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07/10/2018
Broadstairs Open Broadstairs Sailing Club

Report by Rupert Smith

Wind at the race box was reading 16 knots northerly with gusts up to 20 knots, and the wind over tide was kicking up some pretty big waves.  After a short delay to let everyone get ready, seven Streakers ventured out of the harbour for starboard hand triangular course.  It was soon clear that the wind was nearer 20 knots gusting 25, and the waves were very intimidating.  By the warning signal all but three boats had sensibly returned ashore.

Race 1 saw Doug Horner leading up the first beat followed by Rupert Smith and local Ceri Thomas.  At the gybe mark Doug tacked round but still took a capsize, leaving Rupert to tack and get away with it.  Ceri went for the gybe but dumped it in.  There followed the most incredible downwind leg, with big gusts and even bigger waves.  As an example, Rupert caught a gust that launched him over the wave in front to disappear down a mast height trough.  The boat accelerated to well over 20 knots with no power in the sail and the spray slamming on the bottom of the hull like a snare drum.  The race was shortened to 2 laps, with only Rupert and Ceri finishing.

Race 2 was thought to be in doubt by Rupert who went back to the harbour.  Ceri had other thoughts and Rupert returned when hearing the warning signal.  The wind had eased only a little and both boats struggled, but with a little comfort of one patrol boat each keeping an eye on them.  Rupert reached the gybe mark first and went for the safety of a tack, while Ceri pulled off the gybe and by the end of the leg only a couple of lengths separated them.  Ceri took the left-hand side of the beat with Rupert opting for the seaward side.  Ceri took a tumble on the beat leaving Rupert to survive until the finish after two laps.

Race 3, and Ceri was determined to show the visitors what Broadstairs sailors are made of, so Rupert joined him again for the final race.  Ceri had problems on the first beat, and the race was finished after one lap with Rupert first and Ceri making it across the line shortly after.

Thanks to Broadstairs SC for putting on the event at short notice and for having the courage to let a couple of nutters play in the really challenging conditions.  Don’t let anyone say the Streaker is not a sea boat.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be in those conditions in anything else. There is a fine line between ‘awesome’ and ‘batshitcrazy’.  This line may have been crossed a few times at Broadstairs!

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