Hastings sailors get a taste for Summer Wine ... Bexhill crews head for high seas

The coronavirus pandemic has meant racing at the Hastings & St Leonards Sailing Club has been on a relatively informal and ad hoc basis.

Saturday, 19th September 2020, 9:00 am
Matt Wiseman and Lily Share in a Dart 16 (centre), winners in the first of the Late Summer Wine Series / Picture: Rick Pryce

But last Sunday saw the start of a more structured approach with the first races of a new series - the Late Summer Wine Series.

Each Sunday of racing is a competition in its own right with a bottle of something palatable for the winner.

Around 15 boats launched for the first races of the series, although only 12 went on to compete when competitors discovered conditions on the water were more challenging than anticipated.

This Solent scene was captured by one of the Bexhill SC crews

Winds were force four to five from the south west, decreasing to force three to four at the end of the third race.

Confusion engulfed the start of the first race when the outer distance mark of the starting line became dislodged and sailed away towards the pier. The race was restarted when the mark was repositioned.

Matt Wiseman and Lily Share in a Dart 16 crossed the starting fleet at speed on a port tack, andtook the lead. Philip Blurton and Morgan Jeffries in a Tasar also pulled clear of the main fleet but with results based on handicap ratings for the different boats, it was later confirmed Wiseman and Share had won.

Three sailors headed ashore after the first race, leaving nine to battle on in conditions that showed little sign of abating.

The start of the second race again saw the Dart 16 of Wiseman and Share charge through the fleet on port tack and sail on to victory. With the Dart 16 and another boat heading ashore after the second race, the final race was between the Tasar and six remaining Lasers.

The Tasar was first over the line but when handicaps were applied, it was Hugh Ashford in a Laser Radial that had won. The competition allowed for a one-race discard, which meant the winners of the first of the Late Summer Wine Series were Wiseman and Share in the Dart 16. Hugh Ashford in a Laser Radial was second and Melanie Clark in a Laser 4.7 was third. The club’s powerboat came to the assistance of a number of capsized sailors and a boat with a downed mast.

Further races of the Late Summer Wine Series will take place this Sunday. See www.hastingssc.org

Two crews from Bexhill Sailing Club chartered 44ft yachts, Havana and Wight Diamond, for a few days in the English Channel and the Solent.

The application of dinghy sailing skills, added to careful attention to charts and tides, rendered the week an extremely pleasant sail, with little disruption and no rain .

The passage to Poole Harbour reminded all to be ever watchful of conditions, while the marina welcomes, even with Covid compliance, were excellent.

Meanwhile racing for the club resumed on Saturday with an evening race.

The sea conditions dictated just five boats competing, including the two Europes of Neil Smith and Lee Roberts, who fought extremely closely, positions changing frequently.

Bob and Barbara Palmer, in their Miracle took the slow fleet honours, with Neil pipping Lee to second spot.

Dan Harwood with Logan Palmer in a Dart 16 were the only other finisher.

Sunday had an Early Worm race at 7.30am, again only with five taking part. Two failed to finish.

Ross Allen showed his increasing form by winning the fast fleet in his Radial, while Butch Roberts and Tim Murray got their Laser 4000 moving in the difficult early winds.

Next came the charity race, Bart’s Bash, with 12 boats competing, effectively in one fleet.

Richard Eagleton showed his mettle, winning in his Europe from Colin Coard’s Tazar, with young Aaron Adams third in his Laser Radial . All coped with the tide turned and gusts for a very enjoyable sail.

This weekend sees the class cup round of races, always competitive, with races run over both days.

Check out the website or call in when the flag is flying.