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Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series Race 1

by Simon Dobson 22 Apr 16:39 BST 20 April 2019

Conditions on Easter Saturday in Salcombe were more akin to mid-August than mid-April. The thermometer topped 70 degrees, pleasure boats packed the harbour and the Estuary was bathed in sunshine.

In these ideal conditions it was no surprise to see over 50 sailing dinghies out competing in the first race of Salcombe Yacht Club's early summer series. Low water spring tide coincided with the start of racing and with the wind from the north east, Race Officer Dan Bridger sensibly kept the racing in the main estuary with the fleets doing several laps around Crossways and Blackstone.

First away was the Junior Handicap, mostly a mixture of the Club's Toppers and Qubas. Gus Howells in a Topper prevailed over Dom Holt Wilson, also in a Topper, with Rob and Edwin Langley third in the solitary Feva. The Medium Handicap fleet has been boosted by several Juniors in Lasers stepping up to give the grown-ups a run for their money and this they duly did with Ben Meek taking victory in his maiden sail in his new Laser 4.7, followed by the Laser Radials of Esther McLarty and George Alexander, another former Cadet. The Fast Handicap fleet was somewhat depleted by several of its regulars being on duty either in the Watch House or in rescue boats. Alistair Morley sailed away from the fleet in his Phantom to take a comfortable victory from Bruce Hattersley in another Phantom and Andrew and Tris Squire in their Merlin Rocket.

The Solos had 20 boats on the start line and as the feet played the windshifts up to Crossways it was Simon Yates who emerged in the lead, chased by Robin Hodges and Billy Jago. The second beat from Blackstone to Crossways saw some major moves, Hodges getting through Yates to take the lead and Julian Meek and Simon Dobson coming through the pack to join Jago and Yates. A port and starboard incident on the run saw Yates doing penalty turns and dropping out of contention whilst Meek got though to second and did a good job of covering Dobson all the way to the finish. Hodges, meanwhile, sailed on to what was a comfortable victory in the end.

The Yawl fleet saw 7 boats out, a decent turnout this early in the season when many boats are still in storage in barns. New to the fleet was Nick Jackson sailing his recent purchase 165. It was he who made the early running but downwind Andy and Elizabeth Savell got in to a lead they would hold until the finish. On corrected time the classic Yawl of Stephen Galvin pipped the Jacksons for second place, the first three being within 30 seconds of each other after an hour and a half of racing.

Race 1 Results:

Junior Handicap
1st Topper Gus Howells
2nd Topper Dom Holt Wilson
3rd Feva XL Rob and Edwin Langley

Medium Handicap
1st Laser 4.7 Ben Meek
2nd Laser Radial Esther McLarty
3rd Laser Radial George Alexander

Fast Handicap
1st Phantom Alistair Morley
2nd Phantom Bruce Hattersley
3rd Merlin Rocket Andrew and Tris Squire

Solo
1st Robin Hodges
2nd Julian Meek
3rd Simon Dobson

Yawl
1st Andy and Elizabeth Savell
2nd Stephen Galvin
3rd Nick Jackson

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