SSC News - 2018 Late Summer sailing
SSC News – 2018 - Late Summer sailing at Seasalter.
Our late summer sailing began in August with some spectacular sunset cruises along the Swale, we never tire of the scenery and unspoiled shoreline with abundant wildlife.
Dinghy Regatta day, 12 August was, however, predictably challenging for the intrepid few dinghy sailors. Many others had to be content with watching the action from the shore. The southerly winds of Force 5 and gusts above Force 6 tested the 3 Laser Pico Sport sailors with a single race, enough in the conditions! Dave Oakley, bravely accompanied by son Jamie as crew led the fleet, hotly pursued for the entire race by Dave Adams and Rob Sted-Smith. Other dinghy sailors did launch and sailed close in shore where conditions were better.
Camping week was supported by several families some staying the entire week, other members just sailing when weather was favourable. Members staying took the opportunity to do some strimming and pruning in the boat field allowing more space for members to park their boats. Thanks to Jo, Rob and Steve G, Dave C and several others. Pirate Day, 16 August, with the planned sail to Sheppey was unfortunately impossible due to weather conditions, Sheppey not being visible! The brave few, including a couple of youngsters in a Pico launched and spent an exciting half hour battling challenging westerly waves and a torrential rain squall, bringing visibility down to a few metres, we were closely attended by a supporting patrol boat thanks to Steve L and Caroline.
The Whitstable Cadets had planned to visit SSC again this year on 23 August as a setting off point for their pirate raid to Sheppey. Once again a few SSC sailors with grandchildren and others who had “borrowed” children for the event prepared to sail. We were hoping to join their fleet of 20 boats to beach at Sheppey for a picnic. However, the westerly winds brought choppy seas again and WYC decided that sailing a long distance with so many youngsters in these conditions was unwise. Our young pirates did however take to the high seas for a short sail, thanks to Steve W in the patrol boat for looking after us, the thrill seekers of SSC, keeping well inshore! (We didn’t go to Sheppey!)
The August bank holiday did see more members sailing, although the dinghy fleet especially those with young families are still frustrated by poor sailing conditions.
The Seasalter Classic, a long distance race on 1 September, was sailed this year by 4 Sprint 15s, 3 Dart 18s, 2 Laser dinghies, ( 4.7 and a Pico). A course taking in the Sand End Buoy was set and some exciting close sailing in the cat fleet led to a close finish, with tricky wind changes catching a few at the end. Winners Joan and Steve W on Dart 18 and Judy W Laser 4.7.
The Hurricane 5.9 Nationals were also held on this weekend so Kevin D and Dave O were off to fly the flag for Seasalter yet again! They achieved a healthy 8th place overall, with a 3rd place in 1 of the 9 races held.
The weekend of 8/9 September was a hectic time in the Swale Estuary and along the North Kent coast for the sailing fraternity.
The IOSSC round the Isle of Sheppey race took place on Sunday 9th, won this year by a Dart 18, with 55 craft completing the race.
We at Seasalter launched for our Fowley Island race, with 7 cats and 4 dinghies taking part. The winds were WSW force 4-5, giving a choppy beat to Fowley. By the time we were returning, the estuary was teeming with craft, from small dinghies to large yachts, some coming from Whitstable YC as their annual Forts race was underway, encompassing race legs along the Swale. SSC’s race finished in approximately 2 hours. However, we could still see sailors from Whitstable going towards the Forts and along towards Herne Bay Pier long after we had returned. Rob and Caroline S-S, on their Dart 18 easily beat the 5 Sprint 15s, led by Eric Sales. The dinghy fleet winner was Jason M and son Conrad, followed closely by Judy W and Martin S.
SSC sailors Kevin and Dave on their Tornado, and Johnny B and Karen B on a Dart 18 were taking part in WYC’s Forts race instead. Kev and Dave achieved a win in the Tornado class, completing all 6 legs. They were 6th overall, the winners sailing a Vampire and F18s. The 2 Dart 18’s competing completed 2 legs with ex SSC sailor Robin W narrowly beating SSC’s Johnny B and Karen by 50 seconds. Well done everyone!
More excitement still to come at Seasalter with the Catamaran Regatta on 15 September, pray for wind!