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RS Vision Open at Exe Sailing Club

by Dan Jaspers 4 Jun 2009 16:07 BST 30 May 2009

After 2h 57m of Saturday morning driving under our belts, it was great to see the River Exe in al its glory. Stunning cloudless skies and plenty of breeze. This was what we had been waiting for for weeks. Race brief given by Rick Newcombe. Square course with 4 markers. All marks laid by club so easier to distinguish. With gusts of 25 knots blowing at the river mouth, the decision was made to keep the gathered Visions inside the river and run the 3 races back to back over the top of the 3.5m high tide. Group decision - REEF. Only the second time that the Vision Class has done this as a whole at an event.

Once out on the water it was clear to us in 939 how quickly we needed to get to know the waters, with shallow sand bank areas and swift moving tidal areas dotted around the course. I was of course distracted by so many yachts and great scenery.

Race 1

18 - 20 knots.

With a club safety boat acting as head marker to show us the way round, we started. 939 leading 477 and 478 by 50 yrds. This was to be one of only 2 occassions where such a lead was seen. The local crew of Horlock and Pearce soon reigned us in and eased away. Lighter and far more familiar with the course and waters. The battle for second saw a tight set of tacking duels between us in 939 and the Club Pro Jen Miller and her helm, Guy Farrows in 477. A slight course direction error by the safety boat meant that we all headed for the wrong marker and being further upwind once the mistake was noticed, meant that we had further to go after dropping the kite, to get back doen. The second place had been lost. Third would have to do. 40 mins of race one and the gun went. The youth in 1st and the Club pro in second with yours truly in third.

Race 2

Wind dropping to 12-15 knots. Reef being shaken out by us and the lead 2 boats, rather hurridly before the 5 minute gun went again. Good to see that the race officers were not hanging around. I soon saw why. The tide had now started to divide and half the course was flooding and the other, by the 3rd and 4th markers was dropping rapidly. Tactics were going to come in to play. Team Weakes and Slade, Ford and Jeffrey and Martineau / Ranft were having their own battles in the 4,5 and 6th slots. Reefs stayed in and caution was exercised.

After a rather cheeky port flyer on the start which took us to the right side of the course and on the tack back up to the lay line and starboard saw us in second position by the windward on leg 1. A complete disaster on the kite halyard hoist (tangle and block dislocation) we clowed into 3rd again but only by a boat length. This was going to be tight. All three of us at the front were still getting crews out on the wire with full rigs and it was great to see these boats being used with the full compliment of equipment. I have to say (although im biased) that the Vision looks pretty sexy with a crew flat wired. More events with wind please.

Shortened course decision made the boats were finished after 2 laps and the order. Same as race 1. They do say consistance breeds the best results.

Race 3

10 knots and about the same on the tide. (well almost)

Rig tension eased and some kite adjustments made we were determined to claw back some dignity and fight these EXE SC sailors at their own game.

5,4,1,GO... and we were off 4 out of the starting boats all in a tight line on the start. 478 tacked, we tacked off, 477 went for clear air and the scene was set. The moored Yachts were now being used as chess pieces in our quest to gain height and make it to the windward marker. 1,2,3 tack. The call from my crew as to lay for mark 1 was spot on...477 went early and the tide pushed them down just enough to force another tack onto port...STARBOARD! I cried out as they ducked beneath us. Right then. Match race time. The boys in 478 at this stage were flying ahead. Our job was to protect 2nd. Kite hoist one...perfect. Well done Vicky! Shadowing their every move we snaked our way in and out of al the boats. This continued for 3 laps and by the time we finished we were still resting comfortably in 2nd. Result - 3rd over all. Happy times. We still got a piece of glassware.

The prize giving took place whilst eating some of the lovely homemade cakes from the ladies in the galley. I can still taste the beautiful coffee cake. Mmmmmm.

Afterwards we strolled down to the local kite fair and watched some sinchronized kite displays and then went for a celebratory drink at the Beach Pub, overlooking the entrance to the river. The wind by this stage, a calm 5-7 knots. What a perfect day.

Thanks to all that made it a fantastic day.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st478Iain HorlockEd PearceExe SC-1112
2nd477Guy FarrowsJen MillerExe SC22-34
3rd939Dan JaspersVicky HoldenEmsworth Slipper-3325
4th584Mark WeakesRoger SladeExe SC(DNF)448
5th601Steve FordPaul JeffreyExe SC(DNF)5510
6th---Carragh MartineauLaurie RanftExe SC(DNS)DNFDNF14

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