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Exmoor Beastie 2023 at Wimbleball Sailing Club

by Nick Ryles 31 Mar 2023 09:30 BST 26 March 2023
Exmoor Beastie pursuit race at Wimbleball © Tim Moss

Final preparation for the 2023 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 to a more modest 15mph northerly breeze, gusting to 25mph. A bit of windchill perhaps, but a consistent forecast for the duration of the long pursuit.

As many will have seen the Wimbleball reservoir suffered from the extreme drought conditions during the summer of 2022 resulting in water levels falling to a dramatic 17% of capacity in early autumn. Following high rainfall in November and pumping from the River Exe, water levels are now back to 100% and the racing marks are actually in the water again!

Visitors arrived throughout the morning from a number of coastal clubs including Highcliffe, Brixham, Weymouth, Starcross and Lymington. They joined inland sailors from Wimbleball and Sutton Bingham, among others. The club was delighted to welcome our visitors who formed an orderly queue for the washdown facilities and mid-morning bacon butties.

A word of thanks to South West Water and South West Lakes Trust for supplying Wimbleball SC with the new biosecurity washdown kit ahead of this year's event.

At noon our first starter was Wimbleball's Jemima Ryles in the Laser 4.7/ILCA 4. She was followed soon after by a GP14 and a pair of OKs, one helmed by Charlie Maunder, a former club member now sailing at Highcliffe in Dorset.

After 41 minutes our final starters, Terry Curtis and Peter Greig from Weymouth SC, got themselves under way in the Osprey. A long pursuit awaited them, illustrated by the fact that Jemima completed her first lap in just over 56 minutes, still leading the field by several minutes.

The majority of our starters were under way between 21 minutes and 28 minutes including a strong turnout of K1s and RS Aeros. A trio of classes got under way at 26 minutes with the Scorpion from Brixham getting crowded out at the favoured pin end by the Blaze and Hadron H2. No quarter given early on!

The Beastie course is well known for visiting the full length of the lake, so our competitors were faced with a long beat towards Bessom Bridge, followed by a downwind leg towards the dam, with a visit to Cowmoor spur on the way. Regular gusts kept the fleet hiking out and testing their stamina! One or two capsized along the way but nothing to concern the safety crews.

After two hours the leaderboard was beginning to take shape. Charlie Maunder was lead boat, doing everything possible to keep a chasing group of Simon Hawkes (K1), Gavin Poulloin (OK), Peter Barton (RS Aero 7) and Paul Birbeck (K1) at arm's length. Ian Jay (K1) also remained in close contact and Chris Dyer (Blaze) was making serious progress.

In the last hour a charging Terry Curtis and Peter Greig made up 14 places. Richard LeMare in the Hadron H2 was also making steady progress through the field. In the final minutes the gaps within the fleet began to close right up and the leaders passed the windward mark for the final time.

At the finish it was Simon Hawkes who had got his K1 in front to win the 2023 Beastie. Peter Barton was a close second, not allowing Simon any time to relax. Paul Birbeck made up the top three with Charlie Maunder in fourth. Our top junior was Jacob Chambers in the RS Aero 7. Our top junior crew was Quinn Holme in the 2000 helmed by Jay Whitehead.

Congratulations to Simon, and all of the competitors for contributing to a successful Beastie. The competitors and safety crews were grateful to warm up in the clubhouse afterwards and enjoy some hot food and the prize-giving. Our thanks to long term sponsors Exmoor Ales and Allen for contributing prizes. Winners received engraved glassware to toast their success.

Finally, thanks to our wonderful volunteer team who helped throughout the day. It wouldn't be possible without them.

Overall Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmCrewClubR1
1stK1175Simon Hawkes Wimbleball SC1
2ndRS AERO 74396Peter Barton Lymington Town SC2
3rdK184Paul Birbeck Wimbleball SC3
4thOK66Charlie Maunder Highcliffe Sailing Club4
5thOSPREY1234Terry CurtisPeter GreigWeymouth SC5
6thOK77Gavin Poulloin Weymouth SC6
7thBLAZE843Chris Dyer Wimbleball SC7
8thK167Ian Jay Sutton Bingham SC8
9thRS AERO 72550Chris Jones Sutton Bingham SC9
10thK1169Paul Harwood Wimbleball SC10
11thHADRON H2156Richard Le Mare CCSC11
12th200022663Jay WhiteheadQuinn HolmeWimbleball SC12
13thK1112Tony Paine Wimbleball SC13
14thRS 4001530John CooperBecci WigleyLymington Town SC14
15thPHANTOM1259Stephen McDonald Starcross YC15
16thGP1414014Andy WadsworthtbcBrixham YC16
17thK1129Gordon Keyworth unaffiliated17
18thRS AERO 71601Jacob Chambers Wimbleball SC18
19thRS AERO 72154John Tanner Chelmarsh SC19
20thK1145MIke Green Wimbleball SC20
21stRS AERO 93502Mark Lambdin Bradford on Avon SC21
22ndRS 200787Nathan MuggeridgeLeo MuggeridgeWimbleball SC22
23rdRS 4001263Dave StocktonAmy Savage BaileyWimbleball SC23
24thSCORPION2000Helen AllenTim WildBrixham YC24
25thILCA 4 / Laser 4.7185306Jemima Ryles Wimbleball SC25

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