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Salcombe Gin Salcombe Yacht Club Regatta

by Malcolm Mackley 12 Aug 17:17 BST 5-10 August 2018
Salcombe Gin Salcombe Yacht Club Regatta © Jayne Morris

The 2018 Salcombe Gin SYC Regatta was a great success and offered challenges to the many competitors for six days with both light and very heavy winds sailing conditions.

The racing was divided into morning and afternoon starts thereby ensuring that for the weeks racing all the different tidal conditions were experienced by everyone. The sun was out with the wind mainly from the west and with the estuary full of visiting Yachts, ribs, inflatables and paddle boards, sailing was particularly challenging and exciting in the spectator zone off the Club House and start line.

There were plenty of visitors in the ten daily class starts and this year saw a very healthy Junior fleet and a welcome resurgence in the RS400, Lark, Enterprise and Laser Standard classes. For the morning starts Race Officer John Wyllie was faced with some very light wind days with the westerly wind direction over the club sometimes resulting in tricky calls in terms of the best direction of travel.

The Junior handicap was won by Ben Meek in his RS Tera, however he did have strong completion from two visitors in Oliver Randal-May sailing a Laser 4.7 from Chichester SC and Ollie Meadowcroft from Upper Thames SC in an Aero5. The Junior Topper class was a SYC lock out with Thomas Lawson taking the overall win.

The eighteen boat fast handicap was competitively contested with Alistair Morley showing his well known all weather sailing ability winning overall in one of the four Phantoms in the fleet. Fran Gifford and Sophie Mackley were second in a Merlin Rocket followed by Dan Bridger in his Aero9. The nine RS400 earnt the right to have their own start and enjoyed close racing with visitors Steve Restall and Chris Stubbs from Downs SC emerging victor from ex 505 world champion and resident of Salcombe, Peter Colclough crewed by a combination of his wife Sue and Pete Bennett. The Laser radial fleet had ten boats and Andrew Groves pipped Esther Mclarty to the overall win. The all visitor Enterprise fleet was won by Jane and Nick Scutt from Martin Brooking and Jane Anderson.

For the Regatta, the Salcombe Yawl fleet divide into three starts the Gold, Blue and elite Red fleet and a very popular winner of the Gold fleet this year was Jayne and Richard Morris who won all but one of the trophy races, however by winning a trophy, according to class rules they must in the future sail in the Blue fleet or Red fleet. The Blue fleet consists of mainly pre number 141 Yawls and this year Yawl 97 sailed by Andrew Wood and Tim Petit proved to be worthy winners from Mike Knowles and Mark Waterhouse in Yawl 15. Throughout the season Andrew Wood has been training the Junior Fleet in terms of racing skills and it was rewarding to see his fine result and endeavour both in the Yawl and Junior fleet too.

The afternoon Race officer Geoff Gilson expertly set racing both in the creeks when possible and also in the estuary for example on the Thursday when there were extreme 34 Knot gusts.

The Red fleet enjoyed very competitive sailing with Simon Gibbons and Andrew Read winning the first light wind Sunday race by an impressive margin in Yawl 167. However as the week progressed Paul Ellis and Martin Beck in Yawl 181 and Will and Mandy Henderson in Yawl 183 entered the leading pack with the Henderson winning overall and also securing the magnificent Auburn Cup in a 30 Knot very windy Friday race. The Thursday afternoon racing was even more extreme with one broken wooden Yawl mast and one capsize which involved getting the Yawl to the shore and then bailing out for half an hour.

In addition to the Red and Blue fleet starts, afternoon racing included the National Twelves, Solos and Laser Standards and all fleets had a good entry with high quality sailing. Multiple N12 Champions Graham and Zoe Camm won the 12s with five race wins from John and Mandy Thornton with Jon Ibbotson and Rachel Smith third. There was an excellent turnout of Standard Lasers and Neil Davies from Queen Mary SC made the early running before local hero Tim Law clawed back later in the week to win the week from Davies with Mike Hicks of the home club third.

The 27 strong Solo fleet was as usual highly competitive over the whole fleet with some very close racing in particular during the lighter wind races at the beginning of the week. Malcolm Mackley made a Salcombe tidal gate break away move to win the Sunday light wind race by a large margin, however after that, Michael John (MJ) Gifford from Hunts SC and Simon Dobson fought a close battle for supremacy with Tim Johnson and Iain Mcgregor joining the front as the wind steadily increased throughout the week. Gifford proved to be master of both light and strong winds and finally convincingly won the week and also the Salcombe Gin Trophy for the strongest overall performance of the week throughout all the classes.

The club management and many helpers are to be thanked for successfully organising events so well both on and off the water and Salcombe Gin is to be thanked for their generous sponsorship and prizes including the supply of copious glasses of their wonderful gin.

Full race results can be found here.

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