Supernova Sea Championships – Exe SC


All Photos by Rosey Davies

Day 1 by Alistair Glen

Forty Four Supernovas have descended on Exe SC for the 2017 Supernova Sea Championships in response to the promise of wind, waves and….dolphins! With a forecast of 10-12knots and gusts in the 20s everything was in place for competitors to put into practice some of the lessons from the previous day’s, Association-funded, training session, ably administered and ring-mastered by Ross Harvey.

The first race started in about 12knots of SSW’ly breeze and with the fleet making a clean getaway at the first time of asking, it was local sailor and reigning National Champion, Iain Horlock, who was establishing the first leg of what promised to be an ‘horizon-job’ after taking the inshore option on the first beat. He was followed at a respectful distance by an array of the usual suspects, Gav Young (Cotswold), Cliff Miliner (Cotswold), Mike Gibson (Bartley), et al., along with James Gerwat (Felpham) who’d had a cracking first leg. As the leaders rounded the leeward mark for the final time the wind made a significant lurch to the right that which dragged Young and Miliner above the isolated Horlock. This allowed Miliner to take a, perhaps, previously unexpected win followed by Young with a gently fuming Horlock in third.

The frequent dark clouds passing through the race area caused a series of ‘un-ignorable’ (is that a word?) windshifts that made PRO, Mike Way’s, task less than straightforward. A relocation of the Committee Boat and a postponed start whilst ‘in sequence’ were finally rewarded with another clean getaway.

The first beat saw the breeze slowly building into the late teens of knots and it was Alistair Glen (Exe) and Gav Young who made the most of the conditions to reach the windward mark ahead of Matt Williams (Cotswold). The increase in wind strength to the lively side of frisky, along with the mounting sea state, gave two cracking reaches with Glen and Young tussling all the way to the leeward mark. The ensuing beat was probably even windier and the already lengthy beat seemed even longer to tiring legs. Glen made the most of a small wind shift to pull out a lead on Young, only to be undone by a brief swim whilst trying to avoid a small fishing boat (oblivious to the race going on around it!) and some crab pot markers. Glen just rounded the windward mark ahead of Young but it was Young who rounded the leeward mark first. So intent were the two leaders that they hadn’t noticed local-hero Horlock, who had somehow clawed himself back from a distinctly average (for him) first beat, and was able to take advantage of a change in wind direction to pop across the opposite end of the line from Young and Glen to take the win. Throughout the fleet there was a lot of close racing, given the conditions, and there will be many tales to tell at the end of the first day. And yes, there were dolphins playing alongside and under one of the boats to pleasure of those who witnessed them.

The top of the overnight leaderboard looks like this: 1st Iain Horlock; 2nd Gav Young; 3rd Alistair Glen.

With the Met Office’s finest predicting 12kn SSE (20kn gusts) for tomorrow I think it’s time for some ibuprofen with a paracetamol chaser!

Day 2 by Cliff Milliner

After a great evening of eating and a little drinking in the club everyone was treated to champion sailing on day 2 of the supernova sea champs at Exe. A sunny, consistent force 3 meant everyone who went out had a great time. The RO did a great job of turning round 4 races on a well set triangle sausage course.

In race 1 Ian hit the front again, but this time was closely followed by the chasing pack of Snell, Young, Milliner, Glen and Gibson. These guys fought hard and kept close to Ian but stayed that order to finish.

Race 2, everyone was finding their legs in a slightly nicer than yesterday swell. Ian again lead the way up the first beat and reach, but didn't have it all his own way as Milliner closed, to challenge at the bottom mark closely followed by Snell and Gibson. It was tight up the next beat, but Ian held his lead to take the win followed my Milliner and Snell.

Race 3, the leaders came from the pin end of the start tacking onto port and crossing the fleet. Ian's upwind speed meant he lead again, but this time Milliner managed to close the gap going low on the reach to round the bottom mark just in front, closely followed by local Exe sailor and Master, Glen. Milliner marked Ian closely up the final beat, to make sure he held the lead to the finish with Young pulling into 3rd.

Race 4, for a change the RO set a gate start lead by Gibson. Most of the front runners went early and struggled to cross the fleet, but Snell started late and nipped into second at the top mark, following once again Ian. There was a tight group of the usual suspects hot on their heals but this time the Williams brother Matt and Chris were in the hunt as well. Ian hung on to take another win, from Snell, Glen and Matt Williams.

Ian Horlock convincingly won the event with four 1st and a 2nd showing upwind speed most of us can only dream about. Milliner piped Snell for second by 1 point. Chris Williams in 7th won the silver fleet. Glen in 5th was first Master. Steve Mitchel first Veteran. Jonny Everett first M1, and Serena Stewardson in 30th was First Lady.

Exe put on a great spread of cakes to end the day on a sunny balcony, big thanks to all at Exe who looked after us very well!

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