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May Bank Holiday Sun Fest at Salcombe Yacht Club

by Malcolm Mackley 8 May 06:22 BST 5-7 May 2018

Sun-drenched Salcombe celebrated a truly amazing three days over the May Bank Holiday with Club racing, an Open Meeting for Yawls, RS400s and National Twelves together with a Merlin Rocket sailors wedding and a Town Crab Fest. The estuary was packed with visiting Yachts, Power Cruisers, Paddle Boards and the beaches were full of people enjoying the glorious conditions.

Saturday Club Racing

There was a good turnout for Club racing and in the Solo fleet Ed Stephens continued his early season form with a convincing victory over Roger Guess who is rapidly learning the vagaries of the Salcombe Estuary particularly with a tricky Easterly wind blowing. He secured second place with Julian Meek third, whilst Julian's son Ben won the Junior Race. Peter Cook and Janet Exelby made it three wins in a row for the Medium Handicap in their red Firefly and Ian Stewart in his Phantom was the first of three Phantoms in the Fast Handicap Fleet.

Salcombe Yawl Open Meeting

Twelve Red Fleet yawls assembled at the starting line for the Saturday afternoon race, which turned out to be a largely off-wind affair; some notable pundits including Simon Gibbens and Andrew Reed and Clive Jacobs and Victoria Gibbens, despite strong performances, crossed the finishing line in silence, having failed to respond to individual recalls, leaving first place to Rob Henderson and Tristan Stone followed home Will Henderson and Jim Stone. A trip around the creeks on Sunday morning saw Will Henderson to the fore in the light easterly conditions with Graham and Tessa Pike and Charles Thomson and Alistair Morley chasing them home. Sunday afternoon saw the fleet fighting for position on the Portlemouth end of the start line, David Greening and Stephen Galvin put in an extra hitch at the Ferry Landing to take a handy line into the moorings to round the Crossways Mark in the lead, which they maintained to the finish. The Easterly breeze held on into Monday morning with Rob and Tristan leading Duncan Salmon and Richard Bawden to Yalton, however the fleet closed up on the run to Blackstone and then inverted when it met the sea breeze, Rob and Tristan and Simon Gibbens and Andrew Reed were the first to rediscover the Easterly gradient breeze on the Town side, to take first and second places. The final race win allowed Rob and Tristan to win the Open Meeting from their fathers Will Henderson and Jim Stone, an ominous warning to the next generation of Salcombe Yawl sailors!

Tight racing for the Blue Fleet Yawls saw the top four boats finish within 3 points of each other. With a good set of early results, Mike Knowles & Mandy Henderson looked strong for the win, however, they were caught out by a lull in the final race allowing the mother-son team of Allyson & Anthony Lofts to slip through and ultimately win overall on count-back. The Merlin Rocket Fleet were in town for another 'Merlin Wedding' (congratulations Chris & Pippa!) and formed guest crews for Simon Dobson to round out the top 3. Elsewhere in the fleet the newly refurbished Y89 'Skylark' looked fantastic for her inaugural outing and the newest member of the Yawl fleet, Nigel Dawbarn, enjoyed close racing in his new class, finishing 6th overall.

RS400 Open Meeting

Thirteen RS400 enjoyed their four race series with plenty of colourful three sail reaching down the estuary involved in all of the races. There were three different race winners Peter Jackson, Paul Oakey, who won two races and finally Howard Fairbrother who was the overall winner by one point from Paul and Mark Oakey. John and Annie Mclaren from the home club sailed particularly well to secure third place from Mike and Sarah Whitmore were fourth.

National Twelve Open Meeting

The fourteen National Twelves were dominated by two boats sailed by Tom and Robert Stewart and Graham and Zoe Camm. These two were never far apart at the end of each race however Tom secured three close wins to Grahams one and won the event Overall. Jon Ibbotson and Rachel Smith sailed consistently well to gain third position with Jon Brown and various children crewing coming fourth after one particularly strong race.

For full race results go to:

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