Exe SC Belle Isle Open Meeting

MJ Gifford - 20th July 2011

There can be fewer prettier stretches of water than the River Exe which bursts with youthful vigour in the depths of Exmoor before flowing like an artery through the vibrant and historic city of Exeter. Where the river really comes into its own is as it turns from a fresh water snake through Devon into a swollen and contented estuary. This estuary runs from Topsham all the way to sea at Exmouth and provides some of the best enclosed sailing water on the South Coast.

While the pleasures of estuary sailing are without doubt among the most complex and scintillating in all of mankindís experience there is another facet to what Exe SC has to offer to the dedicated follower of waterborne delights. If instead of turning right off the golden beach at the club you turn left then you find yourself on one of the classic championship race-courses. The bay at Exmouth is the Eastern end of that which provided the Larks with such a glorious Nationals last year (I have a small degree of bias to declare). Conditions here can reach epic proportions with big waves, strong breezes and huge red jellyfish all possible at this time of year. On a good day you can even bask with the sharks and frolic with the dolphins.

Should all of this waterborne excitement get too much then you will be relieved to know that the club is also a superb host and their idea of tea involves more cake than an afternoon at Buckingham palace! While for simple folk such as myself the day often reaches its peak when Sandra Sydenham produces her delicious chocolate cake, for those more sophisticated types you will be glad to hear that the parties are every bit as wild as the sailing. I can only hope that by the end of the evening certain members of the class have at least some of their clothes still on. Sadly while the club has continued to improve, the physiques of some Lark sailors have seen better days when gravity was a bit less strong.

The plan for the weekend is 3 races back-to-back on Saturday with the first start at 1pm and two on Sunday starting at the very civilised 11am. The entry fee is a snip at only £25.

If you are after advice, enjoy every minute and donít try and take a short cut across the bar after racing on Saturday.

For advice regarding convenient accommodation, please follow this link.