Saturday the 11th July saw a slightly fragmented Devoti D-Zero fleet descend on the small Victorian Sea-Side town of Clevedon. For those who have not yet enjoyed the foibles of Severn Estuary/Bristol Channel sailing. It’s a real gem of a club offering some fantastic sailing and a warm friendly atmosphere.
Most of the fleet arrived early, with tide times allowing for a small lie in…Sadly our roving reporter left it a little late and paid for his mistake getting caught in the usual M5 caravan carpark (he should know better given his office is in Bristol) Lateness was starting to become a habit for Hopkins as was demonstrated in 2 of the 3 race starts! Being such a friendly fleet Hopkins jumped straight into the changing rooms whilst others pieced together his boat for him.
Now…Launching and recovery at Clevedon requires a skillset in itself. Luckily the club (as usual) offered a fantastically experienced and friendly beach party, ensuring no issues whatsoever. I must confess to being led astray with ‘Old Sea Dog Yarns’ and tips about sailing at Clevedon, thankfully I had forgotten most of them as in practice it turned out to be a predictable tide and wind pattern.
Conditions lived true to forecast with a fresh 17knts gusting a little more, the murky ‘characteristically’ brown but salty waters of Clevedon also did not disappoint with large waves and breakers making the race tactics more interesting. The D-zero revels in wavy conditions and true to form provided a wild ride, punishing those who had not practiced wave sailing since the nationals. The race officer set a fantastic figure of 8 course around the bay. From the Start Ian Morgan showed his talents sailing in the brine showing the fleet a pair of heals, followed by local sailor Martin Gibson, Dave Valentine and Nigel Austin. Hopkins was left languishing at the back of the fleet, with the onshore breeze and no glasses he could hear no gun or sea no flags!!!! Crossing the start line in last place. Luckily for Hopkins these were the kind of conditions he revelled in and managed to claw his way up the fleet into second place. Morgan was far too good and comfortably led from start to finish. The second race saw Morgan and Hopkins battle it out over the first Lap, with a near capsize at the gybe mark from Hopkins being the breaker. Morgan finished the race in first again followed by Hopkins with Austin tussling with Southwell and Valentine for third. The final race of the day saw a much closer race. Gibson pushed Hopkins over the line, meaning he had to go around the pin end and start a considerable distance from the rest of the fleet. Ian Morgan had the race dialled and completed a hatrick of bullets. The remainder of the fleet had a real battle on. With places changing depending on who caught the waves correctly on the off wind legs. Luckily Hopkins had spotted the switch in tide and went low on the reach, beating others had significantly over stood the mark. He led the remainder of the fleet through to the finish.
1st Ian Morgan (Hill Head SC)
2nd Russ Hopkins (Tewkesbury SC)
3rd Nigel Austin (Cransley SC)
4th Martin Gibson (Clevedon SC)
5th Tom Southwell (Hill Head SC)
6th Dave Valentine (Emsworth Slipper SC)