There were plenty of thrills and spills for the helms and crew of the 31 boats that took part in this year’s TCYC Coombe Cellars Dinghy Regatta which was sailed over the weekend of 14th/15th September.

Day 1

As usual with a northerly forecast, the wind over the River Teign on Saturday afternoon regularly shifted through 90 degrees which meant setting a fair course was made very difficult for our National Race Officer Don Harrison and his team. However, the beat set from Archbrook up to Red Rock worked well and the results on the day proved that skill rather than luck was the dominant factor. With very strong to gale force southwesterly winds forecast for the Sunday the decision was taken to sail three of the scheduled five races on the Saturday rather than the usual two.

First away was the Slow Handicap fleet which was made up of 8 local Solos. Races one and two were led almost start to finish by Solo national coach Simon Jones. Ralph Weller scored a couple of second places with Peter Hearne and Graham Tapper taking a third place each. Race three proved much more closely fought and Graham looked set to take the win but a penalty turn for touching the windward mark let Simon through to make it three wins out of three.

A good mix of 13 single and double handers made up the very competitive Fast Handicap fleet. However, longstanding TCYC member Grant Simmons, sailing his Finn on the river for the first time in over five years, showed that he had lost none of his local skills and knowledge by taking first place in all three of the days races. Dave Whittle and Hannah Radbourne, visitors from Paignton Sailing Club, were quick to get their Albacore up to speed on their maiden outing on the river and scored two second places. The other runner up spot went to Neil Spacagna and Anne Panther (Taser) from Babbacombe Sailing Club. New TCYC members Scott and Liz Hampton sailed consistently well in their Enterprise and recorded three third places overall.

We were delighted to see 10 of our Cadet sailors on the start line to contest the Junior Trophy. Although sailing a slightly shorter course only one boat failed to complete all of the day’s races in these very tricky conditions. Kieran Fuller (Laser 4.7) sailed very well to take the first race ahead of the much more experienced Ben Flower (Laser Std) and Anna Karakusevic (Laser Radial). However, Ben’s race craft showed in the next races with him scoring two firsts to end the day in top spot. Second overall was Kieran who managed further second and third place finishes. Anna rounded off the top three with 10 points.

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Day 2

As forecast, the very strong southwesterly winds had duly arrived at Coombe Cellars by Sunday lunchtime. Don Harrison, the Race Officer, took to the water in the RIB and returned to report that wind speeds out on the river were consistently in the mid twenties mph with some nasty gusts well in excess of that. With some caution the decision was made to go ahead with the days racing but initially without the Cadet/Junior fleet.

With Simon Jones having already done enough to win the Slow Fleet Handicap trophy, only three Solos took to the water and white horses to contest the minor placings. In the first race of the day Peter Hearne was wiped out on the first reach and Dave Northcott sailed the wrong course leaving Graham Tapper to take the win unchallenged. Race two was much more completive but Graham’s superior heavy weather sailing skills meant another race win for him with Peter just edging out David on the line to take second place.

Slow Handicap Overall Result

First       Simon Jones (Solo 5462)                                3 points

Second   Graham Tapper (Solo 5008)                         4 points

Third      Peter Hearne (Solo 4982)                             9 points

For the full Slow Handicap results Click Here

The Fast Fleet, especially those boats flying spinnakers and isometrics, enjoyed some great heavy weather sailing and put on a fantastic display for the spectators watching from the shore.  There were numerous capsizes but the only real incident attended to by a Safety boat was a broken boom suffered by one of the Tasers. The Laser 2000 sailed by Sasha and Carlie Karakusevic relished the fast reaching conditions and finished the day with two first places. Neil Spacagna (Taser) and Mike Commander (Laser) finished second and third respectively in race one with Grant Simmons (Finn) and Eddie Holden (K1) taking the minor placings in race two.

Fast Handicap Overall Result

First        Grant Simmons (Finn)                                 3 points

Second    Sasha Karakusevic (Laser 2000)                 7 points

Third      Neil Specagna (Taser)                                8 points

For the full Fast Handicap results Click Here

It was especially pleasing that the conditions eased somewhat during the afternoon which allowed the very keen (and vocal!) Cadet fleet to take to the water and run two short races to complete their race schedule. Again, they all coped extremely well with the testing conditions and no matter how many times they capsized it appeared to do little to dampen their enthusiasm to carry on. Ben Flower (Laser Std) was best able to manage the strong winds and won the first race ahead Kieran Fuller (Laser 4.7) and Darcy Bowser (Topper). However, Kieran went one better in race two to take the win. Ben had to settle for second place after gear failure at the start had put him to the back of the fleet. Young Archie Miles sailed his RS Tera exceptionally well to finish in third place.

Cadet Fleet Overall Result

 First        Ben Flower (Laser Std)                             3 points

Second    Kieran Fuller (Laser 4.7)                          4 points

Third      Anna Karakusevic (Laser Radial)               10 points

Best Improver    Archie Miles (RS Tera)

Best Capsize       Jake Peat (Laser 4.7)

For the full Cadet results Click Here

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Many thanks on behalf of the competitors to all those who volunteered to undertake a full range of duties over the two days. Especially to Don Harrison and his recorders, Kim and Andy Braund, who spent a number of hours out on the Committee boat in the wind and rain! Also to Liz Wilson and Becky Flower who took over the Cadet race management responsibilities on the Sunday. This was very much appreciated by all of the youngsters who, by the sound of the post race banter, had the time of the lives and made this year’s Regatta quite special.

Finally, our thanks to our Rear Commodore (Dinghies), Ray Potter, who organized and oversaw a very successful event and also to Maggie Potter who did a great job in efficiently number crunching the results.