Please select your home edition
Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

The Exmoor Beastie 2022 sponsored by Exmoor Ales at Wimbleball Sailing Club

by Nick Ryles 8 Apr 2022 06:24 BST 3 April 2022
The Exmoor Beastie 2022 © David Mather

A bright but chilly morning greeted our competitors as they arrived at Wimbleball Sailing Club for the first Beastie since 2020 after the postponement in 2021 because of the Covid pandemic. Unfortunately, Covid did cause a handful of withdrawals late on, which was a great shame for those affected.

The lake was completely still as the duty volunteers arrived to set up, but the hope was for a northerly breeze to fill in across the lake during the morning. The breeze did come as expected but remained light and variable throughout the day.

The Beastie course traditional visits the full length of the lake from Bessom Bridge at the northern end right down towards the dam at the southern end, with a reach into the central spur of the lake on the way to the leeward mark. A long course but it gives competitors beautiful views across the reservoir, from the grassy banks at one end to the steep forested sections nearer the dam.

After mid-morning bacon rolls and refreshments our early starters headed down the slipway and off to the start line. It was good to see a handful of juniors in the entry list. Wimbleball SC has an active junior RYA training scheme and several of them are beginning to develop their racing skills. Our first starter was 11-year-old Lewis Ryles in his first Beastie, skilfully helming a Laser 4.7 across the line on the starting signal!

Lewis was closely followed by Angus Cook from NDYC, and junior crew Philippa Dunbar, in the Firefly, and Val Millward from Rutland in the Challenger. At regular intervals our later starters got their pursuit under way representing 8 different clubs and 12 different classes. This included, among others, Mark Lambdin from Bradford on Avon SC in an Aero 9, junior pairing Leo Muggeridge and Jacob Chambers from Wimbleball in an RS200, two Tasars, historically a very popular class at Wimbleball, and finally a pair of RS400s.

The leader after the first leg was the Firefly from NDYC. Also making good progress towards the windward mark was Martin Moore in a Laser standard rig and a group of K1s including Ben Hawkes representing the RAF Sailing Association and Paul Birbeck, winner of the recent K1 Inland Championships held at the same venue in March. Close on their tail were Jemima Ryles in a Laser Radial and Val Millward in the Challenger.

Several boats took an aggressive line towards mark 5 in the central spur of the lake but ultimately suffered in the lee of the shore, with others taking a slightly a wider line able to stay in the wind. Despite the light conditions, competition remained very keen throughout the whole fleet.

At the leeward mark nearest the dam, and barely visible from the Race Hut, the Firefly was finally caught by the chasing group. The wind dropped for a while and those able to maintain some momentum around the mark took first advantage of the incoming gusts as the wind filled in from the north. At the completion of the first lap Ben Hawkes and Paul Harwood were neck and neck at the front, with the Firefly holding third place. Paul Birbeck and Chris Dyer completed the top 5.

In the final group the RS400s were making steady progress through the fleet but were not able to take full advantage of the spinnaker given the light wind. The RS400 of Figs Cain and Barney Dearsley from Starcross YC, aiming for a podium finish in the overall Sailing Southwest Winter Series, maintained a slight advantage over Dave Stockton and Amy Savage-Bailey from Wimbleball SC.

During the second lap Paul Harwood carried good speed downwind and was able to open a lead on Ben Hawkes. During the reach around mark 5, Ben was able to retake the lead and thereafter it was a nip and tuck battle in the final stages. Chris Dyer and Jeff Vander Borght from Lyme Regis stayed in touch, but Paul Birbeck, who was holding third during the second lap, retired with about 30 minutes to go. Ian Jay from Sutton Bingham had a strong second lap in the K1, moving up several places having been 8th after the first lap.

As the 3-hour mark approached the lead pack had just rounded the leeward mark and the safety boat crews took up position to record the final positions. As the horn sounded it was Ben Hawkes who had managed to take a narrow but decisive lead in a tense finish, with Paul Harwood a very close second. Congratulation to them both for some excellent tactical sailing in tricky conditions. The Hawkes name will be added to the Exmoor Beastie trophy once again, but this time the next generation. A word of thanks must be said for our excellent safety crews who did a top-class job of recording positions across the lake at the finish.

As far as the Sailing Southwest Series was concerned Terry Curtis in the OK dinghy won the series, Figs Cain was 2nd (9th in the Beastie), and Angus Cook was 3rd (7th in the Beastie).

A delicious hot lunch and ample cake awaited our competitors on their return. Many thanks to our shore and galley crew for all their efforts during the day. Thanks also to all our competitors for their efforts to attend and we look forward to seeing you again.

