Sailing: Welton ride the waves at Bewl Water regatta
14th June 2019
DRAMATIC weather conditions dominated the second Heron Open regatta at Bewl Water.
A single home boat was joined by seven visitors: four from Chipstead Sailing Club in Sevenoaks, one from West Kirby on Merseyside and two Yorkshire boats, from Yeadon near Leeds and Welton near Hull.
The boats were rigged in bright sunshine and sailed out in a gentle breeze. Race Officer Colin Nutt set a trapezoid course, making full use of the large expanse of water.
Clouds bubbled up from the north just before the first start and soon heavy rain poured down. Squally winds made the blue rippled water look like an angry sea.
The sharp rise in wind meant visibility was almost zero for the first windward leg.
The fleet sailed on, and by the second lap the storm had passed and the sun returned.
Welton’s Dave Butler and Emily Clixby quickly established a lead and went on to win the race.
They were followed by Mike and Anne De St Paer of West Kirby, then Jon and Verna Hunt from Chipstead.
The second race was started rapidly and, after a good start, the crew from West Kirby again took the lead.
In slightly calmer conditions the racing was closer and, on the run toward the leeward mark, five boats were abreast for much of the leg, three with spinnakers and two using whisker poles for their genoas.
Dave and Emily held on to win again, while the De St Paers eventually pulled ahead of the field into second place, with Tony Dufton of Yeadon in third.
The third race started much as the first with a sudden storm but this time it was short-lived and the whole fleet became totally becalmed on the windward leg of the second lap.
The Race Officer finished the race using the times recorded at the end of the first lap, and Dave and Emily secured a hat-trick of wins in their new boat.
James Russ and Maggie Bolton benefited from their switch to a smaller jib to take second place for Chipstead, followed by Tony in third.
Chris Hough, Vice Commodore of Bewl Sailing Association, presented the trophy to Dave and Emily, while Mike and Anne were second and Tony coming third, sailing single-handed.