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Race Reports 2012


24 November Frost Bite Series

The increasing cold and wet weather deterred all but the most enthusiastic sailors at Bexhill sailing club last weekend. 

The slightly bemused race team came up trumps with a good in-shore course and braved the elements to see everyone around and safely home.   In the conventional fleet Jim Ingram in the Laser recovered from a capsize just seconds before the start to lead Bob and Barbara Palmer in the Miracle around the course but didn’t have enough speed to beat them on handicap.  The Palmers  celebrated with a text book landing while Ingram came ashore less elegantly and a little way behind his boat.

The asymmetric fleet saw some fast and furious racing especially downwind.  Mike Adams and Nicola Palmer (RS400) kept the boat upright and secured the win leaving the others floundering in the tide.  Aidan Harvey and Alistair Hodge (RS400) found that swapping helm and crew around on the downwind leg didn’t improve performance and saw them swimming.  Butch Roberts and Tim Murray (L4000) also went for a swim and came ashore looking bluer than when they  went afloat.  The balcony sailors seemed to be having the most fun working out the spread bets on who would capsize when. 

18 November Frostbite Series

Delicate was the order of the day for sailors at Bexhill Sailing Club after the annual dinner and prize giving and in picking the right line of breeze in the gentle conditions on Sunday afternoon.

The bright sunshine and a race team of rare experience tempted 14 boats on to the water in a gentle southerly wind with a strong ebbing tide.  The conventional and novice fleets got away first despite a couple of boats claiming there should be a general recall as a few boats seemed over the line at the start.  Richard Eagleton and Neil Smith took 1st and 2nd in the Europes enjoying the boat on boat competition which saw them well ahead of Bob and Barbara Palmer in the Miracle and Keith Walter (Laser).  Allen Hare (Laser) took the Novice crown from Fran Mather making an impressive debut in the RS Quba.  Dennis Wright and G Smith took some time to settle into the race in the Laser 2000 but did well to take 3rd and Kate Barnes 4th.

In the cats Felix Scheldt made sure dad Mark was fully focused as they took an early lead but the euphoria deserted them as Jon and Clare Day edged their way back to take 1st place.  The closest racing was in the 4 boat asymmetric fleet.  Several port starboard incidents saw positions swing from 1st to 3rd.  Boat speed and height upwind were difficult to sustain but Kevin Watts and Mike Adams (RS400) emerged victorious just ahead of Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner (RS400) who took their time to get in the groove.   They celebrated delivering the coup de grace to Butch Roberts in the L4000 leaving him floundering on the last mark  and slipping to 4th place behind the steady Chris and Ed Thompson by 11 seconds.

28 October

The Janus faced nature of the wind continued at Bexhill sailing club this weekend as Saturday’s race was abandoned in the strong northerly breeze while Sunday got underway in a more gentle westerly flow.

The small cat fleet was led home by Malcolm Brookes with Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie 2nd.  In the conventional fleet Richard Eagleton roared back onto the scene in the Europe to claim victory.  Colin Coard was spurred into action in the RS300 to take 2nd place with flashes of early season speed.  Bob and Barbara Palmer (Miracle) were just edged back into 3rd place with Chris Beadle showing increasing mastery of the Europe in 4th.  Allen Hare won the Laser tussle from Keith Walter with Keith Done in the Comet completing the set.

The asymmetrics saw Mike Chapman (RS200) cannily edge into the lead from a very impressive Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner (RS400) who claimed the scalps of Bill Eele and the other RS400 of Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather.  The complicated repairs they made last week heads down in the boat and feet waving in the air appearing not to have helped their boat speed.  With colder weather expected and Brass Monkey series is living up to its name.

20-21 October

It was a tale of two races at Bexhill sailing club last weekend as conditions changed dramatically between Saturday and Sunday. 

The light breeze on Saturday enticed a dozen boats on to the water.  In the conventional fleet the experience of Bob and Barbara Palmer (Miracle) saw them home first from an impressive Neil Smith (Europe).  Keith Walter posted one of his best finishes in the Laser in 3rd while Team Done had a mixed day as Keith (Comet) held on for 4th while Barbara found it difficult to get the Topper going at full speed.  Dennis Wright, crewed by Allen Hare, put his new skills to good effect for 5th.  Fran Mather, despite various advice pre-race, also found conditions testing. The cats saw a rare appearance from Mark Scheldt crewed by Felix and they blazed brightly to take the win from Malcolm Brookes.  The asymmetrics also saw experience pay as Dusty Miller and Andy Bullen (RS400) saw off Yvonne Heritage and Dave Walter and Jim Copeman and Simon Hookie in the RS200s.

Sunday saw the breeze up; a brisk north-easterly and rain.  Not surprisingly fewer crews ventured out but those that did were rewarded with some fast reaching legs and new names at the top of the leader boards.

In the cats Neil Hosie and Nick Newell pushed hard and sailed close to the edge; especially bearing away at the top mark.  Their daring was rewarded with a win with Jon and Clare Day 2nd.  In the conventional fleet Barry O’Herlihy  put in a stellar performance  in the Comet to take the win from Allen Hare (Laser) who suffered from some close encounters with various asymmetrics on the edge of control and a capsize just before the finish line which confused  Dave Walter and Annie MCCrae in the Miracle pushing them into 3rd place.

The 4 asymmetrics found things tough with 3 of them capsizing in the strong gusts.  Only Mike Chapman and Lynne Ratcliffe(RS200) kept things the right way up and took the win from Nick Mather and Paul Suggitt (RS400).  Aidan Harvey, reunited with Joe Turner, took 3rd from an out of sorts Butch Roberts and Tim Murray (L4000).


14 October Brass Monkey Series

Sailors put the disappointment of Saturday’s racing being abandoned behind them to enjoy tactical racing on Sunday in a tricky northerly breeze.  Fourteen conventional fleet boats led the way and it was the experience of Bob and Barbara Palmer (Miracle) that proved decisive as they found the breeze and best of the tide to take the win.  Rob Harrison took 2nd in the Laser while Bee Frost and Peter Goodman were 3rd in the Albacore.  The contrasting fortunes continued down the fleet as Neil Smith’s and Keith Walter’s stars continue to rise in the Comet and Laser while Colin Coard still struggles to get top speed out of the RS300. 

It was good to see Alan Baldwin back on the water in the Laser with Tony Cannon in the Supernova finding conditions testing.  Flo Wright suffered as the only cat on the water although he just kept ahead of Keith Done in the Comet as he found himself on the wrong side of the course as the tide turned.

In the asymmetric fleet there was a tactical battle of titanic proportions as the 4 boats jockeyed for position with the lead changing frequently in the early laps until Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather (RS400) pulled away from Aidan Harvey and Allen Hare (RS400).  Clever use of the compass helped cement their position despite Harvey cunningly cutting inside at the bottom mark only to clatter the start mark when Butch Roberts crossed them up on starboard tack; probably his best move of the race as he slipped backwards after that.  Jim Copeman and Simon Hookie continued their march forward in the RS200 to take 4th place.

Full results and details of the remaining races can be found on the club website.

6-7 October Brass Monkey Series

The Brass Monkey series got underway at Bexhill Sailing Club last weekend in beautiful autumn sunshine and light north-easterly breezes.

