Over the weekend of August 22 and 23, Paignton Sailing Club ran a summer dinghy regatta, however the weather didn’t quite understand the ‘summer’ bit in the title.
High winds on Saturday turned it into a one-day event, so Sunday’s racing was brought forward by half-an-hour to squeeze in a fourth race.
The fleet launched in a nice 10-12 knot wind blowing from the west so a nice flat sea but shifty wind coming offshore.
The fleet of almost 30 boats were split into three fleets. The fast fleet started first with the 49er of Fin Armstrong and Ewan Gribbin whistling around the outer loop at a blistering speed leaving the chasing 29ers, Fireball, Hobie 16, Vortex, Blazes and Hadron H2 in their wake.
The second start saw a much closer battle between 7 RS Aeros, RS200, Wayfarer and RS Vision. Ewan Gribbin came home first in the Aero 7, but was beaten on handicap by the Aero 5s of William James and Mark Ripley.
The third start, sailing a triangle course within the main race course, was for novice sailors, many of whom have never competed before. Ben Fuller, in his Topper taking the win over Thomas Semmens sailing the smaller rigged Topper 4.2.
As the day progressed, the wind continued to build, and shift, with gusts over 20 knots and swings of 40 degrees which made for some tough racing, particularly for the novice sailors.
The second race saw the 49er take off at speed again, but we’re beaten this time by the twin brothers Luca and Zak Mitchell in their 29er.
In the medium fleet, William James took the win again, with Luke Gribbin and Nick Craven, both sailing Aero 7s, doing their best to reign in the Aero 5s in second and third.
For the novice fleet, Ben took the win again heading Thomas Wild, also in a Topper, and Iona Flett in an RS Tera.
For the third race, the wind shift meant a quick realignment of the race course which is no mean feat for one Mark laying boat, with two windward marks and a gate to move, but achieved in record time, so thanks to Rob Banham and Andy Probert for achieving this in record time.
For the racing, the fast fleet was won again by the 49er with Mike Holmes in his Blaze in second ahead of a dead heat between the twins in their 29er and the Fireball of Elaine and Graham Slater.
In the medium fleet, Luke Gribbin took the win ahead of William and Nick in 3rd. For the novice fleet, Ben and Thomas took the first two places with Amelia Gilboy making it a Topper 1, 2, 3.
By the time of the fourth race, the wind was blowing a pretty constant 18 to 20 knots so, with a fleet of rapidly tiring sailors the decision was made to finish with a slightly shorter race so two laps was displayed and the 49er duly set off, and finished before the final starters were away. Second place went to the Fireball and Seb Caunter in third in his Blaze.
The medium fleet were obviously a little too keen to get finished and go home so were called back for a second try, this time under U flag. Luke Gribbin in the Aero 7 took the win with Mark just beating William for an RS Aero 5 second and third.
The novice fleet saw Ben take another win making it four out of four, Thomas taking his third third place and Iona, in the Tera, taking her second second.
Overall results were - first: Fast fleet, Fin Armstrong and Ewan Gribbin, second: Luca and Zak Mitchell, third: Elaine and Graham Slater. Medium fleet, first - Luke Gribbin, second: William James and third Mark Ripley. Novice fleet - first Ben Fuller, second Thomas Wild and third Iona Flett.
Full results can be seen on the Paignton Sailing Club website.