The Exe Sails Starcross Steamer was the second race in a series of three for the new South West Series; the first was at Roadford the week before the Exe Sails Steamer, the last will be at Wimbleball the week after, with prizes for the overall winner.

This year the Steamer was dry, with a steady North Easterly of about 12 to 15 knots making an ideal breeze for just under 90 competitors on the water.

Over the winter a major refurbishment of the Race Box has been completed and club President Tony Avery declared it officially open. We thank Sport England for a grant to assist us in funding this major event.

At 12 noon the first boat away was a Mirror sailed by Jodie Stephens and Eric Taylor, one of the many regular visitors from Penzance. They had the Exe to themselves for just under half an hour, before 8 Laser Radials set off in pursuit at 12:26.

Just about every minute until 12:57 a class would start. The largest fleet again this year was the Laser with 13 boats, followed by 11 – Merlins, 8 – Laser Radials, 8 – RS 100’s, 6 RS 400’s and 5 – RS 200’s.. The final boat away at 13:03 was the RS 800 from Starcross helmed by Russ Gibbs. The RS 800 gained quickly over the first two rounds but the wind died a little on the third round and their chance evaporated.

At the other end of the fleet, Jodie in the Mirror fended off the chasing pack for the first two hours of the race, but ominously all the boats behind were bunched together and they all swept past her. At the end of the race the Osprey of Terry Curtis and Peter Greig from Weymouth SC and RS 400 of Richard Cain and Barney Dearsly from the home club, pulled ahead of the fleet. Going to the last mark, the Osprey had a slight lead, but at the mark, Richard was able to gain an overlap and call for water allowing the 400 to get in front. He was able to maintain the lead for the few minutes to the finish. Third was another 400 with Bob and Jack Warren from Restronget SC, only 90 seconds behind.

Cllr Anthony Ballinger helped Sam Woolner of Exe Sails and Covers distribute the prizes. The spread of boats in the results this year were greater than ever, with 20 different classes in the first 30 boats, proof that the SailJuice numbers are just about spot on.

After two of the three races in the South West Series, the leaders are Terry Curtis and Peter Greig with 3 points, just one point ahead of Richard Cain and Barney Dearsley, with Bob and Jack Warren third on 10 points. So all eyes will be on the outcome of the last race at Wimbleball reservoir.  In the juniors, Ben Hawkes (ex Osprey sailor) must be favourite with two wins.

The tides allow the Steamer next year to be Sunday 17th January 2016, with the first start at 10:30.

Top 10 Overall Results Starcross Steamer - full results at Starcross YC

Position Class Sail No Helm & Crew Sailing Club
1 RS400 411 Richard Cain & Barney Dearsly Starcross YC
2 Osprey 1281 Terry Curtis & Peter Greig Weymouth SC
3 RS400 727 Bob Warren & Jack Warren Restronguet SC
4 Merlin 3703 Richard Whitworth & Chloe Brennan Parkstone YC
5 National 12 3526 Christian & Sophie Day Salcombe YC
6 Wayfarer 4286 Robin Barker & June Barker Starcross YC
7 RS200 805 Andy Brierley & Larissa Connabeer Royal Torbay YC
8 Merlin 3754 Jon Gorringe & Nicki Bass Parkstone YC
9 D-One 419 Simon Hawkes Wimbleball SC
10 Int Canoe 308 Chris Hampe RPCYC
First Junior        
  Laser Radial 203910 Ben Hawkes Wimbleball SC
First Lady Helm        
  RS200 486 Jayne Johnson Starcross YC

Other Ospreys;
17. Phil Meakins & Peter Frith
42. Ros & David Downs

Webmaster note - ex-Osprey sailors Jon Gorringe in 8th in his Merlin and Simon Hawkes in 9th in his D-One