Overall Results:

1st - Ben Hawkes, RAFSA
2nd - Paul Harwood, Wimbleball SC
3rd - Chris Dyer, Wimbleball SC

Top Juniors
Double hander: Leo Muggeridge and Jacob Chambers
Single-hander - Jemima Ryles

PositionSail NoClassHelmCrewClub
192K1Ben Hawkes RAFSA
2169K1Paul Harwood Wimbleball SC
3127K1Chris Dyer Wimbleball SC
453K1Ian Jay Sutton Bingham
5157K1Jeff Vander Borght Lyme Regis
6131K1Gordon Keyworth Wimbleball SC
73695FIREFLYAngus CookPhilippa DunbarNDYC
8145K1Mike Green Wimbleball SC
9411RS 400Figs CainBarney DearslyStarcross YC
101263RS 400David StocktonAmy Savage‑BaileyWimbleball SC
11142K1John Clear Wimbleball SC
12312CHALLENGERVal Millward Rutland Sailing Club and Sailability
1396LASERMartin Moore Lyme Regis
142814TASARAnthony PaineSandy PaineWimbleball SC
153502RS AERO 9Mark Lambdin Bradford on Avon SC
16787RS 200Leo MuggeridgeJacob ChambersWimbleball SC
171174RS AERO 7Andrew Smith Wimbleball SC
18382COMET TRIO (MK I)Steve SharpHelen HardingWimbleball SC
19185306LASER RADIALJemima Ryles Wimbleball SC
20191622LASER RADIALKate Jeffreys Wimbleball SC
21185306LASER 4.7Lewis Ryles Wimbleball SC
24.0 DNF84K1Paul Birbeck Wimbleball SC
24.0 DNF1275TASARJames WebberDaniel WebberWimbleball SC

Related Articles

Exmoor Beastie 2024 at Wimbleball
The Beast Slumbers Unusually the weather was perfect, with blue skies and fair wind, except in the notorious dam area of the lake where there was very little and shifty. The wind elsewhere was a bit gusty and variable in direction but that is entirely normal. Posted on 28 Mar
Exmoor Beastie
Forecast for F8 gusts thankfully eased to something more modest Final preparation for the Beastie took place on the Wednesday afternoon prior to the event with the organiser somewhat concerned by a forecast from one weather source of 40mph (force 8) gusts. Fortunately, as the weekend approached the forecast eased. Posted on 31 Mar 2023
SW Regional Plan to tackle Invasive Species
Launch at Wimbleball Sailing Club on 25th March A celebration of the launch of the South West Regional Invasive Non Native Species Pathway Action Plan for Recreational Boating will be hosted by Wimbleball Sailing Club 25 March 2023. Posted on 14 Mar 2023
Exmoor Beastie to be held on 26th March
A 3-hour pursuit race, held in beautiful surroundings on Exmoor National Park The 2023 Exmoor Beastie race will be held on Sunday March 26 at Wimbleball Sailing Club. The "Beastie" is a 3-hour pursuit race, held in beautiful surroundings on Exmoor National Park. Posted on 12 Feb 2023
Wimbleball Lake Staff Fusion Regatta
15 instructors take to the water to battle it out On Friday 29th July, 15 instructors at Wimbleball Lake took to the water in Fusions for our first staff regatta. After a postponement in hope of more wind, conditions remained light and variable throughout the regatta. Posted on 24 Aug 2022
Just over 2 weeks until the 2022 Exmoor Beastie
The 3-hour (max) mixed class pursuit at Wimbleball SC A reminder that it is just over 2 weeks until the Exmoor Beastie race at Wimbleball Sailing Club on Sunday 3rd April. The "Beastie" is a 3-hour (max) mixed class pursuit race, held in beautiful surroundings on the eastern side of the Exmoor National Park. Posted on 18 Mar 2022
K1 Inlands 2022 at Wimbleball
20 helms race either side of the weekend's storm After a late discussion on Wednesday evening, it was decided to go ahead with the K1 Inland National Championship despite the forecast of 50 knots of breeze for the weekend of the 12th & 13th March. Posted on 17 Mar 2022
K1 Inlands 2022 to be held at Wimbleball
Over the weekend of March 12th & 13th Wimbleball SC plays host to the K1 Inland Championship over the weekend of March 12th & 13th, with the opportunity for practice/tuning on Friday 11th March. Posted on 1 Feb 2022
2022 Exmoor Beastie preview
To be held on Sunday 3rd April at Wimbleball SC The 2022 Exmoor Beastie race will be held on Sunday April 3, 2022, at Wimbleball Sailing Club. The Beastie is a 3-hour (max) mixed class pursuit race, held in beautiful surroundings on the eastern side of the Exmoor National Park. Posted on 29 Jan 2022
Great fun learning to sail at Wimbleball Lake
Children and adults get a taste for the enjoyment that sailing offers Like a lot of local Clubs, Covid-19 has curtailed many Wimbleball SC activities during the first part of 2020. However, with the lifting of Government restrictions and a strict safety policy the Wimbleball was able to partially open its doors again. Posted on 19 Sep 2020