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Laser Open ad Dittisham SC

On a quite beautiful sunny Sunday, a small host of local Laser sailors were delighted to be joined by a squadron of Torpoint Mosquito Lasers who had flown in for the day to enjoy the idyllic sailing waters of Dittisham, a hearty mid-racing pasty lunch, splendid post-match cream tea, before buzzing off with most of the prizes.

It would have been nice if the wind had been a couple of notches higher up the Beaufort Scale, but everything else was ideal – a weak neap tide to not hinder the unwary too much; a moderate sea breeze coming in as everyone was rigging on the foreshore; and a compact yet testing figure-of-eight course set by the Race Office, James Dodd and his team. Having a load of Solo sailors as part of the joint open meeting also added to the spectacle, if not (for some) the enjoyment – see later.

While it was lovely for the locals to welcome our visitors from Torpoint, it was a tad disconcerting to note their youthfulness, and beautifully clean boats and crinkly sails as they set up on the beach. Not attributes we are terribly used to at DSC!

Local fears were realised immediately as Jamie Watts (Torpoint Mosquito) whizzed into a commanding lead straight off the start line, never to be headed for the three rather turgidly paced laps, with his club colleague Steve Roberts taking an equally convincing second. Bevis Wright and Steven Black followed them in third and fourth for the home club, but not particularly closely. Indeed, the two winners from Torpoint were the only members of the Laser fleet not to suffer the indignity of being overtaken by most of the allegedly slower Solo fleet, who had started off 5 minutes behind! There is something to be said for having fully-battened mains in very light weather. And some interesting things were said...

Race 2 started in very similar wind and tidal conditions, but something strangely dissimilar occurred – Steven Black and Martin Ely (both Dittisham) must have used some kind of local knowledge of which they were unaware to sneak into the first mark from the left-hand side of the beat ahead of everyone else. Even more unexpectedly, they managed to keep ahead for all three laps, with Martin overtaking to Steven to take the lead at the second mark, and then sailing superbly to take the win, even though our illustrious visitors were bearing down ever closer over the closing legs, with Jamie Watts and Steve Roberts finishing third and fourth.

Over lunchtime pasties, it was rather galling for the locals to find out that some of the Mosquitos had misread the tide completely (being under the impression that the sea was in the direction of Totnes), and yet still led the series. Rather sillily, someone helpfully put them right, and further explained about the sea breeze coming overland from the sea in Torbay, and not over the water from the sea in Dart Bay.

Unsurprisingly, armed with this useful information, normal service was resumed for the final race, with Watts and Roberts roaring off into the lead again to ensure that all the major silverware went to over the border into Cornwall. Paul Green and Craig Franklin upheld the honour of DSC coming in third and fourth.

So Jamie Watts was first with two firsts and Steve Roberts second with two seconds making it a very worthwhile sortie into Devon for the Torbay Mosquito boys, who were very gracious in victory, politely thanking Dittisham Sailing Club for the lovely sailing, lovely weather, well run races, splendid lunch & tea, and apologising for winning all the prizes.

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