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Zhik 2016 ZKG

Salcombe Yacht Club Autumn Series - Race 6

by Simon Dobson on 9 Oct 7 October 2017

On Saturday morning the weather station at Prawle Point was reporting wind speeds in excess of 40 knots from the west. Fortunately for the sailors contesting race 6 of the Salcombe Yacht Club Autumn Series, the estuary provides a fair bit of shelter from a true westerly and the wind speed was a more genteel 20 – 25 knots.

The downside of the wind coming from the west, however, is that it becomes extremely shifty and gusty once it has worked its way around the hills and down the valleys to reach the harbour. Sailors would be coaxing their boats through a lull one moment and flat out planning the next. With the start of racing also coinciding with a spring low tide and rain squalls driving down the estuary, it was not wholly surprising that turnout was restricted to a dedicated core.

The race officer decided to keep the fleets away from the more open and exposed upper and lower reaches of the estuary and set two laps around the Mill Bay mark and Saltstone.

The cadets were first away, 5 in number and most showing an excellent mastery of the demanding conditions. Evie Booth and George Alexander battled it out at the front in their Tera Pros, Evie maintaining her early lead until the finish but George pressing her all the way home. George's younger brother James finished third. In the medium handicap, Tim Fells enjoyed a comfortable victory in his Aero over the Feva XL of Andrew and Lewis Groves.

In the fast handicap fleet, the two Merlin Rockets lead Paul Ellis's Phantom around the first mark but Paul soon got away downwind and went on to win by a healthy margin.

The Solo fleet saw the most competitors, 7 in total. Chris Cleaves rounded the windward mark first and gradually pulled away. Behind him Simon Yates looked to have second place secured until Billy Jago got the better of the shifts up the final beat to sneak past with the finish line in sight. David Greening pipped Julian Meek for fourth.

In the Yawls just two brave crews ventured out, Geoff Gilson prevailing over Andrew Sterling by just over a minute on corrected time.

Race 6 Results:

1st Tera Pro, Evie Booth
2nd Tera Pro, George Alexander
3rd Tera Sport, James Alexander

Medium Handicap
1st Aero 7, Tim Fells
2nd RS Feva XL, Andrew and Lewis Groves

Fast Handicap
1st Phantom, Paul Ellis
2nd Merlin Rocket, Tristram and AJ Squire
3rd Merlin Rocket, Simon and Laura Evans

1st Chris Cleaves
2nd Billy Jago
3rd Simon Yates

1st Geoff Gilson and Chris Spencer Chapman
2nd Andrew Sterling and crew

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