Getting the start right was the key to success in all the fleets.  Jim Ingram showed the way on Saturday in the conventional fleet with a clever starboard tack hook back over the line and a quick tack on to port.  Similar tactics on Sunday by Bee Frost and Peter Goodman (Albacore) and Bob and Barbara Palmer (Miracle) misfired and showed the importance of timing as they were just over the line and had to return and restart.  In the asymmetric fleet Kevin Palmer had a flying start on Sunday helming Mike Chapman in the RS200 and leading Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather (RS400) and Alan Baldwin and Sue Batten (L2000) all the way round.  Suggitt and Mather had a close race on Saturday with Butch Roberts in the L4000 but outwitted him tactically on the upwind leg to claim the win.  They seem to be hitting a good run at the moment. 

 Flo Wright took a good win in the cat fleet on Saturday from Jon and Clare Day while the battle of the Hosies was won by Dan from dad, Neil.  A small celebration ensued.  The Days restored order on Sunday winning from Malcolm Brookes.

Sarah Pullen (Europe) led the conventional fleet home on Sunday after her virtuoso performance as race officer on Saturday where she dealt elegantly with a large fishing boat laying nets in the middle of the course.  Neil Smith took 2nd in the other Europe, a big improvement on his showing in the Comet on Saturday.  He must have been inspired by Chris Beadle’s performance in the Europe and celebratory capsize after the finish.  Colin Coard looked off the pace in the RS300 while Keith Walter and Angus Radford both regretted using the smaller radial sails in the Lasers as the breeze never filled in.  Ron Wheeler continued to show promise in the Comet while Tony Cannon (Supernova) and Ken Wyatt (Comet) battled in mid fleet.  There were very good displays from this year’s sail training graduates; Jim Brookes (Pico) leading home Gareth Hall (L2000) and Fran Mather (Topaz).

Full results can b found on the club website.


29-30 September

The final races of the Autumn series saw more mixed fortunes for sailors at Bexhill sailing club at the weekend.  Saturday saw the largest fleets and best conditions with sunshine and a force 3 breeze.

The 14 conventional fleet boats were led home by Bea Frost and Peter Goodman (Albacore) followed by a trio of experienced Laser sailors.  Jim Ingram just ahead of Robin Harris and Rob Harrison, all separated by a few seconds.   Neil Smith found conditions to his liking to beat the other Comet of Carol Peddlesden with Tony Lane in the Supernova 7th.  Colin Coard had an unusual mid fleet finish as the whole fleet finished within minutes of each other.    Chris Beadle was the sole Europe representatives in 9th while Allen Hare, Keith Walter and Angus Radford formed another Laser trio.  Ken Wyatt (Comet) took the wooden spoon after last week’s virtuoso display.

The cat fleet saw Jon and Clare retaining their king pin position at the head of the fleet despite a majestic singlehanded display by Malcolm Brookes to hold off team Padgham while also managing to sail through the middle of the asymmetric fleet.  It all seemed to be going so well for  the asymmetrics  until a capsize 20 yards from the finish line for Mike Adams and Kate Barnes (RS400) let through Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather (RS400) and Aidan Harvey(RS400). 

Sunday dawned with light winds despite a rising forecast and fewer boats ventured out.  The race team dusted off the complicated course manual and set an excellent combination of courses for each fleet.  The conventionals got away first with the beach end of the line heavily favoured and began their slow and steady progress.  The first sign of the increasing breeze was when Ingram shot off like a scalded cat on the reach and led all the way home as the wind increased to a solid force 5 westerly.  Tony Witham (Comet) got his capsize out of the way before the breeze increased and held on for 2nd while Jeff Middleton and Steve Wallace (Scorpion)took 3rd and celebrated by capsizing near the beach and letting the beach party carry the boat ashore. Chris Thompson completed the finishers while Ian Gwinnell in the other Laser showed to get a boat ashore upside down in some style.  There was much whooping and hollering from the small asymmetric fleet as they took off down wind.  Mike Adams kept the boat upright with wily crew Jim Copeman to win from Butch Roberts; while Bill Eele and Carol Peddlesden saw the conditions deteriorate and took a quick line to the beach for 3rd place.  Next week sees the start of the Brass Monkey series and the emergence no doubt of winter and dry suits.

September 8-9

Following the disappointment on Saturday of a delayed race and then a very rare full adandonment 39 boats took to the water on Sunday in what looked like benign and pleasant conditions at Bexhill sailing club last weekend.  With no fog and clear visibility the hugely experienced race team set an innovative hooked start laid by the 3 ribs taking part in their Safety Boat Course. The light winds meant that a short course was laid – the winds soon built and there were multiple capsizes giving all three ribs the opportunity to practice their newly acquired skills (under the supervision of four qualified powerboat instructors).

The novice fleet managed to nurse their boats back to shore in a seamanlike manner by spilling the ever increasing wind to the admiration of those seasoned sailors watching from the balcony due to the lack of wind prior to the race. Jack Roadway (cadet) did extremely well in club single handed laser (appropriately named Noddy) until rounding the last mark where a series of capsizes ensured.

Kevin Palmer was the last cadet to finish in the RS Feva and almost parked his boat in the boathouse as he skilfully cleared the breaking surf on the foreshore to place his crew safely back onto terra-firma.

The conventional fleet had a good turn out and the results mirrored the crews’ experience.  Bea Frost and Peter Goodman (Albacore) took the win from Rob Shoesmith and Jim Ingram in Lasers and Bob and Barbara Palmer’s Miracle.  Elsewhere Lasers, Comets and Europes were all well represented.

The asymmetric fleet had a split decision on the correct course to sail with many sailing the “D” when they should have been sailing the windward /leeward course. Mike Adams (RS100) chose the wrong day to try out this sister boat to his own RS400 and took a few swims in-between some very fast reaches using the lack of fitness excuse later in the day for those uncharacteristic dunks.   Others wondered if his very large hat had impeded his vision and balance.   Lynn Ratcliffe steered Mike Chapman to the win while Jim Copeman and Simon Hookie had a good 4th place as they broke themselves into the RS200.

In the cat fleet Tony Lane’s crew (Dart 16) was heard to say in the changing rooms it’s the fastest he’s ever been and is eagerly looking forward to next weeks club cups; although another victory couldn’t be guaranteed.

With the big fleet dashing for the shore as the wind increased even further there was little space for landing and every gap became a target for returning boats surfing down the breaking waves, Jim Copeman (RS 200) managed to slot in between Bill Elle (RS 400) and the RS200 of Michael Chapman, unfortunately Bill’s boat was not so lucky when a later sailor (to remain unnamed) tried the same feat only to crash into the back, fortunately no damage was done and it will go down as another of those stories to tell at the bar.

With many boats unable to complete the race the three ribs were kept busy recovering sailors and then their boats and returning them safely back to the beach with the help of other sailors standing in the surf ready to give assistance.


1-2 September

Sailors at Bexhill sailing club launched themselves into autumn with some vigour at the weekend with a full programme of 4 races.  The optimism of the race teams was rewarded by large fleets and some excellent racing in good westerly breezes all weekend.

