Hastings and Bexhill sailors launch a new season on the seas

Hastings & St Leonards Sailing Club resumed racing on Easter Sunday - and Bexhill sailors are back on the water too.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 3:45 pm
Back on the water at Hastings and St Leonards SC / Picture: Richard Pryce

At H & SL, sailors in 13 boats launched just before midday. The sun came out, the water sparkled and the wind increased steadily from force one to force three over the three-race Easter Trophy competition.

Three members of the club’s leadership team, Commodore Philip Blurton, Vice Commodore,Melanie Clark and Rear Commodore Andy Francis were competing, all of whom had won competitions at the club over recent years and were keen to show their prowess.

A good start in the first race and error-free sailing saw Melanie Clark in a Laser finish first and Andy Francis, also in a Laser, tuck in behind for second.

Philip and Margaret Blurton at Hastings and St Leonards SC / Picture: Richard Pryce

The commodore and his wife Margaret Blurton, in a Tasar, were out of the running order, with third in the first race going to Richard and Sue Morley in a Buzz.

By the start of the second race the wind was nearing force three and had backed more southerly. The extra wind speed favoured other sailors.

Although line honours went to the Blurtons, when handicaps were applied, Hugh Ashford in a Laser had pipped them into second by four seconds and Francis was pushed back to third.

A mistake at a buoy required Clark to take a penalty turn and took her out of the running.

Bexhill sailors are happy to be setting sail again

The wind was up another notch by the start of the third race. Two boats capsized but the full fleet saw out the final race. The Blurtons were first to the windward mark and pulled away on the close reach that ideally suited their Tasar dinghy, allowing them to come up on to the plane and accelerate ahead.

On the broad reach and downwind leg, the Morleys flew their asymmetric spinnaker and made up ground. The Blurtons were seen anxiously looking behind them as the Morleys cut into their lead, but in the end they held on to take first with the Morleys second.

The Blurtons’ win in the final race also meant they had done enough for victory in the competition. Melanie Clark was second overall and Hugh Ashford third.

The commodore said: “It has been a while since Margaret and I have won a competition so I can’t deny that we were very pleased with the result.

“However I was more excited just to see so many sailors out on the water and other club members supporting from the shore. The sailing club is up and running again.”

Bexhill Sailing Club members gathered on Good Friday, Covid compliant, to dust off their boats and gear. Unfortunately the cold northerly wind proved too foreboding for most and as it strengthened it created quite a chunky sea.

Three boats took to the water for potentially two races back to back on the commencement of the Easter Series. Richard Eagleton in his Europe showed he had lost none of his skills during the winter.

Indeed the other Europe on the water, helmed by Lee Roberts, also put in a brave stint, though struggling with a number of capsizes. John Stebbing (Laser Radial) thought he'd got away from Roberts only to find a strong gust tipped him into the water too. His centre board fell through, with the boat upside down and thankfully the RHIB was on hand to render vital assistance.

Saturday and Monday's races did not take place but Sunday saw eight boats take to the water. Young Logan Adam,a cadet in a Topper,sailed very well indeed in challenging conditions. Much of the fleet struggled. Three boats did not finish.

The fast fleet was represented by a wet Tony Witham(Supernova). In the slow fleet Eagleton and Roberts had another Europe 1-2.The Cats saw Simon North in his Sprint 15 able to ride the waves more efficiently than Flo Wright's Dart 16B.

Only one race was run but this was an exciting start to the new season,with strong club member support, much appreciated by all. Roll on next weekend and warmer temperatures. If you're interested in sailing, check the BSC website.