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National 12 Gul Series Round 2 at Salcombe Yacht Club

by Zoe Ballantyne 8 May 06:02 BST 4-6 May 2019
National 12 Gul Series at Salcombe © Malcolm Mackley

The National 12s visited the beautiful Salcombe harbour for the second event in the 2019 Gul Series.

The first race on Saturday afternoon took place in sunny and breezy conditions with a spring flood tide. Ollie & Katy Meadowcroft had a strong start off the line and led to the first mark. Graham Camm & Zoe Ballantyne were in hot pursuit and overtook Ollie & Katy down the run. The gusty wind resulted in some wobbly gybes and eventual capsizes from Jon Ibbotson & Rachel Smith and David Copse, sailing with the youngest competitor, son Rowan. Zoe & Graham were briefly overtaken again by Ollie & Katy just before the gybe mark, but managed to pull it back on the last beat to take first place. On Saturday evening, a hotly contested skittles competition of helms v crews resulted in Rosie White being crowned the class skittles champion.

The forecast for Sunday didn't look promising, with wind due to come from every direction. Fortunately, after a short postponement for beach construction, the breeze filled in slightly and the morning race was held in the main part of the harbour round a short course. Dan & John Meadowcroft were first off the line, closely followed by Dan's brother Ollie and Jon & Sam Brown. Graham Camm, sailing with daughter Anya this time, took advantage of their super lightweight combination to pull through to first place on the run. Ollie then suffered from a yawl obstruction at the next mark and had to tack round to get to the mark. Graham & Anya established a comfortable lead, which they maintained for the rest of the race.

The wind filled in a little more for the afternoon race, allowing a longer course around the harbour. Dead low water on a spring tide meant that short tacking up the shore was a hazardous affair, resulting in a broken centreboard for Charlie & Helen Lloyd. Several other places during the race were lost by those who pushed it just a little bit too far into shore and hit the ground. Ollie & Katy battled hard against Jon & Rachel and Jon & Sam to take second, but Graham & Zoe took a solid lead to the finish. On Sunday evening, the fleet met in the club for a talk on the wind and tidal tactics at Salcombe, with expert guest contributions from Will Henderson.

On the Monday morning, the tide was ebbing hard. Getting over the line wasn't a problem, but getting back to it again was a challenge. Ollie & Katy had another good start and the fleet played the shifts up the beat past the infamous Salcombe bar. Graham & Anya were in the lead at the windward mark. The fleet then headed hard for the shore and it was a trial of nerves running back close to the rocks to stay out of the tide. Jon & Sam (enjoying the benefits of a non-foiling rudder) overtook Graham on the approach to Mill Bay to take the lead. David & Rowan caught the leaders up on the way down to mark 3. Jon & Rachel took the brave decision to run down the town side of the harbour on the final loop, it was a gamble that paid off as they overtook the leaders to win the race.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewClub
1stVery Hungry Caterpillar3530Graham CammZoe Ballantyne/Anya CammBurghfield SC
2ndTonto3483Jon BrownSam BrownBurghfield
3rdAtomic Kitten3540Jon IbbotsonRachel SmithBurghfield
4thD B Cooper3543Ollie MeadowcroftKaty MeadowcroftUpper Thames
5thEbba3457David CopseRowan CopseBurghfield

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