Saturday saw a great turnout from the new sailors with 6 boats on the water.  Jim Truscott took the honours in the Topaz from Christine Angus and Dennis Wright in the L2000; while Richard Tennor and Caroline Sell completed the podium places.  Kate Barnes showed growing confidence in 4th ahead of Andrea Waddle and Brenda Done.

In the conventional fleet Richard Eagleton had the first of 3 wins for the weekend as Europes featured large in proceedings, with Sarah Pullen, Chris Beadle, Neil Smith and Lucy Walter all showing well in this demanding but rewarding boat.  Bob and Barbara Palmer led the Miracle contingent battling with the Albacores of Bea Frost and Peter Goodman and Geoff Furlong and Clare Lambert.  The Miracle of Richard Hall and Done shared the slight anxiety of the Comet of Carol Peddlesden as they found themselves surrounded by the asymmetric fleet at both the windward and leeward marks as the larger boats converged on them at speed. Rob Shoesmith continued his renaissance in the Laser ahead of Allen Hare and Keith Walter.  Kevin Palmer also looked comfortable in the Topper while cadet Karafa Janneh had a good sail in the RS Tera.

The asymmetric fleet saw Kevin Watts returning to form in the RS100 while Bill Eele and Daphne Hosie rose phoenix like from the ashes of last week’s results and despite a broken tiller made some astute tactical decisions to rise up the fleet.   Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather suffered at their hands and despite close racing throughout the fleet couldn’t get to the front.  Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner showed some flashes of brilliance but couldn’t avoid a degree of maladroitness that has dogged their season.  Butch Roberts continued his run of form in the L4000 to win the St Judes Charity race.

The cat fleet saw Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie showing good speed, even reaching the windward mark first in one race but vowing to work on their stamina as they fell back behind the ever consistent Jon and Clare Day who won each race they sailed.  Jeremy Maynard and Nick Newell suffered from a luffing duel with wily Comet sailor Ron Wheeler, drawing of years of experience to hold his place in the large waves on Sunday afternoon.  There were good displays from Malcolm and Oliver Brookes in the Dart 18 and Geoff and Alex Padgham in the re-masted Dart 16.

Full details of the results of all 4 races can be found on the club website.

August Short Series

While the weather continues to confound and frustrate sailors at Bexhill sailing club, those intrepid enough to get on the water enjoyed some fast and furious sailing over the bank holiday weekend.

With Friday and Saturday blown off there was eager chatter on the balcony as dawn broke on Sunday; but the crashing of breaking waves chased away the enthusiasm and the triathlon sea swim proved a more entertaining option.

As the tide dropped the waves eased and in a brisk southeasterly breeze 12 boats took to the water.  In the cat fleet Flo Wright took initial honours from Jon and Clare Day.  Team Nick, Redman and Newell eased themselves into 3rd ahead of Simon North and Ken Edwards.  The Days resumed normal service in the only other race on Monday and as Malcolm Brookes and Barry Wells blazed into 2nd place they relegated Wright to 3rd and the Days took the series win..North and Edwards took 4th and enjoyed an interesting landing while Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie claimed 5th place.

In the conventional fleet Neil Smith looked comfortable on Sunday with a win in the Comet, the only other finisher being Dave Walter and Mike Hill who demonstrated some high level bailing skills after the wet launch.  Monday saw Ali Hodge in awesome form as he flew around the course in some style and looked to be hitting form just in time for the national championships winning the series.  Chris Beadle showed he now knows what most of the ropes do in the Europe to handle the strong southerly breeze to push into 2nd place.  Allen Hare sailed well until 50 yards after the finish line when the breaking waves conspired to make him look slightly disheveled.  Neil Smith slipped back to 5th while Keith Walter put in an heroic display for 6th place and made a text book landing after a difficult race.

The depleted asymmetric fleet was set alight by a stellar performance from Butch Roberts and Tim Murray in the L4000 as their downwind kite leg speed was compared to the Perseidmeteor shower blazing across the firmament.  This was enough to seal the series win.  Bill Eele and Daphne Hosie took 2nd place with a more measured and controlled performance, while Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner were cruelly thwarted as their main halyard broke just as they were hitting their stride


Regatta 18-19 August

 Led by Commodore Kevin Watts the race team put all their years of experience into play last weekend at Bexhill Sailing Club to ensure all 4 races got underway and were enjoyed by all the 48 crews who got on the water.  They even laid on glorious weather, sea breezes and an appreciative audience on the balcony.  The highlight of the weekend was seeing 9 boats competing in the novice fleet as the new sailors continued to find their sea legs.

The cat fleet saw Jon and Clare Day sweep the board with 4 wins but Lin Jarvis was impressive in 2nd ahead of Flo Wright.  Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie continued their march up the fleet in 4th.  The asymmetric fleet demonstrated that contrary to rumours there is nothing wrong with Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner’s boat speed as they took it in turns for Ali Hodge to pilot them to victory.  Dominic Harvey shared in the honours with a 5th in the 3rd race.  Bill Eele and Daphne Hosie took 2nd overall, reportedly without incident this week.  Ben Watts recovered from a shaky start in the RS100 winning the final race to claim 3rd place ahead of Dusty Miller and Kevin Palmer.  Jim Copeman and Simon Hookie ventured in to the asymmetrics for the first time in the RS200, showing that there is a place for knitting sailing gear in the modern fleet.

The huge conventional fleet welcomed new names to the leader board and were very pleased to see Neil Smith take the win in the Europe ahead of the Milligan Miracle.  Carol Peddlesden took 3rd in the Comet and Keith Done rose majestically up the order in the Topper for 5th.   There were also notable performances from Team Hill, Chris Beadle and Karafa Jenner and Dave Walter all in Miracles.  Andy Pope and Larry Cliff also made a welcome appearance in the Albacore along with Pippa Cole (Comet) and Angus Radford in the Laser.

With broad smiles after probably the best sailing of the season so far the novice fleet was led home by Fran and Nick Mather; although Nick’s RS400 experience may have been of some help.  Caroline Sell and Richard Fenner sailed well for 2nd place with the single handers of Zoltan Kiss, Steve Roberts, Kate Barnes and Andrea Weddell fighting out the next 4 places.  Harris Smith and Kelly saw off C Smith and Tony Lane in the other Laser 2000s with Matt Coekin 9th in the Topper.

A great weekend both on and off the water.


11-12 August

As Bexhill basked in glorious sunshine on Saturday sailors found the balcony, beer and binoculars the best option as they watched the small but determined fleet struggle in the strong breeze.  While the club Commodore, Kevin Watts, was giving an impressive display of short course sailing on the boating lake in Egerton Park as part of the Party in the Park the sea resembled a demolition derby.

Of the 15 starters in the Mayoress’s Pennant Charity Race only 6 boats managed to finish.  Neil and Dan Hosie were the only cat to finish while in the conventional fleet only the experts in the Laser radials or Europes were able to complete the course.  Colin Coard led home from Rob Harrison and Jim Ingram in the Lasers with Richard Eagleton ahead of Sarah Pullen in the Europes.  There were uncharacteristic swims for Mike Chapman (RS200) and Lucy Walter, who discovered just how difficult it is to right a capsized Hornet.

