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Salcombe Yacht Club Winter Series 2018 Race 5

by Simon Dobson 26 Nov 2018 13:08 GMT 24 November 2018

The weather has not been kind to Salcombe sailors over recent weeks with two races cancelled due to strong winds and last week's affair turning into a survival battle for the hardy few that ventured out.

The wind forecast on Saturday was more benign and turnout was good despite the persistent rain. In fact, the rain produced near flat calm conditions an hour before the start but gradually the wind filled from the north-east, force two to begin with but building steadily to a force four by the end of the race. As low water was just before the start, Race officer Tim Fells sensibly kept the fleet in the main harbour with a couple of laps around Crossways and Blackstone followed by a shorter lap around Crossways and the Mill Bay mark.

First away was the Solo fleet and with a lot of port end bias, the Salcombe end of the line was popular and crowded. Three boats were over the line right under the nose of the Race Officer and wisely returned to start correctly allowing Ed Stephens, David Greening and Julian Meek to make the early running, chased by Simon Dobson who was recovering after being one of the early starters.

Towards the end of the first run, Greening made a smart tactical move to avoid the adverse tide by sailing close to Biddlehead, enabling him to round Blackstone with a narrow lead from Stephens and Dobson. Approaching Crossways for the second time, the wind became light and variable, the left being most favoured by stronger pressure and a lifting wind shift. Dobson made the most of this to round in the lead with Greening, Stephens and Meek closely grouped a short distance behind.

Dobson held on to his lead until the finish with Greening making another good tactical move on the final downwind leg to take second from Stephens in third and Meek in fourth.

The Handicap fleet comprised its usual mix of Phantoms and the Juniors in their Laser 4.7s, the Merlin Rocket of Graham Cranford Smith and Rob Langley being the lone two-hander in the fleet. With enough breeze to favour the faster boats, the Phantoms took a clean sweep of the podium places. Alistair Morley was always in command at the front of the fleet whilst behind him Paul Ellis and Chris Cleaves had a close battle for second that Ellis won by a couple of boat lengths.

Solo Results:

1st Simon Dobson
2nd David Greening
3rd Ed Stephens

Handicap Results:

1st Alistair Morley, Phantom
2nd Paul Ellis, Phantom
3rd Chris Cleaves, Phantom

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