WILD AND WET AT DARTMOOR.
With an exceptionally bad weather forecast which resulted in major events being cancelled
in the South West of England some wondered whether Round 11 of the TT for the DF65 go
ahead? I am happy to report that it did after the Race Team at Dartmoor could see the wind
direction would provide a window of opportunity to carry on racing on Shaugh lake. Without
doubt though conditions were extreme, particularly on the Friday afternoon when it
required a major effort by the boat crew to pre -set course buoys on the lake for the
following day. All thoughts on providing additional covered areas for the competitors and
race team against the elements were quickly discounted as being, very unsafe!
Race Day – The experienced race team led by Peter Cropper and Paul Newman got racing
under way on time with the fleet of 16 boats lining up on ‘C ‘ rigs. The lake looked grey and
turned ominously black as the gusts went from 20 mph to over 30 at times. Helms not used
to the ‘C’ rig or racing in heavy weather soon found themselves wanting, as John
Tushingham (51) showed his experience to lead the fleet home in 3 of the first 4 races. After
the first break in which many adjusted their rigs the next 4 races saw Derek Priestley (67)
put in two first places and it became a battle between 51 and 67 for line honours. Nigel
Brown (55) who was chasing hard raced consistently and posted a trio of thirds. The fleet
came ashore for lunch at just the right time as the lake turned white and the heavens
opened. A hasty retreat was made by everyone to the main shed and cars and even the side
of the RC yachts van was used by some who sought shelter.
After the squall had gone through the lake for a while looked quite calm but soon the wind
and the lake chop returned just as racing resumed. The results in the next four races were a
bit different with Derek Priestley slipping a little which allowed Peter Baldwin (63) to
challenge John Tushingham for the lead in two races. Further down the fleet there were
many instances of failed tacks and some contact’s, but considering the conditions it was
hardly surprising. For those watching from the lakeside it was fun to watch and even
members of the Race team remarked as to how well the boats coped with the conditions.
Races 12 – 16 saw a repeat of form for the two leading boats as John Tushingham’s
dominant form continued over Derek Priestley. After being mid fleet for most of the day
local helm Richard Wills(52) finally got the hang of things to post a 2nd and 3
At the prize giving it was John Tushingham who was presented with the winner’s trophy by
Tom Eaves the commodore of D.M.B.C with Derek Priestley in second place and a consistent
scoring Peter Baldwin in third.
The Club enjoyed hosting the event and hopes to see the Df 65’s back again in the future.
Dartmoor is Dartmoor rugged and wild at times but it does get sun and light winds,
sometimes. Maybe next time.
Steve Watts (Dartmoor race team)