With Saturday evening’s race cancelled there was an unusually good turnout for Sunday’s Early Worm race.  Rubbing sleepy eyes several crews were making their first ever foray into dawn sailing which may explain some of the unorthodox manoeuvres that took place.  Ali Hodge (Contender) took the win in the conventional fleet ahead of Coard, this time in the RS300.  Tony Cannon was 3rd in the Supernova despite taking the only swim of the day in the force 3 easterly breeze.  Allen Hare looked good in 4th with Keith Walter just behind in the other Laser.  Despite the sound of boats colliding ricocheting around the course Team Hosie were 4th but will never listen to Bill Eele again after he told them to hold their course only to be unable to bear away in a gust and hit them amidships.  Things only went from bad to worse as the race team took a lap away from Eele and gave the asymmetric fleet win to Butch Roberts in the L4000.  Dominic Harvey took dad Aidan out in the RS400 for the first time and was looking promising until dad decided an early breakfast was the better option as the wind started to fill in.

In the cat fleet Malcolm Brookes took pains to ensure crew Barry Wells got full credit this week for helping him around the course and keeping them ahead of Tony Lane and C Duckett.  Full details can be found on the club website along with information about learning to sail for those still basking in the Olympic glow.

Sea Week

A disappointing Sea Week was just about saved at Bexhill Sailing Club last week. A combination of frustration and desperation drove a couple of crews to take to the water on Friday with a bravura display of skill and courage and they were rewarded with an exciting sail in very testing conditions.

For everyone else the week ended on Sunday with a fun race with 22 boats on the water in a more comfortable gentle breeze.  Alistair Hodge took the win in the conventional fleet in the Contender from the Albacore of Bea Frost and Peter Goodman.  Colin Coard took 3rd ahead of Tony Cannon in the Supernova.  Neil Smith led the Comets home ahead of the experienced Ron Wheeler.

In the asymmetric fleet Kevin Watts was rewarded with the win with Jo and Dave Roadway an excellent 2nd.  Yvonne Heritage and Lesley Elliot completed the podium places.  Malcolm Brookes took the cat victory from Tony Lane and Ian Duncan 3rd.

Allen and Bradley Hare cleaned up in the novice fleet and may soon find themselves promoted.  Stelling and Angus took 2nd with McCrae and Walter 3rd.

Despite the lack of success on Bexhill waters all the sailors took vicarious pleasure in the performance of the Team GB sailors and looked forward to welcoming new sailors to the club in coming weeks. 

21-22 July “That’s more like it!” was the cry that went up from the beach last weekend at Bexhill sailing club. The beautiful weather and a half decent breeze rounded off an Olympic week in Bexhill after the torch procession through the town. With 40 boats on the water on Saturday to celebrate the Sail for Gold event, sponsored by the Royal Yachting Association, Bexhill sailors did their bit to launch the Team GB sailors into the Olympic regatta in style. Boats were spread out from South Cliff to Galley Hill with most staying close to the shore it looked impressive. The club held its own medal ceremony with cadet sailors featuring prominently. Matthew Trimmer took gold, ahead of Ben Smith and the Alice Tomlin and Trimmer combo in 3rd. Harriet Tomlin just missed a place but sailed well. In the conventional fleet Geoff Furlong and Clare Lambert just did enough to beat the other Albacore of Bea Frost and Peter Goodman with a late dash to the line. Richard Eagleton was the first Europe home chased hard by Neil Smith showing good early form in the class. There was a good Miracle turnout led by Team Palmer with Dave Walter and Mike Malham putting in good performances. In the cat fleet Team Brookes looked impressive seeing off Tony Lane and Lin Jarvis, Team Newell, despite them winning the biggest Union Jack flag of the day prize, and Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie with a very appropriate jolly roger flying. In the asymmetrics Mike Chapman and Lynne Ratcliffe (RS200) took the win ahead of Mike Adams and Nicola Palmer (RS400) with Dusty Miller and Andy Bullen making a too rare appearance for 3rd. Yvonne Heritage and Lesley did well to claim 6th ahead of Team Mather. Sunday saw 2 races and good turnout as the sun continued to shine. Frost and Goodman got the better of Furlong and Lambert, while Eagleton was consistent with a 2nd and 3rd place. Other notable performances came from Colin Coard (RS300) Christine Angus and Ian Gwinnell and Keith Walter in the Lasers. Chapman winning ways and Ratcliffe continued winning ways in the asymmetric fleet while Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner overcame some early morning sluggishness to finish 2nd after battling on the well set course with Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather. Commodore Kevin Watts persuaded some time reluctant crew Tina back on to the water and celebrated in style with a win in the second race. In the cats Malcolm Brookes and Barry Wells were awesomely dominant winning both races ahead of Tony Lane and Annie and Team Nick. A very successful weekend’s sailing and a strong platform both for the Olympics and the approaching annual club regatta week. 14-15 July Small but beautifully formed fleets continued to be the order of the day at Bexhill Sailing Club as the challenging weather conditions showed no sign of abating. Saturday saw normal order restored to the cat fleet as Jon and Clare Day assumed their usual position as first boat home. Geoff Padgham and Sue Howell had a good second place ahead of Tony Lane and Lin Jarvis. In the conventional fleet the experience of Bea ~Frost and Peter Goodman (Albacore) ensured they were first home with a close tussle behind between Nicola Palmer and Beth Harris (Feva) and Allen Hare and Christine Angus (L2000) with John Stebbing (Topaz) 3rd. Sunday saw the Club’s second open meeting of the year. This time Comets and singlehanded boats basked in the spotlight. In the Comets Carol Peddlesden was the first home boat just edging out Neil Smith. Barry O’Herlihy kept ahead of Wendy Morton, Ken Wyatt and Keith Done as the wind continued to pick up during the day making conditions very tricky and a challenge for all. In the single handers Ali Hodge (Contender) dominated to take the overall win from Lucy Walter (Europe) and Tony Lane (Supernova). Sarah Pullen showed early promise with a win in the first and second race but conditions defeated her after lunch. Chris Beadle (Europe) managed to survive one race longer to stay ahead of Tony Cannon’s Supernova while Geoff Padgham, Allen Hare and John Stebbing enjoyed the additional buzz of the open race format. Next weekend sees the Sail for Gold event across the country with sailors out to show support for Team GB sailors. 7-8 July The vagueries of the weather continue to take their toll at Bexhill Sailing Club. Despite getting 3 races underway over the weekend it took some imagination from the race teams as well as determination from the crews getting on the water. Saturday saw the largest fleets and despite tricking launching and landing there was some very close racing. In the conventional fleet Ali Hodge (Contender) took the win by 7 seconds from Jim Ingram (Laser) with Colin Coard (RS300) 3rd and Bob Palmer in the Miracle 4th. Neil Smith had a good 5th place ahead of the Europes of Sarah Pullen and Chris Beadle. There were welcome returns to the water for Alan Baldwin (Supernova) and Mike Hill in the Miracle. Allen Hare won his tussle with Keith Walter in the Laser radials. In the cat fleet Tony Lane had a good win ahead of Jon and Clare Day. The asymmetric fleet saw Mike Adams and Peter Goodman hold off a determined challenge from Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner with Bill Eele and Nicola Plamer 3rd ahead of Kevin Watts. Sunday dawned windless for the St Michael’s Hospice charity race. Race officer Mike Adams sagely called a postponement and waited with tea in hand for the breeze to fill in. By midday there were enough cats paws on the water to get boats moving and Pullen rebalanced things by beating Smith in the conventional fleet. Wendy Morton had a good sail to put her Comet ahead of Tony Witham with Walter this time getting ahead of Hare. In the asymmetrics Mike and Lynne Chapman (RS200) took the win ahead of Watts while Harvey and Turner had their initial euphoria of finishing second on the water dashed on the cruel rocks of the Portsmouth Yardstick handicap system as they were relegated to 3rd. The wind continued to build over lunch and the afternoon race got underway with 6 boats on the water. With the wind continuing to build and after a number of capsizes the race was curtailed and boats came ashore in a good display of seamanship all-round. Who knows what next week will hold in store; snow; raining frogs; all with the singlehanded Comet and E

