Starcross Steamer Report

Starcross Steamer Results

Fireballs represented by Colin Jarvis / Derek Jarvis, Anthony Wilcocks / James Wilcocks & Alex Shaw / Jo Line all from Portishead Y & SC. Colin and Derek were best placed in nine overall.

Full Report

Where would be your chosen place to sail, the Caribbean, Greece, Turkey? Well add Starcross on to your list. On Sunday March 13th it could not have looked better for the twentieth running of the annual Starcross Steamer two and a half hour pursuit race. There was spring sunshine, a cloudless sky, a steady moderate northerly wind, the tide coming in and the galley working flat out producing breakfasts for the many visitors who had set off before dawn.

With the ideal wind strength and good tide, a large testing course could be set in the estuary taking in all points of sailing. A beat off the line to the Salmon Pool mark, followed by a beam reach to the main channel, then a run to a mark off Lympstone, a long reach to Castle mark, another run back to the main channel, followed by a second beat back to the line.

No Cadets this year so the first boats on the line were the 6 Toppers, who set off at 10:00, followed 11 minutes later by the only RS Feva. The biggest class again this year were the 13 Lasers, 6 with radial rigs, 5 full rigs and the remainder with the smaller 4.7 sail. Other large turnouts included 7 RS200s, 10 each of Phantoms and Merlins, 7 RS400s, 4 Comet Trios, 3 each of Fireballs, Ospreys, B14s and Solos. Debuts this year were from the K1 class and a Blaze Halo. Great looking boat shame the kicking strap wasn’t a bit stronger! By the end of the start sequence some 93 boats were racing, up by almost a third on last year’s turnout.

A number of casualties soon came back to the shore with gear failure. This was probably the first start of the year for many, so working on the maxim “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” was not a good idea as the lack of maintenance over the winter caught them out. Perhaps a better saying would be “it will beak if you don’t maintain it”

Greg Bartlett in his Topper, managed to keep ahead of the chasing pack for the first two laps and with the wind easing slightly, many hoped that it would be a Topper’s day. Sadly by the middle of the third lap he was caught by Jamie Lea in his Solo. By the end of round 4 the Merlin Rocket of Richard Whitworth and Olly Turner swept into the lead hoping to gain sufficient time on the chasing faster boats. By mid race the wind swung slightly to the west, making the long reach tight enough that the faster boats were unable to carry their larger spinnakers, giving a definite advantage to the single handers and Merlins.

Towards the end of the race it was apparent that it was going to be a Merlin day, filling the top two places, first was the Whitworth/Turner partnership, then Richard Dee and Chris Gould, followed b y previous winner Simon Heusen, just inches ahead of a K1 sailed by Simon Hawkes. The ability to set a varied course which did not favour any particular sail plan, enabled a good mix of classes to come to the front. In the first 16 finishers there were 13 different classes proving that handicapping does work.

Thanks as always must go to the competitors who travel to Starcross every year to make the event so memorable, the galley for producing vast quantities of hot food and drink, the rescue boat crews from the home club, plus crews from Exe and Lympstone Sailing clubs and not forgetting the multihull fleet who organize and man the event. We must also thank Foto Boat for taking some cracking shots of the event this year. One camera was based on shore and another in the Exe safety boat so all the action, both good and embarrassing, has been recorded. See them at .The planning has already started for next year’s Steamer; we look forward to welcoming both old and new faces to the event.



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