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Salcombe Yacht Club 2017 Spring Series - Race 3

by Simon Dobson 3 Apr 2017 10:30 BST 1 April 2017
Salcombe Yacht Club Spring Series Race 3 © Margaret Mackley

Sunshine and a force 3 – 4 breeze saw a healthy turnout of 11 Solos and 6 in the Handicap fleet for Race 3 of the Salcombe Yacht Club Spring Series. Race Officer Peter Cook set a traditional course, the first lap being Blackstone to Gerston, the second Blackstone Crossways.

At the start of the Solo race it seemed that only Bill Jago had spotted that the southerly wind direction meant that the start line was biased in favour of the Portlemouth side. Most of the fleet started on the Salcombe side but Jago headed for the far shore, tacking soon after the gun and comfortably crossing the rest of the fleet. He held this lead up the first beat to Blackstone to round four boat lengths ahead of the chasing pack. However, on the downwind leg against a strong ebb tide the fleet bunched up and the lead chopped and changed several times as Malcolm Mackley and Peter Sturgess both enjoyed moments out in front.

As the fleet moved through the Bag the majority held a high line past Tosnos but three boats, led by Simon Yates, dropped low towards Halwell Woods and this proved to be the way to go. Yates rounded the Gerston mark with a handy lead followed by Peter Hammond. The wind shadow cast by Snapes Point proved to be the next decisive point in the race, Yates losing out by staying low whilst Hammond and Jago closed the gap on him by sailing closer to Snapes.

By the time the leading group reached Blackstone for the second time, Jago lead again with Hammond and Yates in pursuit. On the final downwind leg the weather intervened as a rain shower first killed the breeze and then swung it round to the north west. This led to some tense and tricky light air conditions. Off Ditch End Hammond got a decisive puff and broke clear, rounding Crossways and holding on for the win. The unlucky Jago was second and Yates third.

In the handicap fleet, the Phantoms of Alistair Morley and John McLaren found the conditions to their liking. Morley built up a large lead on the first lap of the harbour but McLaren remained in the hunt, closing up on the final downwind leg when the rain arrived and the breeze died. In the light stuff off Fisherman's and Ditch End, McLaren got the better of Morley and took the win. The National 12 of Simon and Karen Ballantine did enough to take third place from the Merlin Rocket of Andrew and Tristram Squire.

Race 3 Results:

Solo fleet
1st 5271, Peter Hammond
2nd 5598, Bill Jago
3rd 5601, Simon Yates

Handicap fleet
1st Phantom 1437, John McLaren
2nd Phantom 1357, Alistair Morley
3rd National 12 3431, Simon and Karen Ballantine

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