RS200 and Asymmetric Open Meeting 10 June

Despite the beach being lashed by gales for days before and a less than encouraging forecast 4 travelling and 3 local boats took part in the latest round of the RS200 South East Area Series alongside 7 club asymmetric boats at Bexhill Sailing Club this weekend.  In what looked like the club’s own mini version of the Olympics with off-shore racing run from a committee boat everyone enjoyed a successful and well run day.

The race team ran 4 races from the committee boat that bobbed around on the short chop in an easterly force 2-3.   The first local RS200 was Mike Chapman and Lynne Ratcliffe opening their account with a 2nd but an over exuberant approach to the start line saw them over the start line in the 3rd race and slip to 4th overall.  Tony Witham and Sally Clarke took 6th. while Yvonne Heritage and Lesley Elliot took 7th making the most of their open meeting debut.

In the asymmetric racing Mike Adams and Nicola Palmer (RS400) took the overall win despite Adams miscounting the number of laps.  Kevin Watts and Lucy Walter (RS400) were on a slow burn improving their position on each race to take 2nd overall.  Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather (RS400) shared the helming and had a 2nd and 3rd place each to keep honours even.  Bill Eele and Daphne Hosie (RS400) with a 2nd in the first race looked in good form and took 4th overall.  Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner had a curate’s egg of a day with some alarming turns of speed, a broken rope and good upwind speed ending in sailing into the mark.  Ali Hodge (Musto Skiff) started well but gear damage took its toll.

Tired and a bit chilly everyone agreed the racing was very well organized and the rib and beach teams did sterling work showing off the club and visitors to Bexhill in a good light.

Jubilee Weekend Series

Despite the weather sailors at Bexhill sailing club celebrated the Jubilee Weekend in style culminating with the Jubilee Cup race on Tuesday in champagne sailing conditions.

Club spirit was seen at its best .  On Monday  Race Officer Tony Lane secured the agreement of the 5 hardy crews to delay the start to allow Commodore Kevin Watts the chance to rig and get on the water.  There was hardly any comment post race that a number of capsizes prevented him actually getting to the start line.  Mike Chapman and Lynn Ratcliffe (RS200) dominate the races keeping ahead of Colin Coard in the leading Laser.  Jim Ingram and Ian Spriggings completed the Laser contingent with Tony Cannon taking 5th place in the Supernova.

More boats took to the water on Tuesday with boats adorned with Union Jack flags.  Once they had negotiated the tricky launch the conventional fleet enjoyed very close back to back races in a strong southerly breeze with a large swell building.   Colin Coard took the overall win just winning on count back from Richard Eagleton in the first of 4 Europes.  Ingram was consistent in 3rd just ahead of Robin Harris who reserved his capsize for after the race.  Chris Beadle showed increasing skill ahead of the other Europes of Sarah Pullen and Lucy Walter.  Allen Hare did well in the Laser in the tricky conditions and Keith Walter saw his chase rudely stopped as he caught the mainsheet on the last mark and could only watch as other boats went past him.

In the cat fleet Ben Watts and E Robinson had good boat speed to take the overall win from team Hosie.  Nick Redman and Nick Newell took 3rd overall despite a between race incident which forced Jon and Clare back to the beach; showing that sitting hove to doesn’t always provide safety. Geoff Padgham and Dave Walter took 5th with Wendy Morton enjoying the fast sailing with Steve Cole in 6th.

The asymmetric fleet reveled in the clever windward leeward course.  Mike Adam and David Stedman (RS400) won both races in some style on the water but Chapman and Ratcliffe won overall on handicap and celebrated with a spectacular landing, rolling up the beach.   Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner (RS400) relaxed into things and despite some good turns of speed finished just behind Butch Roberts and Tim Murray (L4000) whose boat appeared at times to leave the water surfing on the downwind legs.  Everyone pulled together to get boats out of the surf with big smiles all round for a good finish to the Whitsun weekend.

27 May Summer Series

The continuing good weather enticed the largest fleets of the year onto the water this weekend at Bexhill Sailing Club.  With Saturday’s racing abandoned in the strong winds over 30 boats added to the seafront scene on Sunday.

The race team led Mike Chapman had their work cut out as the wind shifted from easterly to westerly reversing the course and causing some interesting manoeuvres as planned mark rounding technique was thrown into disarray.  Luckily the skilful crews on the two handed boats were able to coax their bewildered helms around the course.  Bill Eele in particular benefiting from the advice from crew Daphne Hosie in the RS400.

In the conventional fleet Geoff Furlong and Clare Lambert (Albacore) took the win by a few seconds from Tony Cannon in the Supernova.  This was despite Furlong’s usual attention to detail deserting him and slowing him down.  Ken Wyatt dominated the Comets ahead of Wendy Morton, Keith Done, Ron Wheeler, Carol Peddlesden and Neil Smith.  Peter Goodman showed he’d lost none of his helming skills sailing the Miracle single handed and even flying the spinnaker.  Mike Hill and Dave Walter could only watch in awe in the other Miracle.  There were other good performances in the Lasers from Allen Hare, Ian Gwinnell and Keith Walter.  The cadets were also out in force getting ready for cadet fun week over the half term holiday.

The cat fleet was slightly discombobulated as Commodore Kevin Watts sailed through the middle of them on port tack and Malcolm Brookes and Barry Wells were forced to retire as their mainsail decided it had had enough.  Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie celebrated a well earned 2nd place ahead of Team Nick, Redman and Newell, who seemed to maintain a continuous commentary around the whole course.

The asymmetric fleet saw Mike Adams and Nicola Palmer dominate ahead of Nick Mather and Paul Suggitt and Watts and Lucy Walter.  Tony Witham tried his hand again and took 5th while Yvonne Heritage and Lesley Elliot looked like they really enjoyed their first sail in the RS200.

A good days sailing whetting the appetite for the Jubilee weekend’s full programme.

Saturday Series 19 May

Good judgement paid off for those crews who raced on Saturday at Bexhill Sailing Club.  Sunday  dawned cloudy and windy and crews decided breakfast was the better option.

