Variety the spice of life for Hastings and St Leonards sailors

The past two weeks have seen an increase in the amount and types of sailing activity at Hastings & St Leonards Sailing Club.

Sunday, 12th September 2021, 9:30 am
Toppers racing in a good breeze in the Topper Open / Photo by David Caffrey

The past two weeks have seen an increase in the amount and types of sailing activity at Hastings & St Leonards Sailing Club.

The club’s annual Sea Week began with sailing a Drascombe Lugger from Rye to Hastings. Owned by club members Richard and Sue Morley, the voyage took a little under four hours with a following breeze from its mooring in Rye, down river and along the coast.

The Lugger was used in a sail away event during the week when around 20 members sailed in a variety of boats from St Leonards on Sea to Hastings Old Town.

Stuart Labbett, winner of the best placed Hastings novice trophy / Picture: Philip Blurton

Sailors came ashore for refreshments before returning in warm sunshine and another good breeze. Informal sailing took place on the following days before the club hosted an International Laser Class Association (ILCA) opening meeting on Saturday of the bank holiday weekend.

Winds were north north-easterly, force four to five in the morning, increasing force five to six by the final race of the afternoon.

The course was set half a mile offshore to avoid flukey conditions that are created close to shore in northerly winds.

Even with relatively consistent winds further out, the conditions were challenging and by the last race only six of the 13-strong fleet had completed all four races. Sudden gusts unseated a few on the run, and the physical strength and sailing technique to stay close hauled up a long beat in four races, took its toll on many of the competitors.

The overall event winner was Jon Emmett from Weymouth, who won all four races. Local sailor Hugh Ashford was first in the Laser Radial class and also best placed Hastings boat in the competition, coming fourth overall.

Stuart Labbett and Daniel Brittain won the trophy for first novice Hastings sailor and first Laser 4.7 respectively.

The youngest sailor trophy went to 16-year-old Michael Tanner from Pevensey Bay SC. The following Saturday the club hosted a Topper Open Meeting. Victory went to Edwin Cross from Shoreham and Island Barn sailing clubs.

Best placed Hastings sailor was Daniel Brittain. Two Sunday’s of racing have also been completed in the club’s autumn series.

Hugh Ashford leads in the Laser fleet, Maurice and Janey Nash (Dart 16) in the catamaran fleet, and Philip and Margaret Blurton (Tasar) in the General Handicap Fleet.

A 90-minute pursuit race on bank holiday Monday was won by Hugh Ashford in a Laser Radial.

Commodore Philip Blurton said: “It has been a full two weeks of many different types of sailing activity, from relaxed and informal to full-on open meeting racing. My thanks to everyone who has played a part, especially our Sailing Committee, led by vice commodore Melanie Clark, and our sailing secretary, Michael Dickie; they have done us proud.”