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Reports & Results


Exmoor Beastie - Wimbleball SC, Exmoor, UK
24/03/2024 - 24/03/2024


The Exmoor Beastie - Wimbleball SC, Exmoor, Sunday 24th March
He has only gone and done it again!

to Luca Mitchell on following up his win at North Devon YC's 'Wrecker' last month with a back to back win at the Exmoor Beastie at Wimbleball SC!  Luca is the first RS Aero to win Exmoor Beastie trophy and finally tame the Beast for the Class since the RS Aero Class became good regular supporters of this event in 2017.

The 26 boat fleet was dominated with good turnouts from nine RS Aeros (eight 7s and one 9) and six K1 keelboats. This pursuit race is a absolute marathon! The slowest boats starting first have a 3 hour race. The RS Aeros started after 21 minutes with just a 1 minute head start on the K1s based on the 'Great Lakes' handicapping. That minute can evaporate very quickly with Wimbleball's challenging breezes!

Conditions were fresh to start with and the downwind start had some excitement with gusts sending the fleet planing towards the infamous Wimbleball Lake high sided narrows. First RS Aero 7 back through the narrows was Luca Michell with Iain Horlock and Peter Barton in hot pursuit. By the end of lap one the RS Aero 7s were up to 2nd with Peter leading Luca after a breezy beat. Luca overtook back again as Peter had a slow exit to the narrows but with a dream shift up the next beat Luca and Peter were back alongside each other as they took the lead from Val Millward's Challenger half way through the race. At this stage with good gusts promoting occasional planing on the first lap the RS Aeros were still holding the K1s at bay.

As the race went on the breeze gradually softened. Luca slid away from Peter and the ever present lead K1 of Simon Hawkes began to make ground. Simon overtook Peter at the end of the long trundling broad reach and half a lap later caught Luca for the lead with 30 minutes still remaining. Luca and Simon were within a few boat lengths all the way back downwind down the lake. With the breeze softening the lead duo reached the narrows again with 15 minutes remaining. By now they were worse than ever, even with some wind inversion and a moment's beating!  Luca snuck back onto the lead by the bottom mark but as they returned back through the narrows the K1 snuck by again in the fickle breeze as the final minutes ticked down.

Wimbleball Lake can be a challengingly cruel venue to race sailboats, but there will be winners and heros. So it was, in the final minute the Beast released a timely late swirling puff of wind. Luca adjusted his cap, then accelerated his RS Aero sailing around the K1 to finish just clear ahead as the final seconds of the 3 hour race timed out and the music stopped, to become one of the great legends of Exmoor.

100 meters back Peter had his own dramas to contend as with 10 minutes to go the chasing pack of 4 boats had gained several hundred metres with a good following breeze to the narrows. Peter just hung onto 3rd from the next K1 and Blaze after a very tense narrows finish. Zak Mitchell sailed a great race catching up close to Peter in the end to take 6th with Iain Horlock a short way behind in 8th.

Thanks to Wimbleball SC for another great day out racing on Exmoor, 240 metres up, and thanks to Exmoor Ales for their generous support with their tasty beer. Mark your calendars for next year's event!

Spring 2024 gallery for larger photos


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