Lyme RegisAlbacore Southerns”(Sept 15th-16th) – traditional harbour, beautiful Jurassic coast line stretching in both directions, friendly club, warm seas… Oh and the wind blew and the waves grew… what’s not to like?

Driving towards Lyme Regis we noted little movement in the trees. This despite the weather forecast promising good sailing conditions for the weekend. So we approached Lyme with thoughts of oh no it’s going to be yet another 2018 Albacore Open with very light or no winds and cancelled races. 

Arrived just before lunchtime on Saturday, one of the first visitors to arrive, we dropped down through Lyme Regis’s narrow streets, streets lined with Union flags and bunting criss-crossing the road – very nice of Lyme council to welcome us like that... The Sailing Club is situated virtually on the harbour slip way, so plenty of room to set up and launch.

The wind had arrived too, breezy and warm in a balmy way, hazy greyish sky with the sun trying to shine through. Beautiful setting, and the sailing looked like it was going to be good.

Saturday’s conditions- high 20°C wind SSW at 12 mph (10.42) – gentle breeze (beaufort scale 3)… although it seemed more. Small waves that became longer and higher as the afternoon progressed with fairly frequent white horses.

13:00 briefing over, course and race order instructions received, two “back to back” races, the Albacores would start after the Club boats. So at 13:30 fifteen Albacores launched and exited the harbour where it became apparent that what looked like a light chop from the shore was in fact a substantial swell and reasonably strong blow (not sure about that gentle breeze nonsense). 

Both Race 1 and 2 starts got away clean first time; no recalls at Lyme Regis for sure. The swell being of significant size for a “now you see it now you don’t” windward mark. 

Rounding the windward mark saw what turned out to be a bit of a pattern for the weekend’s races with Nev, Jerry and Crispin position at the head of the chasing Albacores. Reaching down to both the wing and leeward marks turned out to be consistently exhilarating planes all weekend? Excellent and challenging sailing conditions, priority one being to stay upright! 

Unfortunately, one boat sustained a broken mast, and Steve Bailey and Beth Smith, the “red boat” to us, capsized on the wing jibe mark. But Beth did manage to retain her sunglasses. 

At times the sun came out. Heading up to the windward mark the sun reflected on the surface like an artist’s picture; magical – hmmm… obviously not concentrating on the race! 

Thankfully, breaking us in gently, only two races for the first day. So we returned to the harbour at low tide, this created some interesting and tricky manoeuvring at the harbour entrance and in most cases swimming boats into shallow water and mud – all part of the fun.  See Things not to mention *!

At the end of Saturday’s racing Nev and Jerry had taken the wins from the two races.

Sunday’s conditions- high 21°C wind SSW at 14.3 (12.42 Kts) mph - moderate constant breeze (beaufort scale 4) – steadily growing waves with fairly frequent white horses.

Rumour had it that the wind would pick up a little on Saturday’s wind but the sea would be flatter- it wasn’t.!

 

11:00 start and three races scheduled. Slight change of course. Both wind and swell having picked up from the previous day’s blow. Sunday was going to be even better…… and/or more challenging!

Starting order was to be Cruisers first, then Club boats then Albacores. The cruisers obviously thought better of it and had a no show. 

Again, all the starts were clean. Lyme sailing club obviously does not do recall’s. Waves were certainly higher and the wind stronger.  The windward mark only being visible when one’s Albacore and the windward mark were cresting a wave at the same time. Beating up to the windward mark boats were cresting the tops of breaking waves – lovely stuff! 

The planes on the reaches all the way from the windward mark to the wing mark jibe and on to the leeward mark were just exhilarating. And surfing down the waves downwind on the sausage legs; was that the Hawaii 5 O theme I could hear? 

Unfortunately, the increased swell and wind did bring casualties with James Kearns’s albacore, Maidenhead sailing club, losing its entire transom and bending his mast - well done James for taking on the weather and hope to see you back for another go.

Sunday’s third and last race, race 5, saw the starting line-up reduced to six Albacores due to breakages, retirements, and tiredness not to mention boat preservation. 

Saturday’s order prevailed with Nev Herbert, Jerry Rook and Crispin Wilson contending line honours.  Jerry Rook, and Jake Stoke, sailing in home waters, took firsts in races 3, and 5, with Nev taking the win in race 4

Race 4 Howard Witt’s crew decided to slip into the water at the windward mark on the last lap, and couldn’t get back in. Mike Banner meanwhile appeared to glide past with his young crew x2 watching and wondering what those old folks were doing in the water. It turned out that Howard had been on a diet the preceding weeks and lost a stone. That stone would have certainly been worthwhile having on board. Howard stick to the lousy diet can you!?

Things not to mention: Howard Witt and David Young, Howard with 50 years of sailing Albacores under his belt, headed out of the harbour on Saturday minus tallies. Red faced and heads held low they headed back to correct their error. 

* Andy [Pearce] the harbour authorities would like to know who put the dent in the harbour wall on Saturday, they think it was a blue hulled Albacore? 

In summary:great sailing weather, five clean starts, exhilarating and exhausting racing - an excellent weekend of sailing. Lyme Regis delivered at the Albacore Southerns!

Finally, congratulations to Jerry for retaining the 'Southerns' trophy and a big thank you to LRSC for an excellent event; great sailing - it doesn’t get any better. 

Seaman Young (aka Dave) for Captain Howard (aka Witt)

Rank

sail no

Helm

Crew

Club

R1

R2

R3

R4

R5

Net

1

8128

Jerry Rook

Jake Stow

LRSC

1

(2)

1

2

1

5

2

6922

Nev Herbert

Mark Fowler

CMM

(3)

1

2

1

2

6

3

6649

Crispin Read Wilson

Fraser Earle

LRSC

2

4

4

3

(DNC)

13

4

8130

Howard Witt

Dave Young

MSC

(8)

5

5

5

3

18

5

8233

Mike Banner

Simon Law & Brandon

L&LSC

6

7

6

4

DNC

23

6

5897

John Greenwood

Nick Greenwood

WKSC

4

3

3

(DNC)

DNC

28

7

7510

Sean Glynn

Jorge Alcover

LRSC

(12)

9

9

8

4

30

8

7525

Andy Pearce

Ian Simpson

MSC

9

8

8

6

DNC

31

9

6504

Steve Bailey

Beth Smith

NSC

10

DNF

10

9

5

34

10

8079

Pete Moreton

Shigeake Takezoe

LRSC

(DNC)

DNC

7

7

6

38

11

8155

Matthew Thompson

Heather Thompson

TSC

5

6

(DNC)

DNC

DNC

47

12

8131

Cameron Moss

Darryl Moss

LRSC

7

(DNS)

DNC

DNC

DNC

61

13

8236

Tim Wadsworth

Rachel Wadsworth

LRSC

11

(DNS)

DNC

DNC

DNC

65

14

7172

Ed Bowie

Rene & Chloe Mansi

LRSC

(DNF)

DNF

DNC

DNC

DNC

72

15

7990

Nick Fairweather

Catherine Turner

SBSC

(DNF)

DNS

DNC

DNC

DNC

72

16

7926

Sally Weale

Matt Weale

SBSC

(DNF)

DNS

DNC

DNC

DNC

72

17

1050

James Kearns

Olga Olsanikova

MSC

(DNC)

DNC

DNF

DNC

DNC

72