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Salcombe Town Regatta

by Simon Dobson 18 Aug 2018 14:51 BST 13-17 August 2018
Salcombe Town Regatta © Jayne Morris

Part of Salcombe Town Regatta, the dinghy sailing racing took place from Monday 13th August to Friday 17th. Although not an official Salcombe Yacht Club event, the Club lends its facilities and safety boats for the week and the racing is run by volunteers from the Club.

Just under 80 boats took part in the family friendly event and in the process raised £4,500 towards the Town Regatta and the local charities that it supports. Sponsorship from Blueriver Cottages and St. Austell Brewery got the week off to a good start at a well-attended Welcome Reception on the first evening. Fleet racing over four days was followed by an All Comers Pursuit Race on the Friday.

In the single-hander division, the Laser fleet turned into a close contest between Mike Hicks and Olly Adams. This pair were never out of the top two all week with Mike eventually prevailing on the last race tie-breaker. The Solo class was also decided by last race tie-breaker, this time in favour of Paul Playle over Robin Hodges. Twenty-five Yawls took part in the event, split into Classic and Modern fleets. In the Classic fleet Hywell Bowen Perkins and John Heath started strongly and took the series victory from Mike Knowles and Paul Billingham in second and Andrew Wood and Jules McColl in third. The Modern fleet saw four different winners over the four races but it was the consistency of Dan and Gail Bridger with four second places that triumphed ahead of Mike and Karen Whitehouse and Martin and Cheryll Beck.

In Peter Colclough, Will Henderson, Paul Ellis and Tim Fells, the Fast Handicap fleet featured winners of numerous National and indeed World titles in years gone by so competition was particularly hot. With races invariably decided by seconds rather than minutes on corrected time, it was the Aero 7 of Tim Fells that came out on top, followed by the Phantom of Paul Ellis and the Lark of Will and Mandy Henderson. In the Slow Handicap fleet, the Day Boat of James Hewitt and Rachel Billingham proved unbeatable despite the best efforts of Ollie Meadowcroft in his Aero 5. In the very well attended Junior fleet, Ollie's brother Dan sailed an excellent series to take a maiden title ahead of Henry Koe and Henry Evans.

The conclusion of the fleet racing was followed by the Fancy Dress Friday Pursuit Race. In this format, boats start at staggered intervals to reflect their speed, the race is run for exactly 100 minutes and whoever is leading at the finish is the overall winner. Light winds at the start meant that the slower boats never really got away far enough to prevent the faster boats hauling them in as the race progressed. In an exciting final 15 minutes the lead changed frequently as Yawls overtook Solos and Merlin Rockets overtook Yawls but, in the end, it was the Phantom of Paul Ellis that was ahead by a boat length as the canon was fired to signal the end of the race. In the Junior Pursuit Race Henry Koe in a Laser 4.7, one of the faster boats in the fleet, just managed to overtake the Feva XL of Ru McColl and Johnny Walster in time to win. The Juniors embraced the fancy dress requirement enthusiastically with Dominic Holt Wilson's Mermaid winning that contest. The Adults will have to do better next year.

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