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In 2012 Shoreham UK delivered again on their promise of serious sailing for the snipe fleet with a classic event that all competitors will remember forever...

Towing out of the river in no wind we encountered an unexpected swell hiding the boat in front and a full on wind that appeared at the harbour mouth under a big black cloud. From then on a white knuckle adventure ensued with those who spotted the large yellow start mark hiding in the wave troughs having a distinct advantage up the first beat. A 5 knot current ensured that the long beat was over all too quickly and then the downhill ride against the tide commenced! Hiking over the back of my transom.

I saw the first 4 boats capsize at the gybe mark and carefully gybed through the carnage only to realize that the next mark was dead downwind and two more gybes were going to be required ... survival sailing was definitely going to win this race I thought ..but was amazed to see Iain& Ewan cooly hoist their pole and surf into the leeward mark ‘bythelee’ at over 20 knots within meters of Alan & Liz.... 90 minutes and 3 huge laps later the snipe fleet finished with amazingly no breakages and only one black eye. Despite protests from my crew who was up for another race (I think she could not see what was happening:) we all headed to the beach for an early trip to the local beer festival where the carnage continued..

Later in the day an unexpected visitor to Shoreham sailing club joined us to celebrate her diamond jubilee and to play giant ‘pick up sticks’ . Her majesty excelled at pickup sticks but was not amused when we tried to press gang her to go snipe sailing on Sunday morning...

The wind continued into day 2 but switched offshore allowing the sea to relax a little for race 2.. nonetheless the first start saw a number of competitors inspecting their centreboards.. At the finish Iain & Ewan managed to reverse yesterdays pecking order with a first followed very closely by Alan & Liz. In third was Ian Gregory with crew Jake in only his 5th outing in a dinghy – a real baptism of fire.

The wind abated further in race 3 before finally disappearing at the final leeward mark giving us some heart stopping moments defending our hard earned lead into the finish gate..

After 3 races Alan & Liz were overall victors. The weekend was a showcase for Shoreham Sailing Club who put on a highly professional event on and off the water and demonstrated again what a superb seaboat the modern snipe is.

On water action courtesy of Warwick Baker, many more can be seen at:

HelmCrewClubBoat NoR1R2R3PointsPosition 
Alan Williams Liz Pike Blue Circle 30316 075 2 2 2.75 1
Iain Marshall Ewan Harris Blackwater 29501 2 0.75 4 2.75 2
Andy Gibson Carol Gibson Hythe & Saltwood 29374 3 4 0.75 3.75 3
Richard Marshall Graham Hoy Blackwater 29970 4 6 3 7 4
Ian Gregory Jake Stevens   28451 5 3 7 8 5
Ian Knight Caroline Williams Shoreham 29164 DNF 5 5 10 6
Brian Gregory Cécile Gregory Blue Circle 30315 DNC 7 6 13 7
Sue Roberts Steve Roberts Blue Circle 29611 DNF DNF DNC 15 8

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