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Keelboat & Sportsboat Racing by Glyn Charles
Keelboat & Sportsboat Racing by Glyn Charles

Henri Lloyd Salcombe Yacht Club Regatta 2016

by David Greening 16 Aug 2016 13:30 BST 7-12 August 2016

Wall-to-wall sunshine and a generally good wind strength ensured a memorable and successful 2016 Henri Lloyd Yacht Club Regatta. Racing was divided into morning and afternoon fleets thereby ensuring that half the day could be spent in holiday mode on the beach or ashore watching others race or just mucking about. The Morning fleet consisting of a strong junior fleet and handicap boats had the better of the tides and were able to explore most of the estuary.

This year's Junior Handicap and Topper fleet were particularly strong and very well sailed, resulting in morning race officer John Wyllie setting them for the last race of the week, an ambitious course using the full limits of the estuary. Evie Booth in her little Terra dinghy proved mistress of the conditions to score a very narrow victory from a well sailed visiting Feva sailed by Julia Barnes and Lauren Paton. In the Topper class Harry Harris from Tamesis SC won from a seven boat fleet.

Local sailor legends Jon Gorringe and Peter Colclough proved masters in the brisk breeze for the Fast Handicap and RS400 fleets respectively, however Richard Harris and his crew of two in their monster National 18 pushed the Merlin of Jon Gorringe and Nickie Bass hard both on the water and on handicap.

The blue sailed Enterprise fleet was won by Wembley Sailing Club's David Beaney and the Medium Handicap by Cotswold Sailing Club's Ed Preseley in his impressive Supernova.

The Laser Radial and Laser Standard classes were dominated respectively by Lesley Hotchin from Oxford SC and Mike Hicks from the home club.

The Salcombe Yawl Gold fleet racing is a reasonably laid back affair, and allows Yawls of all ages, and sailors of all abilities to compete over shorter courses without the pressure of the afternoon fleets. The son and father team of Hamish and Simon Stewart dominated proceedings in Yawl 100, starting a winning streak on Monday, with the only blot on a perfect score sheet occurring on Thursday when their tiller extension broke.

Race officer Geoff Gilson made the most of the conditions in the afternoons which were dominated by winds out of the West, but when the sun shone, a sea breeze allowed enjoyable beats toward Blackstone, whereas when the sun didn't shine, the Northern; more fluky element prevailed. There were neap tides throughout the week, which allowed competitors to chase pressure and pay slightly less attention to the classic Salcombe route.

The National Twelve Fleet enjoyed their sailing and most boats got round the course, even in the brisk breeze days. Tom Stewart and his young son Robert won five of the six races with John and Ollie Meadowcroft winning the first race of the week.

The 34 strong Solo class was very competitive and keen with the inevitable black flag starts having to introduced early in the week. Paul Rayson put in a very strong performance for the week by winning three races and by discarding a fifth to win the week overall. Tim Law was unfortunate to be called OCS for one race and this pushed him down to second place and just pipping an "on fire" Iain McGregor who came third.

Twenty modern Salcombe Yawls made up a highly competitive Red fleet, with welcome newcomers, Olympic 49er helmsman Stevie Morrison sailing with Frankie Rowsell and Chris Haworth and Stuart Aston borrowing "Lobster".

The Sunday afternoon race promised to be sailed in the most breeze of the week, and Race Officer Geoff Gilson ensured that the fleet completed the whole course; Simon Gibbens and Andrew Reed sailed a blinder, starting on the line and fifty yards up the course from the rest of the fleet, a position that they maintained to the finish, though by this time Will and Mandy Henderson had worked their way through to second place.

These positions were reversed on Monday, so by Tuesday Gibbens and Henderson were all square. Sadly for Gibbens the breeze went North West, and the Henderson's nailed the start, with Clive Jacobs and Victoria Gibbens and the Savells in close pursuit; an order that remained to the finish.

