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News / Starcross Steamer Report

With the rest of the country shivering in temperatures of well under zero and deep snow, the little snow that lay at Starcross had disappeared and with the temperature hovering around the plus side of zero it was decided to go ahead with the 21st Starcross Steamer. It is said that you have to be a little mad to go sailing in the winter in the UK, but 76 boats proved that we Brits are up for a challenge no matter how extreme the conditions.

The weather forecast for the weekend was changing day by day. First of all we thought we would get blown off but as the week progressed the predicted wind became lighter and lighter. On the day, a light breeze blew from the north east at about 5 knots, forecasted to get even lighter. So the course was set, following the channel to help the visitors avoid our many shallows.

Due to the increasing popularity of the Steamer and to avoid the club being swamped, this year we limited the entry to 110 boats. This limit was reached over two weeks before the event, so a waiting list was established to fill any spaces that became available. In the end, everyone on the waiting list was able to race if they could get to the club. Due to the adverse weather conditions further north and east and with the prediction of more snow for the South East, many boats decided at the last moment it was safer not to travel. So to get 76 boats actually on the water, just under half of which were visitors, can be considered a triumph.

Last year we decided to use the SailJuice handicap numbers as they closely mirrored the analysis of our own numbers. It was a resounding success then and from the results this year with 9 different classes filling the first 10 spaces it must be considered the correct numbers to use.

The Steamer got underway at 11:00, but with the Mirror unfortunately snow bound in Poole, the first boats to start were the Toppers of James Ripley and Eddie Attenburrow, who had the best wind of the day. Following on, eleven minutes and fifteen minutes later respectively were the sole RS Feva and Streaker. Next to start were the five Laser Radials followed by the joint largest fleet of the day: The ten Lasers. Later the other classes including the larger fleets of 7 RS200s, 5 RS100s, 10 Merlin Rockets, 8 RS400s and 3 Ospreys took to the water. Special mention should be made of the efforts of the lads from RNAS Culdrose, who started their journey at a very early hour in Cornwall, trailing their 4 Laser 2000s. They have loyally supported the Steamer for many years and we look forward to seeing them again next year.

I am embarrassed to say that two boats managed to capsize, the RS400 of Alistair and Moira Glen and the Laser of Nishok Love, who are all Starcross members. How they managed to do it nobody knows, maybe they were too enthusiastic with their roll tacking, perhaps they need a little (sorry, a lot) of coaching. I'm sure it's not something they will be bringing up in conversation at the bar, unless of course someone else is buying the drinks.

The two Toppers took advantage of the earlier wind and passed through the start line before the sole 49er had started at 12:15. It was looking good for them, keeping a good advantage over the chasing Streaker of Dave Bartlett.

Slowly with the wind getting lighter and shifting, large gains were made by some and even larger losses made by others. It was also coming in bands, alternatively favouring different side of the course.

With the ebbing tide increasing in strength, together with the decreasing wind, all the boats ended up at one end of the course trying to avoid being swept down river to Exmouth. At the end of the race at 1:30, over 50 boats were on one leg of the course either stationary or going backwards making finishing a nightmare. First by less than 14 feet was the Merlin Rocket of Mike and Jane Calvert, second the Phantom of Sam Barker who also won the first single hander and first junior prizes. Third to finish was Russ Gibbs and Megan Baker in a borrowed boat who were also the first from the home club.

The furthest travelled boat this year came all the way from Rutland, we just hope that Jon Williams managed to get home safely, see you next year Jon.

It takes a vast effort to put on the Steamer every year, so my thanks go the galley for producing vast quantities of hot food and drink, the rescue boat crews from the home club, plus crews from Topsham, Exe and Lympstone Sailing clubs and not forgetting the multihull fleet from the club who organize and man the event. In total about 60 people on the day are required both on and off the water to support the event, the bad news is we do it all again next year. Thank you also to the competitors who travel to Starcross every year to make the event so memorable.

Some cracking shots have been taken by Fotoboat who was based on the Exe rib this year. See them at

Next year's Steamer will be on Sunday 23rd February 2014, with the first start at 11:00. Planning has already started and we look forward to welcoming both old and new faces to the event. A full list of the winners can be seen at the Starcross Yacht Club web site www.starcrossyc/


Overall Results:

1st Lady - Tina Mackie
1st Junior - Sam Barker
1st Starcross boat - Russ Gibbs and Megan Baker


