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Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series - Race 4

by Malcolm Mackley on 14 May 13 May 2017

At last a brisk South Westerly with sun! Up until now the 2017 season has been dominated by Easterlies which have made for challenging sailing in the Salcombe estuary and so it was good news for the competitors and race officer to see a brisk South Westerly breeze giving a true windward start up the estuary. Holiday makers and visiting yachts have also not yet arrived in force for the summer season and so it was not necessary to use the "dreaded" fairway restriction at the starting area.

There was a good mix of dinghies sailing and proceedings started with three very well sailed Juniors crossing the start line in close formation. The two Toppers battled around their estuary course right until the finish where Evie Booth pipped Ru McColl by less than half a minute only for Ben Meek in the Terra to split them on handicap.

The separate starts for medium and fast handicap fleets quickly resulted in the two fleets getting mixed together. Peter Cooke and Janet Exelby sailed serenely through the early starters and dominated the fast handicap fleet, whilst in the medium handicap there was a tight handicap battle between Tim Fells in his Aero finishing well ahead of Charlie Blazeby in his Laser radial; however it was the very well sailed laser that won on handicap. Single handers appear to becoming increasing popular at Salcombe with the laser, Aero and Phantom dinghies now challenging the traditional dominance of the Solo class. The Solo class however continues to attract the greatest regular turnout and the sixteen Solos starting on the first beat to Blackstone was an impressive sight in glorious sunshine. Graham Cranford Smith made a daring start on the Portlemouth shore and after a short starboard beat was able to port tack the rest of the fleet. Graham continued to lead at Blackstone and then down the long off wind leg to Gerston; however on the return leg to the estuary, his kicking strap failed and he had to peel off from the race track and limp into the Shadycombe pits to retire. This left Simon Dobson in full command where he then controlled the race holding off determined efforts from Billy Jago and Peter Hammond.

Only two Salcombe Yawls came to the start line, but they had a ding dong race right up until the finish line where, after a one and a half hour race, seconds separated Peter Stratton's Yawl from the Savills at the line. Either could have taken the victory but Peter Stratton prevailed.

Race 4 Results:

Juniors
1st Topper 48169, Evie Booth
2nd Terra 1881, Ben Meek
3rd Topper 48170, Ru McColl

Medium Handicap
1st Laser radial 203307, Charlie Blazeby
2nd Aero 1505, Tim Fells
3rd Rs Vision 1, Robin Hodges and crew

Fast handicap
1st Merlin Rocket 3616, Peter Cooke and Janet Exelby
2nd Merlin Rocket 3725, Andrew Squires and crew
3rd National 12 3525, Christian and Sophie Day

Solos
1st 5676, Simon Dobson
2nd 5596, Billy Jago
3rd 5271, Peter Hammond

Salcombe Yawls
1st 161, Peter Stratton and crew
2nd 140, Andrew and Elisabeth Savell

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