Nineteen boats took to the water in a force 3 south westerly with what older club members explained was the sun shining.  Race officer Geoff Furlong and his team set an excellent combined course for all the fleets.  The conventional fleet got away first.  Colin Coard (RS300) led everyone home despite some interesting meetings with the asymmetric fleet at various marks.  Bea Frost and Peter Goodman (Albacore) took second ahead of a clutch of Lasers.  Robin Harris led these, perhaps a precursor to the Chelsea result.  Chris Thompson looked good in 4th ahead of Allen Hare clearly getting to grips with the boat staying ahead of Phil Mears and Angus Radford.  Christine Angus led the Topaz duel ahead of cadets Tomlin and Trimmer who did well on the busy course.

It was possible to throw a blanket over the cat fleet finishers.  Jon and Clare Day emerged in front with Flo Wright 2nd and Malcolm Brookes and Barry Wells in 3rd looking liked they were enjoying themselves.  Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie completed the set despite retiring early.

The asymmetric fleet revelled in the windward leeward course.  Nick Mather and Paul Suggitt (RS400) held off Mike Adams and David Stedman (RS400) impressively until an unfortunate collision with the leeward mark.  They then handled the mantle to Butch Roberts (L4000) and the lead swapped backwards and forwards until the wind eased back a notch and Adams and Stedman proved quicker to claim the win.  Mather and Suggitt recovered to take 3rd from Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner (RS400) who were still reeling from the strain of putting new numbers on their sails.  Jo and David Roadway (L2000) enjoyed the long kite reaches to complete the field.


12-13  May

Despite the awkward tide times Bexhill S.C. managed to sail four races last weekend.

The Saturday afternoon race started in a good breeze which faded by the finish. In the catamaran fleet Flo Wright got the better of the John and Clare Day and Steve Cole on handicap. Regular winner Mike Adams sailing with Peter Goodman won the Asymmetric fleet narrowly from Nick Mather and Paul Suggitt as Aiden Harvey tangled with boats and buoys to end outside the rules. The conventional fleet saw a rare outing of the Hornet with experienced sailors Geoff Furlong and Jim Ingram winning from the Lasers of Geoff Slater and Chris Thompson. Carol Peddlesden led home the smaller boats with a fourth place in her Comet.

The evening race, held in a strong tide and dying wind, saw Adams take another win from Kevin Watts in the RS100. John and Clare Day changed classes to the Albacore and won in the conventional fleet. Tony Witham came second in his Comet while Nicola Palmer put in a sterling performance to finish third in aFeva.

Sunday saw five boats on the water at 7.30 for the early worm race. John and Clare Day managed to keep ahead of Flo Wright to win the catamaran race with Malcolm Brookes third. Kevin Watts (RS100)beat Bob Keech  (Laser) in the other fleet.

The morning race for the Summer Series saw some of the best sailing of the weekend in a freshening south west breeze. John and Clare day winning the catamaran race from Malcolm Brookes. There were battles royal in the other fleets, Kevin Watts and rookie crew Alan Baldwin won the asymmetric race by a nose from Nick Mather and Paul Suggit. Spinnaker problems at the last mark slowed Kevin and gave a thrilling dash to the line. In the conventional fleet the Lasers of Jim Ingram and Gordon Trimmer were closely matched, Jim won the start and led for two laps but after a close hard race it was Gordon who won. Colin Coard in the RS300 could not get far enough ahead and ended third on handicap.  Chris Beadle, who was sailing his new Europe dinghy for only the second time, managed fourth place.

Next weekend is less hectic with one race per day. Saturday evening sees the Enrolment for the Sailing course as the club welcomes the next groupof people who will be inspired to take up this fantastic coastal sport


May Short Series A classic bank holiday weekend mix of rain, cold, enthusiasm and wondering about how much longer until the summer arrives was the lot of sailors at Bexhill Sailing Club this weekend. Only the hardiest ventured out on Saturday. Mike Adams and David Stedman (RS400) had their first of successive wins of the weekend beating the chasing clutch of Lasers led by Jim Ingram and Duncan Feathers. Sunday looked much more promising and in a burst of enthusiasm race officer Kevin Watts set a Gordian knot of a course. Sailors all seemed to sail nearly every leg in each direction and post race discussion concluded that all the right bouys had nearly been laid but not sailed necessarily in the right order. In the end 4 boats retired looking a bit confused. Gordon Trimmer(Laser) led home the conventional fleet with Ron Wheeler using all his experience in the Comet for 3rd. Neil Smith (Comet) kept ahead of Sarah Pullen’s Europe and Tony Lane in the Supernova. Keith Done kept the Lasers of Allen Hare and Keith Walter at bay. Jon and Clare Day won both cat races first seeing off Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie and Neil Hosie and Nick Redman. For the second race more familiar triangular and windward leeward courses were laid as the breeze eased back to a force 2 north-easter but with some big wind shifts proving a great help to those who spotted them. A good mixed conventional fleet was won by Nicola Palmer (Topper) from the Lasers of Chris Thompson and Jack Roadway. Lane took 4th despite his homage to the synchronised swimmers in the Olympics with a perfect double capsize with Butch Roberts in the L4000. Kevin Palmer was 5th ahead of David Roadway somewhat cramped a Topper. Yvonne Heritage showed continuing enthusiasm and skill in the Supernova just behind Sue Batten in a Topaz. Adams and Stedman won the asymmetric tussle ahead of Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner(RS400) with Alan Baldwin and Christine Angus 4th. The sunshine on Monday drew out the largest fleets of the weekend. In the cats Malcolm Brookes took 2nd with Jeremy Maynard making an early appearance for 3rd. Trimmer won the conventional fleet with some good performances from Colin Coard (RS300), Tony Cannon (Supernova), while Wendy Morton showed great skill to hold off the Comet of Wheeler. Keith Walter held off son Dave in the Miracle with Jeff Middleton’s Scorpion losing out on handicap. The asymmetric fleet all finished within a minute of each other, Dusty Miller and Andy Bullen rising like the cream to the top ahead of Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather. Kevin Watts (RS100) took 3rd ahead of Bill Eele and Daphne Hosie. That proved enough sailing for everyone as lunch won out over the afternoon race as the wind eased with the dropping tide. More details can be found on the club website along with details of this year’s sail training courses.

21-22 April Saturday and Summer Series

With a full programme of 4 races on the schedule sailors were hoping to be able to pick and choose their races this weekend at Bexhill Sailing Club.   The continuing vagaries of the weather however had other ideas.

The pattern was set on Saturday when the race team showed admirable caution in delaying the start as a hail storm swept across the beach.  The restart caught out some crews sheltering in the boat house and a small fleet of 6 boats took to the water.  In the cats Jon and Clare Day had the 1st of their 2 wins ahead of Flo Wright and Steven Cole and Richard Tyrie; who cannily waited to be lapped rather than prolong activities.  Barry O’Herlihy (Comet) led home the conventional fleet from Keith Walter in the Laser.

The afternoon race saw an increasing westerly breeze, gusting to the top end of a force 5 and steep waves.  A slightly larger fleet reveled in the conditions.   The cats repeated the morning’s results for 1st and 2nd but Robin Harris and Duncan Feathers took 3rd despite it being the first time sailing a cat together and returned to shore wet but smiling.  In the conventional fleet Colin Coard steered his RS300 to 1st place with Keith Done (Comet) showing great perseverance to take 2nd.  In the asymmetric fleet Butch Roberts (L4000) took a spectacular win with a hitherto unseen display of speed and control. Mike Chapman (RS200) with Yvonne Heritage crewing for the first time enjoyed the conditions to take 2nd place.

