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Sailing Holidays 2019 - TOP

Camel Week 2019 at Rock Sailing and Waterski Club

by George Dale 23 Aug 16:32 BST
Camel Week 2019 © George Dale

Rock Sailing and Waterski Club's annual Camel Week regatta was this year on the rather turbulent waters of the Camel Estuary. Unfortunately the high winds on Saturday meant that racing had to be postponed, but the wind had moderated enough by Sunday to enable the Race Officer, Chris Creak and his team to catch up by running two slightly shorter races and from then they were able to complete the event on schedule.

Race 1 was won by the RS400 of John Heissig and Nicky Griffin with the International Canoe of Glen Truswell prevailing in race two. These two, chased hard by Alice Woodings-Hyde in her Laser Radial, were set to dominate the week.

Monday was the first of the two pursuit races, a format always enjoyed by the competitors but a headache for the race team as the increasing wind during the race resulted in the boats completing more laps than anticipated. The race was won by Glen on his Canoe with the Nacra Blast catamaran of Ben Harris and Morgan Smith coming second both having completed six laps of the final triangle.

On Tuesday the wind finally moderated and the fleet enjoyed a quieter day in Daymer Bay, this was again won by Glen in his Canoe with the RS400 of Rob and Chris Lloyd second and Alice in her Laser Radial third.

On Wednesday the wind returned for the second pursuit race which turned into an eventful afternoon with several capsizes and a new winner, Georgina Williams in her Dart 18 catamaran.

The last race on Thursday was sailed further up the Estuary with a W course giving two windward legs and a long reach to the leeward mark. Again a gusty evening resulting in some of the competitors taking an involuntary swim. This was won by the RS400 of John Heissig with the Lloyds second and Glen slipping to third.

At the end of a varied and sometimes exciting week's sailing the final results were: 1st International Canoe Glen Truswell, 7 pts, 2nd RS400 John Heissig and Nicky Griffin, 11 pts, 3rd Laser Radial Alice Woodings-Hyde, 17 pts.

There was also a small fleet of catamarans, mainly Hobie 16s and Dart 18s who join the dinghies for the pursuit races but otherwise race separately. This was closely fought with Ed Chisholm's Hobie 16 ably crewed by his two young daughters, Hannah and Emily on alternate days just beating Ben Harris and Morgan Smith in the Nacra Blast by one point.

Highlights from the committee boat, included watching some excellent boat handling from some of the younger teams.

In spite of numbers being down this year, a fleet of 16 enthusiastic crews registered and on average 15 came to the start line for each race.

By Sunday afternoon the wind had subsided and with the dinghies and cats opting for Daymer Bay the Shrimpers settled for the relatively calm, albeit shallow waters off Padstow. Two races were sailed back-to-back without anyone, including the committee boat, running aground.

On Monday the Shrimpers were chased seawards by the Dinghies and Cats pursuit race and a course was set between Greenaway and the old lifeboat station in Hawkers Cove.

Tuesday, with the Dinghies and Cats in Hawkers Cove, the Shrimpers ventured tentatively a little further out to sea. The observers on the Committee boat had so enjoyed the tussle on the previous day that a course was set with the start/finish line in the centre so that the tense expressions on the leading crews could be closely watched.

The Wednesday dinghy and cat pursuit race was given a wide berth with the Shrimpers heading further down the estuary with the furthest mark near Stepper Point.

Thursday saw the Dinghies opting for Padstow, so the Shrimpers had lots of room for a bigger course in Hawkers Cove. The Crews were taxed by a declared unusual "square figure of eight" course that had more marks than they could count on the fingers of one hand, including a challenging gybe mark.

The crews expressed their enjoyment of the racing but seemed pleased that they then had a couple of weeks to recover before their next major event, the somewhat more leisurely Shrimper Fest in early September.

It was a testing week for sailors and organisers alike, yet all could be certain of a welcome back in the clubhouse, where Manager Richard Smith and his team worked hard to ensure all were fed and watered after their exertions. All in all, yet another great Camel Week. We hope the competitors will all be back in 2020.

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