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Musto 2017 728x90 Superhuman

South West Challenge 2019 - Overall

by Richard Willows 3 Apr 2019 10:15 BST
Ben and Simon Hawkes in the Roadford Rocket (part of Sailing SouthWest Winter Series) © Lottie Miles

The original Southwest Challenge Series over three events was truncated this year by the cancellation of the Starcross Steamer and therefore comprised just the Roadford Rocket and the Wimbleball Beastie. With 25 entries to the Rocket and 36 to the Beastie, both events were well-supported by sailors from across the south-west, but only eight boats entered both events.

Lying high up in Exmoor, the Beastie was relatively benign this year with sunshine and a relatively warm wind, but still became quite a test as the north-westerly wind increased in strength and became very gusty, with boats experiencing a full-on blast followed by a lull in very short periods, catching some people out... and the bottom end of the lake being very quiet, and requiring inland water skills and not suiting most of the trapeze boats.

The biggest start was the K1 and RS aero 7, and they had overhauled the Challenger trimaran by the end of the second lap. The Blazes and RS Aero 9s started together, and Peter Barton and Chris Dyer set off at a fast pace. Further back, the Osprey crewed by local sailors Ben and Simon Hawkes appeared to make light of the conditions and made their way up to tenth place. The Contender of Iain Horlock and the Fireball and Merlin Rockets struggled to make headway and at the finish the K1 of Andrew Snell of ASA, and the RS Aero 9 of Peter Barton, were about a boat length apart, followed by two further K1s.

Ben and Simon Hawkes (with third and tenth) were the South-West Challenge winners, with Chris Jones in RS Aero 7 second (with eighth and ninth), and Chris Dyer in a Blaze third (with tenth and eighth).

These two events were part of the Sailing Southwest Winter Series, and many thanks to them for their help in organisation and support and sponsorship.

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