With the forecast for Sunday looking like only the morning race would be completed a slightly larger fleet hit the water, literally in some cases as the shore break, strong westerly and flood tide combined to give champagne sailing conditions.  Malcolm Brookes and Barry Wells found the course and conditions to their liking securing a win over the Days.  In the conventional fleet Coard swapped to the Laser and still secured 1st place ahead of the Lasers of Jim Ingram and Robin Harris.  Neil Smith (Comet) made sure he was on the water in plenty of time and was rewarded with 4th.  Jeff Middleton eased the sleek looking Scorpion into 5th with Keith Walter (Laser) 6th.   The tricky landing conditions saw some broken boats and battered bodies coming ashore; Allen Hare perhaps regretting his early finish.

Chapman with regular crew Lynne Ratcliffe took the win in the asymmetric fleet with Kevin Watts and Ali Hodge (RS400) impressive in 2nd.  Roberts overcame an uncharacteristic tactical error at the first mark for 3rd with Nick Mather and Paul Suggitt (RS400) 4th after a spectacular Chinese gybe.  Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner (RS400) honourably declared their result null and void after a number of minor mark rounding incidents.  The excited chatter on the beach after the race confirmed the excellent decision on the windward leeward course by Race Officer Tony Witham.  Despite the disappointment of the Surfers Against Sewage charity race having to be abandoned most crews retired to the club house having enjoyed some of the best sailing of the year so far.

15 April Early Worm

The first early worm race of the season saw only the most enthusiastic sailors on the water this weekend at Bexhill Sailing Club.

Despite this being the only race of the weekend, the combination of the early start and the forecast for strong and gusty off-shore winds only 5 boats took to the water.

The conventional fleet saw a tussle between Colin Coard (RS300), Chris Beadle in the Laser and Jon and Clare Day switching to the Albacore for this series.  In the asymmetric fleet Chris and Ed Thompson battled hard in the Vago but couldn’t close the gap on Mike Adams and David Stedman (RS400).  They can however claim a 2nd place even if it was out of 2.

Next weekend sees a much fuller race programme with 4 races scheduled.  Full details can be found on the club website with details of this year’s sail training programme.


Easter Short Series

Guile was the required skill for the Easter Short Series at Bexhill Sailing Club over the holiday weekend.  Fluky winds, big wind shifts and some of the strongest tides of the year put all the crews to the test and those best able to spot the changes prospered.

With 8 races schedules crews expected to be able to pick and choose their favourite conditions.  But fate conspired against them and it was a question of getting in early to secure some points before the weather took a turn for the worse.

With 38 boats on the water over the series it was those with degrees in cunning from the University of Cunning, to misquote Blackadder, who faired the best.  In the conventional fleet Gordon Trimmer reigned supreme putting his Laser ahead of Keith Walter’s Laser who showed growing consistency.   Barry O’Herlihy was the leading Comet with Keith Done ahead of Neil Smith and Tony Witham.  Ron Wheeler proved as cunning as ever as he tried out a Comet and finished ahead of the RS300 of Colin Coard.  There were other notable performances from Wendy Morton (Comet) Ian Gwinnell, Allen Hare and an early season appearance from Geoff Slater all in Lasers.  Tony Lane led home the Supernovas.

While Jon and Clare Day took the overall win in the cat fleet there were some interesting cameo roles played by Malcolm Brookes who swapped between racing with experienced crew Barry Wells and dusting off his Dart 15 to sail single-handed thereby managing to secure both 3rd and 5th places.  Ben Watts continued to show his natural flare and disregard for established reputations with a 2nd overall with Flo Wright 4th.  Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie remembered to fit the bung this week averting another sinking and finished ahead of Simon North in the overall standings.  North was handicapped by being the only cat to sail on Sunday and having his points included in the conventional fleet results.

In the asymmetric fleet Kevin Watts (RS100) got off to a flying start winning both races on Friday as he spotted some big wind shifts and found conditions just to his liking.  This spurred the cunning duo of Mike Adams and David Stedman (RS400) into action winning the remaining races and taking the overall victory based on count back.  Butch Roberts (L4000) provided great value entertainment for the busy promenade on Saturday with a graceful capsize on the start line after a dodgy call from his crew.  Nevertheless they finished 3rd overall ahead of Bill Eele (RS400) despite him rotating fresh crew for each race.  Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather (RS400) took 5th ahead of Dusty Miller and Andy Bullen (RS400) still looking for their first podium of the season.

See the club website for more information along with details of this year’s sail training programme.

31 March - 1 April Spring Series

It was a weekend of contrasts at Bexhill Sailing Club. Saturday dawned chilly, cloudy and the presence of Robin Harris unwrapping his Laser sent out the clear signal that it was going to be windy.

With strong northerly gusts funneling down Sea Road the small but elegant band took to the water.  Despite the tricky conditions there was some close racing and a good mix of results.  Harris showed he had judged the conditions perfectly to win the Conventional fleet from Jim Ingram (laser) while Tony Lane (Supernova) did well to beat the RS300 of Colin Coard.  The Comet battle was won by Neil Smith, helped by palning downwind reaches, ahead of Tony Witham and Keith Done while Ian Gwinnell enjoyed a refreshing swim as he got to grips with the Laser.

In the cat fleet Ben Watts put in characteristically flamboyant display to beat Malcolm Brookes and Barry Wells with Flo Wright 3rd.  Steve Cole appeared to be involved in a premature April Fools joke when he parked on the beach but it transpired it was an unfortunate bung related incident which saw him sinking lower in the water.

Mike Adams and David Stedman (RS400) were back in the zone in the asymmetric fleet but they were pushed hard by Kevin Watts showing increasing mastery of the RS100.

Sunday saw sunshine and a lighter southerly breeze and 25 boats on the water.  Jon and Clare Day restored themselves to the top of the cat fleet beating Flo Wright as he introduced his neighbour to the delights of sailing.

The asymmetric fleet enjoyed some close tactical racing.  Butch Roberts (L4000) was unable to capitalize on an excellent start but did secure a podium finish behind Adams and Stedman.  Neither crews however could match Mike Chapman and Lynn Ratcliffe (RS200) who took the win by some margin on handicap.  Bill Eele and Daphne Hosie (RS400) just slipped into 4th by 9 seconds.  Nick Mather and Paul Suggitt (RS400) had their hopes dashed when a halyard broke and had to edge their way around to stay ahead of Chris and Ed Thompson (Vago) making their first outing of the season.  Nick Baskitt took the helm to pilot Aidan Harvey in the L2000 for 7th place.

In the conventional fleet Bea Frost and Peter Goodman found conditions perfect for the Albacore and that coupled with an almost mystical ability to spot windshifts enabled them to keep ahead of Coard.  Ingram and Tony Lane had a good tussle in the Supernovas; Ingram clearly going for the most boats sailed in a season.  Carol Peddlesden was the first Comet home in 5th place while Bob Palmer showed great flexibility to squeeze into a Topper and beat daughter Nicola.  Richard Hall eased back into the Miracle while Alan Baldwin sampled the delights of a Laser.  Gwinnell had a better day beating Allen Hare and Christine Angus in the Feva.


