, places changes again and at the last mark Stuart Hills nipped into the lead, followed by Nemesis and Electra. However in the dying minutes, Footloose overtook Electra and Nemesis had to luff to protect their place. For full results see; www.exe-sailing-club.org