Wednesday saw some sore heads following the 50th Salcombe Yawl Owner's Association Annual General Meeting, followed by a Dinner and Dancing to The Fab Beatles. On the water there was more pressure out of the south and Malcolm Squire and Jonathan Britten saw a return to old times to win the Blackaller Cup from the Hendersons.

In the words of Stevie Morrison, the start line on Thursday made the Nothe at the London Olympics seem simple, with the fleet divided as to whether to start in the tide with more wind pressure, or in less tide but less wind. The latter prevailed and allowed Alistair Morley and Charles Thompson to grind out from the fleet to lead at Gerston, by then the Hendersons were on their tail, and took the lead, only to allow Morley and Thompson back through, however Will Henderson out sniddled Morley and Thompson on the return to the harbour, to take the race and the week.

Friday is Auburn Cup day, the Yawl's equivalent to the Prince of Wales Cup or the Sir William Burton Cup, both of which have sat on the Henderson mantelpiece; however it was Paul Ellis and Martin Beck who built up a healthy lead after a difficult sail out to the Lambury mark in variable conditions, a position that they maintained on the reach to Gerston; upon their return to the harbour a chasing pack of five boats closed in on the loop to Blackstone and Crossways, with Gibbens and Reed eventually prevailing from Morrison and Rowsell and Squire and Britton, all finishing within seconds of each other.

The Salcombe Yawl Blue fleet aka Classic fleet was dominated by Andrew Wood's "Saraband", crewed by Tim Petit, they showed a consistency that has previously been missing, no doubt due to Tim's ever present toolbox in the boat park before racing. The immaculate "Heron" was sailed by the owner's sons Russell and Freddie Smithers, who picked up bullets on Tuesday and Friday, whilst Kevin Anderson managed to keep "Sea Thrift" together on Wednesday to appropriately take the Salcombe Boatstore Jug.

Overall Results: (top 3 in each class)

Fast Handicap
1st Merlin Rocket 3754, Jon Gorringe and Nicola Bass
2nd National 18 400, Richard Harris and Jason Stokes
3rd Phantom 1357, Alister Morley

RS 400
1st RS400 1329, Peter Colclough and Crews
2nd RS400 922, Steve Conroy and Crews
3rd RS400 1448, Paul and Katy Engelmann

Medium Handicap
1st Supernova 1110, Ed Presley
2nd Streaker 1846, Mike Eggleston
3rd 420 51773, James and Charles Le Couilliard

1st 20234, David Beaney, Caroline Evans and Julie Cronshaw
2nd 23142, Martin Brooking and Jane Anderson
3rd 22698, Adrian Davis and Sue Davis

Junior Handicap
1st RS Tera Pro 2146, Evie Booth
2nd RS Feva 5847, Julie Barnes and Lauren Paton
3rd Laser Pico 8, Devon Perry

1st 40070, Harry Harris
2nd 37597, Constantine Gerber
3rd 41091, Thomas Lawson

Laser Standard
1st 209265, Mike Hicks
2nd 195250, Edward Benz
3rd 161391, Torrin Blazeby

Laser Radial
1st 191426, Lesley Hotchin
2nd 180706, Toby Rew
3rd 172161, Kathryn Ball

1st 5181, Paul Rayson
2nd 5599, Tim Law
3rd 5665, Iain McGregor

Salcombe Yawl Red Fleet
1st Y183, Will and Mandy Henderson
2nd Y167, Simon Gibbens and Andrew Reed
3rd Y184, Stevie Morrison and Frankie Rowsell

Salcombe Yawl Blue Fleet
1st Y 97, Andrew Wood and Tim Petit
2nd Y19, Russell and Freddie Smithers
3rd Y132, Anthony and Allyson Lofts

Salcombe Yawl Gold Fleet
1st Y100, Hamish and Simon Stewart
2nd Y22, The Lowe family
3rd Y152, Jane and Darius Panahy

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