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Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series Race 6

by Graham Cranford-Smith 3 Jun 08:24 BST 1 June 2019

To a breathless public we bring you news of the second most important sporting fixture of last weekend; the most pivotal and interesting being of course, the Gallagher Premiership final between Saracens and Exeter Chiefs.

We speak of the outcome of Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club series race number 6 on the 1st June. Competitors were greeted with a modest northerly and a briskly flooding tide under an unremitting sun. By all normal measures, a rather nice day.

Your correspondent being the race officer, took in the meteorological conditions with a steely gaze borne of long experience and a history of considerable ineptitude at race management. At this juncture, there was no sign of any sea breeze or Southerly component. Many laps of the harbour between Mark 3 at Snapes and long beat back from Blackstone, were surely within grasp.

First off, were the cadets with the prior instruction ringing across the radio waves that the race target time from anxiously waiting parents, should be not more than sixty minutes.

With the tide under them, the cadet fleet departed smartly to Mark 3. From those of us in the race hut we forecast that the fleet would accomplish the entirety of the proscribed course in under forty minutes. Easily.

By way of an editorial flashback, we can report that many of the that fleet themselves had been part of the cadet event held on the preceding days.

These were RYA Youth Sailing courses encouraging the next generation of sailors to start their journeys afloat.

Thursday was SYC annual Cadet Regatta Day. This has now become firmly established on the Calendar and we held eight races. Our Rear Commodore Sailing Simon Dobson gave great feedback and notable improvement was made at being on the start line on time and out of the tide as much as possible. We are proud that our older more experienced cadets gave such good guidance to the younger sailors.

Finally, on Friday a white Sea Fret blanketed the entrance to the harbour, as if containing the sunshine, excitement and blustery breeze just for us. First start was the David Jayne Memorial Cadet Race. Some Participants enjoyed this so much we held further impromptu races with the Cadets being given the helm. Then it was time to enjoy our RYA inspired "Push The Boat Out" Open afternoon. Some 50 guests enjoyed the invitation to try a taster session at SYC. The weather really was glorious, and our experienced Cadets took numerous trips with guests on to the Azure Blue waters. The afternoon was rounded off by a wonderful family friendly atmosphere on the SYC Terrace and a BBQ complete with Palm Trees and delicious Rum Punch courtesy of our sponsors Tropic Breeze and Salcombe Dairy. It is unclear if the Rum was available to minors. We will say not.

Wresting ourselves back to the present day, the more experienced helms in the Toppers made the best of the conditions as lo, the Northerly breeze met an incoming Southerly gradient wind off Biddle Head. Biddle Head lies to the South of Mill Bay. On days like these, it is obvious that Mill Bay has not gained its moniker for nothing.

Your correspondent has spent many a happy hour at Biddle Head in zero wind, battling to make way past it against a swiftly incoming tide. The rocks at this location have harvested many a centreboard. Given this, it may have been a mistake to send the cadets up to Biddle Head for a second helping. As a result the cadet fleet comfortably exceeded the race target time by er, a clear 100%. Apologies.

Anyway, in the Topper, Izzy Wood just edged Dom Holt Wilson in advance of Freddie Reynolds who came in a decent third.

For those unfamiliar with the Ria it is important to understand that as a southerly sea breeze or gradient meets a northerly component, the area between these two systems, is a doldrum. No amount of sail adjustment or cursing at the sky and the sheer injustice of it all, will produce progress against a 3 knot incoming spring tide.

From the vantage point of the race hut, the PRO could derive some satisfaction of sending all the fleets to congregate at Biddle Head. The Germans have a word for this: schadenfreude. Mark no. 1 with its own bow wave was tantalisingly out of reach to many, for quite a long time. To onlookers on Mill Bay the scene appeared tranquil. It is possible the reality was adrift from this.

Anyhow, your correspondent's theory is, that any self-respecting dinghy race should not be enjoyable at the time. Rather, dinghy racing is essentially an exercise in puritanical deferred pleasure producing a feeling of well-being only once it is over. Races are often only bearable to contemplate in retrospect by about the following Wednesday.

This objective was achieved admirably since at the bell, most competitors slumped broken at the tiller of their craft having finally completed two laps of the harbour, mentally wrung out.

Man of the match goes to Solo-ista Professor Malcom Mackley who alone took the Portlemouth shore on both laps crossing neatly to Biddle Head in advance of his competitors who held on to Castle Point. He, at the finish just bested Ed Stephens by half a Solo foredeck. What a race!!

Meantime, Greening languished down by the bins just off the Ferry pub, his success from the preceding weekend being by now a distant memory. From within the Ferry, he could discern the rugby commentary with the Chiefs ahead at half time and in the ascendancy.

He was not having a very good day anyway.

Race 6 Results:

1st Izzy Wood
2nd Dom Holt Wilson
3rd Freddie Reynolds
(all Toppers)

Medium Handicap
1st Andrew and Lewis Groves (RS Feva)
2nd Rob and Edwin Langley (RS Feva)
3rd Henry Evans

Fast handicap
1st Paul Ellis (Phantom)
2nd AJ and Tristram Squire (Merlin Rocket)
3rd Christopher Cleaves (Phantom)

1st Malcolm Mackley
2nd Ed Stephens
3rd Simon Dobson

Salcombe Yawls
1st Geoff Gilson and Chris Spencer Chapman
2nd Graham and Tessa Pike
3rd Charles Thompson and crew

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