Thursday, April 17, 2014
Exe SC started the dinghy racing season last Sunday in heavy drizzle and gloom so that only three boats turned out, writes Rex Frost.
Race Officer Guy Farrant set a small, river course and ran three races in the 15 to 25 knots of wind. The competitors Nick Webber, Malcolm Crundwell and Nick Coombes agreed that it was a real blast and they were glad to be the first sailors out this year.
At the same time, up river, SYC were running the postponed Starcross Steamer which also suffered from a small turnout and lots of retirements due to the weather. Our Iain Horlock sailed his Contender in great style in conditions which made it fly, passing the other ESC participant, Mike and Anne Way early on, and by the end had worked his way to the front. A Well deserved win to mark the beginning of the season!
At the end of the previous week, Ben Cornish, who recently moved into the RYA Finn dinghy squad, was sailing in the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Palma. Having won the Pre-regatta he then had to deal with very different weather conditions, but by the Thursday was going well and posted a first and a second out of the huge international fleet of 98 boats. Unfortunately the wind failed to arrive on Friday and the medals were awarded on the basis of the previous races. Nevertheless a great result for a first, world sailing event and an indication of great talent coming forward.
On Wednesday evening, the monthly King Cup dinghy race started with 17 on the line hoping that the wind would last. In the huge pack off the line Rhodes and Arscott shot away, closely followed by the rest of the fleet planing at top speed. Iain Horlock, yet again had pace and was in second spot from then on, with the top five spots slowly changing as Paul Beer, Rex Frost and Tony Brewster slowly separated themselves from the mass of Lasers and Trios. Jan Morrison, the race officer had set a good standard course with lots of tight tacking and good off-wind reaches, which gave everyone a good start of season workout and lots of fun. Victoria Upton in her Feva did well staying in contact with the fleet for most of the race and James Nicholson and Charlie King were in good form, climbing through to beat the Trios of Brewster and Farrant on the water.
A great race and a great buzz afterwards, when it was realised that the top five finishers were only seconds apart on corrected times.