Overy Staithe Sailing Club’s Sharpie Open was very much a family affair, with three of the four crews who turned up for a beautifully sunny early start consisting of father and daughter/son combinations.  

Initially light and fluky winds meant Race Officer Rodney Tidd opted for harbour racing and set some challenging courses with the assistance of one-time Sharpie sailor Dave Cooper in the safety boat.

Race 1 was dominated by Ben and Paul Goakes in Cassiopea, who built on a clean start to gain an impressive lead over the rest of the fleet, with Alex and Sam Smith in Capella chasing them down and finishing second as the wind began to fill in. Meanwhile Chris and Maddie Gibbs in Windspiel battled it out with Andrew Cracknell and Graham in Titania, ultimately pipping them on the line.

For Race 2, a sea breeze had kicked in from the North East, leading to some close racing with Windspiel getting the best of the start which developed into a close race with Capella, with the two fairly evenly matched for speed. Cassiopea had a minor navigational glitch on board which put them out of contention for the race, which ended with a comfortable win for Team Gibbs, with Team Smith in second and Titania clinching third position.

There was everything to play for in the third race for the three Sharpies left on the water after Andrew and Graham had to head back to the Quay early for a prior engagement.

A win was going to clinch the series for whoever came out on top, which made a clean start on a now ebbing all the more important. Team Goakes hit the pin mark which was not the start they were looking for, leaving Windspiel and Capella to get away in a closely fought tacking battle, with the Smith combo briefly getting ahead of the Gibbs crew before they were overhauled after the windward mark. 

The key moment came at the leeward mark. While all three Sharpies scraped the bottom at the rounding, Capella managed to hitch the buoy to her rudder and Cassieopea slipped through. 

The race ended with a second win for Chris and Maddie, which clinched the series for them, with Ben and Paul in second and Alex and Paul third both over the line and in the event overall, with Andrew and Graham in fourth.   

The wonderful trophy, which was won by an Overy boat in 2019 but not raced in 2020, went back to Wells with Chris and Maddie. It was first awarded in 1998, before two of the sailors out on the water in 2021 were born. Their participation is perhaps a hopeful sign that another generation of Sharpie enthusiasts is in the making.

Huge thanks to the OSSC team for organising and hosting the event, which we hope can attract greater numbers in 2022 when travelling is hopefully easier.

Alex Smith

Overy Staithe SC Open Meeting