24-25 March Spring Series

Sailors at Bexhill Sailing Club enjoyed the best breeze and closest racing of the year so far this weekend.   The extra pressure saw some interesting results and a large number of boats not completing the course on Sunday as the wind freshened.

Saturday saw just 2 cats racing with Jon and Clare Day getting the better of Neil Hosie.  In the Conventional fleet Barry O’Herlihy (Comet) had a good win over the Europe of Richard Eagleton with Colin Coard (RS300) close behind.  Neil Smith (Comet) slipped back to 4th with Alan Baldwin reacquainting himself with the Supernova and an early season appearance from Bob Keech in the Laser.  Keith Done (Comet) kept ahead of Allen Hare in the Feva probably exhausted by his efforts wrestling the club computer into submission.

The asymmetric fleet saw Paul Suggitt and Nick Mather take off like a scalded cat to lead for the first 3 laps until Mike Adams regained focus and woke up crew David Stedman to claw their way back to take the win.  Aidan Harvey found out how hard crews have to work as he gave the stick to Jim Ingram who piloted them to 3rd place.  Bill Eele and Daphne Hosie took 4th by 3 seconds from Butch Roberts.  Ali Hodge had to retire the Musto Skiff after the pre-race advice on rigging proved contradictory and was joined on the beach by Dave and Jack Roadway.

Sunday saw the first D course of the season and excited crews as the breeze picked up.  The result was some fast and furious racing, several capsizes and a large number of retirements.   Gordon Trimmer (Laser) just piped Bea Frost and Peter Goodman (Albacore) in the conventional fleet with Coard taking another 3rd.  Chris Beadle (laser) was the only other finisher as gear failure, body failure or failing to cross the finish line ruled out 6 boats.  No doubt there will be some post race analysis and discussions about what happened.

Malcolm Brookes and wily crew Barry Wells took an impressive win in the cat fleet and congratulated the race team for setting what they considered an almost perfect course for a Dart 18.   The sight of Wells trapezing from the back of the hull on the reach will live with those who witnessed it for some time.  The Days took 2nd with Flo Wright 3rd.

The asymmetric fleet made the most of the breeze and while Adams and Stedman took line honours Mike Chapman and Lynn Ratcliffe (RS200) took the win on handicap. Ingram swapped boats again and took 3rd with Bill Eele.  Kevin Watts (RS100) had a close race with Hodge in the battle of the single-handed skiffs finishing just 18 seconds ahead with Suggitt and Mather(RS400) slipping back after a swim at the leeward mark.  Alan Baldwin and Sue Batten (L2000) took the last place after a detour to shore during the race.  Harvey and Turner had to return to the beach before the start after an unfortunate incident calling into question their sense of balance.

Spring Series 18 March

An incident packed weekend for sailors at Bexhill Sailing Club with a good mix of boats on the water, several interesting rule interpretations and gremlins causing Saturday’s race to be abandoned.

As the rain started to fall and tide fell the decision to haul the safety boats out of the water and abandon racing didn’t cause too much heart ache especially for the rugby fans on Saturday.  It was a much happier bunch of sailors that gathered on Sunday in the bright spring sunshine and force 2-3 westerly breeze.   Kevin Watts and the race team had everything under control for the best racing of the year so far.

The conventional fleet had a good mix of boats, from the Scorpion of J Middleton and Charles Harvey to the beautifully turned out Miracle of Dave Walter.  Colin Coard (RS300) dominated the race to win by some margin from the Lasers of Jim Ingram, Bob Keech and Keith Walter.  Keith did have a good excuse having been on the wrong end of a collision with the cat of Flo Wright and Ron Wheeler.  Neil Smith was the first Comet home beating Tony Witham shaking off some winter cobwebs.  Dave Walter sailed the Miracle to a good 7th place ahead of the remaining Comet of Keith Done.

The 3 cats saw Neil Hosie make a near perfect start but he couldn’t capitalize on this early success but it was an unusually early season display of skill(despite a dodgy sail number according to the view from the box).  Jon and Clare Day took the win by some margin in the end as Wright despite the benefit of hugely experienced Wheeler as crew had to make their penalty turns after the incident with the Laser.

The asymmetric fleet enjoyed some close racing until Ali Hodge took off in the Musto Skiff.  The RS400s of Aidan Harvey and Joe Turner and Bill Eele and Daphne Hosie had a close race with the L4000 of Butch Roberts and Tim Murray.  An eerie quite descended on the often more vocal Harvey Turner boat as they used all their powers of concentration to take second place while Eele and Hosie got caught on the wrong side of a big wind shift.  Alan Baldwin and Sue Batten in the L2000 took 5th place and showed developing spinnaker skills as the race progressed.

Everyone agreed it was good to see so many boats out so early in the season and so many from recent sail training courses.  New sail training courses begin in  May and full details can be found on the club website;

Spring Series 10-11 March

Great to be sailing again; new fleet format looks promising; lets hope for a bit more wind next week....

Glorious spring sunshine and the forecast of a reasonable breeze tempted the largest fleet for some years onto the water for the first race of the season at Bexhill Sailing Club on Saturday.

The crack of dry neoprene being stretched over bodies carrying a little winter weight accompanied excited chatter in the changing rooms as crews settled into the familiar routines for rigging and launching boats.  The race team were a little ring rusty and it need the firm smack of control exercised by the race officer who had to abandoned the first start as confusion about which direction to sail around the course was compounded by the advice from over-excited safety boat crews.  After some vigorous discussions on the water the 20 boats settled in for a gentle but rewarding first race; with most sailing in the right direction..

The new format of conventional boats, asymmetrics and cats promises some new challenges.  This was perfectly illustrated in the conventional fleet as Richard Eagleton (Europe) had a close race to beat Colin Coard (RS300).  The Comets of Barry O’Herlihy, Neil Smith and Keith Done took the next 3 places in an impressive display putting them ahead of the Lasers of Gordon Trimmer and Keith Walter.  Alan Baldwin piloted his Supernova to stay ahead of Alan Hare in the Feva.

In the asymmetrics Ali Hodge made an impressive return in the fast but challenging Musto Skiff to beat Nick Mather and Paul Suggitt (RS400) while Butch Roberts (L4000) showed early season form for the last podium finish.  Bill Eele and Daphne Hosie took 4th as Bill explained he liked to get all his tactical errors out of the way early in the season.

The cat fleet had a familiar look as the Days took the win ahead of Flo Wright and Steve Cole and Richard Tyrie.

The lighter breeze on Sunday saw much smaller fleets with only Mike Adams and David Stedman (RS400) finishing in the asymmetric fleet as Dusty Miller and Andy Miller found tea and cake from the new galley team from No. 48 a more attractive option.  Neil Smith had a good win in the conventional fleet mixing it with Malcolm Brookes and Barry Wells on the Dart 18 while Walter and Hare found condiotns and the strong tide difficult to overcome.

All agreed it was a promising and entertaining start to the season with much to look forward to with the new race formats as we head into the Olympic season.

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