Shoreham Open 2007Real Sea Sailing!
41 Merlin Rockets arrived at Shoreham on Sat 27th July to sunshine, waves and a gusty breeze of 18 – 25 knots. With two races scheduled, the competitors bravely sailed out the harbour mouth into waves many of the crews had never experienced before. The first race got away quickly and the battle up the mile and a half long beat began. With the tide underneath them the fleet soon approached the windward mark with locals Will Warren & Chris Robinson rounding first, closely followed by a gang of boats including Roger Gilbert, Dave Dobrijevic, Glen Truswell and Dave Winder.
With the conditions being so extreme racing became secondary and survival techniques came into play with all the crews well behind the mainsheet hoop downwind, and capsizes were rife throughout the fleet. Halfway through the race all the top positions had changed after many of the leaders had taken swims in waves that were approaching mast high. By the last lap it was Dave & Rachel Dobrijevic in the lead with Roger Gilbert & James Stewart in second place, and Glen Truswell & Paul Davies in third.
22 of the 41 starters retired from the first race with gear failure, four boats had broken goosenecks and one boat a mast that was broken in three places. The rescue boats all did a marvellous job with one club member actually diving into the sea to rescue Mark Smythe and Kelly Miller when they got into a spot of bother! A good job well done.
Only a handful of boats finished the second race, which was led from start to finish by Roger & James who were delighted to see a shortened course flag appear down the penultimate set of reaches.
All finishers of the second race blasted into the harbour mouth to the welcoming sight of club members helping with recovery and trolleys. Saturday night’s festivities were up to their usual high standard, plenty of beer, music, a fantastic curry and the annual egg catching competition. This year’s egg throwing championship goes to sibling team Andy Harris and Sarah Warren – obviously all that childhood training has paid off! Into the night discussions over the size of the waves took place over many pints of Doombar in the clubhouse.
What a difference a day makes! Sunday dawned bright and clear with plenty of sunshine which put a smile on everyone’s faces, especially those who had been camping in the rain the night before. A gentle Northerly breeze was blowing off the land, and with two races scheduled to start at 11am, everyone got out early. Racing was postponed for a short while to see if the 30 degree wind shifts might settle but eventually racing got underway after two general recalls. Mark Smythe in 3668 rounded the windward mark first with Roger Gilbert, John Bell and Dave Dobrijevic in hot pursuit.
By the finish Dave Winder & Pippa Taylor had secured first, with Richard Whitworth & Ellie Bremer second, and Dave & Rachel Dobrijevic third.
The final race got away after yet another black flag general recall. The left side paid and Roger Gilbert was first to the windward mark, with John Bell & Graham Williamson just behind, and then Dave & Rachel Dobrijevic, who managed to get past John and GGGGG on the reach to take second. These top three places were held to the finish.
Overall, Shoreham SC gave a wholly enjoyable weekends racing for everyone onshore and on the water; memories of surfing those monster waves in winds gusting over 25 knots will be around forever, it was real sea sailing at its best.
Report: Rachel Dobrijevic
Photos: Warwick Baker
More photos from Warwick
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