Newcombe skippers Wyvern to Champagne Challenge success

PUBLISHED: 14:31 20 September 2011 | UPDATED: 14:31 20 September 2011

Sailing - The Champagne Challenge

Sailing - The Champagne Challenge

fotoboat/Mike Rice

Strong and blustery winds interspersed with heavy squalls and gusts of up to 30 knots brought testing conditions for the annual race from Exmouth to Brixham last Saturday, writes Rachel Hughes.

Thirty-nine boats and crews matched their enthusiasm to the challenge of driving through headwinds, which meant that the smaller boats of the “comfort” fleet didn’t really enjoy much comfort and the “sporty” fleet endured a sporty experience indeed.

The race course took competitors from the Exmouth approaches and a startline set by the Exmouth Lifeboat to Teignmouth, then outside the distant Orestone and on to a turning mark off Goodrington Sands in Torbay, finishing at the Brixham Harbour entrance. Despite the vigorous conditions, creditably there were few retirements, though gear failures were common and most crews experienced the odd drenching.

However, none of this put a damper on post-race celebrations hosted by Brixham Yacht Club, in which champagne prizes and trophies were awarded to the victors.

Rick Newcombe sailing his yacht Wyvern and crewed by some of the younger members of Exe Sailing Club won in the sporty fleet, while Sirene of Yealm, sailed by Mike Harwood took first in the comfort fleet.

Celebrating the spirit of participation, the Commodore’s Bucket was awarded to Takara, the last boat to finish, with its full crew composed of the Berridge and Turl families.

Speaking on behalf of all competitiors, Exe Sailing Club Commodore Rex Frost congratulated the winners and thanked the event sponsors, Graham Sykes Insurance and Aqualine Bathrooms and Kitchens, who do such a great job in supporting and promoting this iconic annual event.

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