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Europe Open at Overy Staithe Sailing Club

by Malcolm Morley 7 Jul 18:43 BST 4 July 2020

Overy Staithe SC managed to kick off the sailing season with the Europe Open Meeting on 4th July 2020, just as local pubs opened for the first time since March.

Overy Staithe SC has no clubhouse and in the era of Coronavirus, this seems like a strong advantage, as does single-handed racing. Sailors at Overy expect to get changed at home or in the back of a car and so that was much the same as usual. Ten boats assembled on the hard at in gusty conditions under grey clouds but with huge enthusiasm, as for most of the fleet it was the first time they had sailed in 2020. In many ways it looked just like any open meeting but nobody assembled for a briefing, money was left in sealed envelopes and the father and son safety crew wore helmets with visors. The racing was scheduled to run on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, but with a very breezy forecast for Sunday morning, the race officer made a decision to run three races on Saturday evening and abandon any idea of Sunday morning sailing.

The start line was laid in the fast flooding tide at the entrance to the harbour, but the sailors were keen not to be pushed over the line and there was only one boat OCS in the first race. Local OK sailor Alex Scoles lead the fleet around much of the harbour course in a borrowed Finessa with only Hamish Morley managing to get in front of him for part of the race. Hamish finished second with Simon "Spike" Turner taking third place. There were several capsizes throughout the fleet and understandably two sailors decided to return to the hard, leaving an eight-boat fleet.

The second race saw Alex Scoles lead the fleet around the whole course. There was a lot of competition for the next few places but at the finishing line it was Malcolm Morley second and Simon Turner third.

By the time the third race got under way, the tide had turned and the breeze softened. There were three boats on six points vying for second place but it was less clear which tidal tactics would pay. Alex Scoles again found the speed and strategy to lead throughout the race and take first place overall. Simon Turner finishing a good second to claim second place in the final results. Behind him, there was close racing between the Morleys, Steve Whitby and Mark Beck. It could have been any of those boats finishing third but after Steve capsized on Scolt Head beach and Hamish failed to lay a windward mark in the fast ebbing tide, Malcolm Morley managed to finish third to claim third place overall.

Credit must go to lightweights Fred Beck and Joseph Pembury who got faster and faster in each race as the breeze eased up. Missing from the regular Europe fleet was Debs Crisell, but big congratulations to her on the recent arrival of daughter Elsie. Thanks to the Turner family race team for running the event and the Goakes family for manning the safety boat, visors and all. There was no prize-giving and no pats on the back after racing, but a great day of socially-distanced sailing made it all worthwhile.

Overall Results:

1stAlex ScolesOSSC1112
2ndSimon TurnerOSSC3325
3rdMalcolm MorleyOSSC4235
4thHamish MorleyOSSC2456
5thMark BeckOSSC5749
6thSteve Whitby Gorleston65dnf11
7thFred BeckOSSC86612
8thJoseph Pembery Ouse98715
9thEllie ClarkRipon/OSSC7dnfdns16
10thClaire GilesGunfleet10dnsdns21

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