Craig takes charge

PUBLISHED: 15:59 29 August 2008 | UPDATED: 09:34 10 June 2010

SAILING: RACING in the Gul RS400 National Championships got under way at Exe Sailing Club last Sunday, under partly cloudy skies and with the breeze around F3 from the South West writes Mike Rice.

SAILING: RACING in the Gul RS400 National Championships got under way at Exe Sailing Club last Sunday, under partly cloudy skies and with the breeze around F3 from the South West writes Mike Rice.

Forty boats from twenty-seven different sailing clubs around the UK are enjoying some close and exciting racing in the waters offshore between Exmouth and Dawlish. Race officer Phil Morrison, who designed the RS400, is setting the courses and event director Steve Best is in charge of making sure all the many factors that make a successful championships, on and off the water, happen at the right time.

Regatta leader after four races was Nick Craig, crewed by Fiona Clark, from Frensham Pond Sailing Club in Surrey. As a three times winner of the Endeavour Trophy, dinghy sailing's champion of champions event, Nick must be a hot favourite to win the championships but there is a lot of sailing yet to be done. Paul Hiller and Stu Jagger, from Bristol Corinthian YC, were just three points off the lead in second place.

Two crews from Port Dinorwic sailing club in Wales are mounting a serious challenge. Dave Jones and Elaine Marsh live in Anglesey, but in the interests of domestic harmony they prefer not to sail together in major events. If you have ever heard the language used by some mixed crews under pressure, you will understand their point of view. So Dave is sailing one boat, crewed by Mark Hogan, while Elaine is crewing for 20 year old Welsh racing coach and former junior champion Josh Metcalfe, in another boat. After four races Josh and Elaine were third overall with Dave and Mark fourth, on equal points.

Exe SC's sole representative at the championships is club dinghy captain Les Arscott, crewed by Mike Fisher. They are currently lying in 24th place.

On Sunday morning Exmouth's Mayor, Councillor Joy Whipps, accompanied by husband Alan and son Tristan, came out to watch the racing. On the way out to the race area Mayor Whipps took control of the 100HP boat, under the expert guidance of Exe SC's rear commodore Frankie Upton. Cllr Whipps said: "It is fantastic to be involved in what the club is doing and to watch this racing close-up. Exe SC is doing a great job with its community sailing initiatives and, of course, with the three members of the GB Olympic sailing team."

Racing in the championships continues until Thursday. Meanwhile, seven Exe SC boats have been sailing in the RS200 championships at Hayling Island. After four races the leading Exe SC boat was that of Iain Horlock, crewed by Edward Pearce, in 65th place out of the 130 strong fleet.

Last week Exe SC's Tom Kinver and Charlie Makepeace took 9th place in the 420 nationals at Pwllheli. Having just made the move from the Cadet class to the 420, the most competitive of all the junior classes, a top ten result at their first nationals is a great achievement.

Finally, as Exe SC commodore Symon Garratt promised in last week's Journal, the club will be giving a reception next Monday evening to welcome home its Olympic sailors Joe Glanfield, who won the silver medal in the 470 class sailing with Nick Rogers, and Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes who represented Team GB in the 49er class.

The club is very proud of all of them and looking forward to giving them a well-deserved heroes' welcome.

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