Eventful Racing in Lyme Bay 30th July 2017

The Dartmouth Cannon was raced in testing conditions, a F5 south-westerly which increased through the morning, a big but confused wave pattern to contend with and a selection of courses to suit all classes of dinghies set by race officer Joss Kent. While 15 finished race one, that reduced to 11 for race two and 10 for race three, due to retirements, breakages and multiple capsizes.

Leading the way, with a third in the first race but two subsequent wins, was top Fireball helm Chris Thorne crewed by dad Russell. ‘Strong breeze, occasional steep, breaking waves with messy seas in between, interesting changes of courses and lots happening with capsizes and breakages, all made for great racing,’ Chris commented. He and Russell will represent the club at the forthcoming Fireball European Championships. They have been consistent challengers near the top of the fleet for many years.

The Fireball is well suited to the Lyme conditions, but Pete Thomas in a shorter dinghy found himself stuck in a trough at one point and swept off the stern by a breaking wave. Pete was also nearly hit rounding a mark as another sailor struggled for control, and after multiple capsizes, he had to retire. Sailing well with dad as crew, young Saffron Clark completed all three races, climbing from 8th on the windward/leeward course to 3rd over the triangular course in her 420.

Fraser Earle with Max Helston suffered damage to the decking, while Jake Stowe and Katy Frost in another Albacore came second to Chris Thorne in race two and made 5th in race three. Both Jake and Katie have put in many hours on the water as Merlin crews, gaining invaluable experience.

Overall winner was the Fireball, while Cameron and Darroll Moss, who beat Chris  in race 1, did not complete either of the next two.


Chris and Russell Thorne, left, climb through the fleet sailing upwind to take the Dartmouth Cannon in the three-race series.

Chris helms the Fireball with Russell on the wire, concentrating on every wave.

Photo: Pauline Rook


Dartmouth Cannon
1. Chris and Russell Thorne, Fireball
2. Saffron and Simon Clark, 420
3. Simon Heusen, Phantom
4. Cameron and Darrol Moss, RS 800


Reported by Sally Holman