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Shadow Open at North Devon Yacht Club

by Mike Martin 22 Jul 2009 07:35 BST 18-19 July 2009

North Devon Yacht Club at Instow hosted an open meeting for Spitfires and Shadows over the weekend 18-19 July, following the similar event of last year. Tales of the club’s warm welcome and excellent sailing water got around the fleets and guaranteed a healthier turnout this year, with 22 boats on the water.

The large tidal range makes it one of the few venues where you can walk the course in the morning before racing in the afternoon, and boats were unloaded from trailers and rigged with no water in sight, and a gloomy weather forecast. However, nature did its thing and the water duly arrived in the time it took to down a pint and a sandwich.

The wind for race 1 was moderate but changeable, and after a good start by Rob Forrester at least half the fleet took turns in the lead with Ollie Harris eventually taking the gun. The wind settled thereafter to a good F4 to give some of the best sailing this side of heaven for the rest of the day.

Race 2 saw Gurnard’s Paul Tanner fly up the first beat, pursued by Ollie, Robin Leather and Dave Lowe, but Paul was not about to waste a start like that and eventually took the win. The sole local Shadow sailor Huw Thomas is rapidly coming to terms with the boat and went encouragingly well in race 2.

By race 3 the fleet was fully tuned up and going fast, but not without some incident. Dave Lowe was first up the beat, with Mike Martin and Graham Tomlin nailing the mark from the port side. Ollie hooked the spreader mark – 360 for him. Next up - Ollie, Mike, Paul and one other tried to tie a reef knot at the bottom mark – failed – but no damage. By then the tide was away and Paul and Mike clipped the rapidly shallowing Sprat Ridge near the bottom mark while at full speed and were lucky not to go swimming. Ollie did the same and was not so lucky. Robin Leather sailed blithely through all the carnage to take first spot.

Saturday evening’s barbeque and race dissection was also excellent, with a stunning sunset view from the clubhouse across the sands and puddles of the erstwhile racing area, now covered in frisby chuckers and dog walkers.

On Sunday the wind was up, with F8 in the rain squalls, so racing was canned but 10 boats, 3 great races on nice water at a friendly club, that’ll do nicely.

Well done, NDYC – please can we come again next year.

Overall Results:

1 Paul Tanner
2 Robin Leather
3 Ollie Harris
4 Dave Lowe
5 Carl Blenkinsop
6 Mike Martin
7 Rob Forrester
8 Mike Ward
9 Graham Tomlin
10 Huw Thomas

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