1 Merlin 3691 Mike Calvert / Jane Calvert 1
2 Phantom 55 Sam Barker 1
3 RS200 960 Russ Gibbs / Megan Baker 1
4 Comet Trio 472 Andrew McAusland / Caroline McAusland 1
5 RS400 411 Richard Cain / Barney Bearsley 1
6 Fireball 14708 Colin Jarvis / Derek Jarvis 1
7 Albacore 8128 J Rook / P Morton 1
8 Osprey 1318 Simon Hawkes / Ben Hawkes 1
9 Phantom 1383 Nick Orman 1
10 RS100 ‑ 8.4 124 Garry Phare 1
11 RS400 1264 Olly Greenslade / Andrew Gladstone 1
12 Laser 2000 218 James Taylor / C Kerry 1
13 Merlin 3580 Mike Mackie / Roger Nuttall 1
14 Laser 184310 Will Greenslade 1
15 Hornet 2108 Will McGrath / Sam Woolner 1
16 Merlin 3711 Dave Lee / Juliet Pealing 1
17 Laser 180680 Martin Gibson 1
18 Merlin 3656 Olly Turner / Clare Boston 1
19 B14 764 Tony Blackmore / Charlotte Jones 1
20 RS400 1287 James Bowman / Sarah Roberts 1
21 RS200 1477 Mark Elkington / Martyn Stubbs 1
22 RS400 1238 Ralph Wogan / Jack Eyre 1
23 Laser Radial 197782 Chris Jones 1
24 RS200 472 Ian Mills / Claire Mills 1
25 Laser 204121 Mike Kinnear 1
26 Streaker 1776 David Bartlett 1
27 Osprey 552 Mike Pickering / Mike Priddle 1
28 B14 GBR 7 Crispin Taylor / Guy Harrill 1
29 Laser Radial 186827 Theo Greenslade 1
30 RS200 385 Mike Way / Tamzine Middleton 1
31 Finn NED 92 Andy Bartram 1
32 Merlin 3448 Sam Thompson / Clare Thompson 1
33 Blaze Halo 545 Nick Ripley 1
34 Finn 603 Grant Simmons 1
35 RS200 924 Tina Mackie / Ben Fricker 1
36 Laser 201857 Charlie Maunder 1
37 RS100 ‑ 8.4 129 Andrew Collenette 1
38 Laser 184963 Jamie Roberts 1
39 Merlin 3713 Steve Harling / Eleanor Thomas 1
40 Merlin 3473 Vyv Game / Mike Tuckett 1
41 Laser 198873 Andy Muir 1
42 RS400 1328 Alistair Glen / Moira Glen 1
43 Merlin 3721 Nick Turner / Carly Gurr 1
44 Laser 2000 21819 N Roach / A Fitter 1
45 RS400 1059 S Peat / Keith Wheatley 1
46 RS400 619 Nathan Muggeridge / Anita Lecocq 1
47 9ER 1122 Emma Phillips / Jacob Hutchings 1
48 Laser Vago 617 Wilf OKeefe 1
49 Merlin 3626 Andy Hay / Nix Middleton‑Stewart 1
50 Merlin 3628 Robin Charles / Dan Newman 1
DNF Laser 203299 Greg Bartlett 1
DNF Scorpion 2014 Tim Parsons / Alex Hayman 1
DNF Laser 202202 Paul Kelley 1
DNF Topper 47023 Eddie Attenburrow 1
DNF Laser 2000 181 Andy Figgins / M Figgin 1
DNF Topper 45437 James Ripley 1
DNF Laser 2000 2186 Ian Fitter 0
DNF RS200 777 Jennie Fitzjohn / Graham Sykes 1
DNF Wayfarer 4286 Robin Barker / June Barker 1
DNF RS100 ‑ 8.4 268 Simon Greenslade 1
DNF RS200 426 Robin Barker / Ellie Geare 1
DNF Laser Radial 77634 Will Maunder 1
DNF Laser Radial 184736 Alec Gladstone 0
DNF Lark 2411 Chris Whitehouse / Elena Bremer 1
DNF 420 48938 David Herbert / Jessica Herbert 1
DNF 9ER 142 Chris Tilbrook / Carys Roberts 0
DNF Laser 184963 Jamie Roberts 0
DNF Comet Trio 368 Nick Webber / Don Blackett 1
DNF Laser 192722 Jon Williams 1
DNF RS400 438 Franco Marenco / Alan Leach 1
DNF RS100 ‑ 8.4 393 Stephen Mcdonald 1
DNF RS100 ‑ 8.4 421 Chris Cunningham 1
DNF RS Feva 49734 Victoria Upton / Anna Broad 0
DNF Osprey 1280 Steve George / Michael Greig 1
DNF Laser Radial 77778 Nishok Love 0
DNF Tasar 2833 Jeremy Hawkins / Suzanne Hawkins 1


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