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Salcombe Town Regatta 2019

by Simon Dobson 22 Aug 07:29 BST 3-10 August 2019
Salcombe Town Regatta 2019 © Jayne Morris

The Salcombe Town Regatta encompasses a wide variety of events - sandcastle competitions, greasy pole wrestling, treasure hunts - not forgetting, of course, the spectacular fireworks display at the end of the week.

The racing for sailing dinghies takes place over the five weekday mornings with class starts for Lasers, Solos and Yawls and handicap races for the rest. Although the competition is keen, the emphasis is on the fun side of things with the final day seeing a fancy-dress pursuit race for all 90-odd competitors. There is also an important charitable element to the week. The Salcombe Yacht Club provides its facilities free of charge, its members volunteer to run the racing and man the safety boats and the sponsors, Blueriver Cottages and St. Austell Brewery, cover all the incidental expenses. This allows the entry fees of the competitors, which this year amounted to over £5,000, to go directly to the charities supported by The Salcombe Town Regatta.

In the Laser class Nick Pepper won a closely fought battle with John Pitkethly. Both were tied on points at the end of the series but the tie breaker went Nick's way by virtue of his better result in the last race. The Solo class was won convincingly by Tim Johnson with Roger Lumby in second and last year's winner Paul Playle in third. Going into the final race in the Fast Handicap class, any one of four boats could have emerged victorious. In the end, a race win for Tim Fells in his Aero 7 secured the title from Graham and Fiona Cranford Smith in their Merlin Rocket. The Slow Handicap class saw four different race winners across the four days of competition but it was the consistency of Suzanne Thomas in her Laser 4.7 that won out with Andrew Groves second in a Laser Radial.

The Modern, or Red, Yawl fleet saw some of the closest racing of the week. On most days the leading three boats all finished within a few seconds of each other. Andy and Elizabeth Savell made the running early on but Dan and Gail Bridger finished the week stronger and took the title. Martin and Cheryl Beck finished a close third. In the Classic, or Blue, Yawl fleet Andrew Wood, crewed by the SYC's Club manager Jules McColl, put in an excellent performance to take a comfortable victory from John and Freddie Smithers.

The Junior Handicap was the largest fleet of the week and nothing captures the spirit of dinghy racing in Town Regatta Week better than seeing 20 odd Juniors lining up for each start, many in a regatta for the first time. The fleet was a mixture of Club Toppers, Qubas and RS Fevas accompanied by some Lasers and RS Teras. Carys Attwell in her Laser 4.7 dominated the week with four straight wins. Behind her Max de Groot was second in a Topper with Issy Wood third in another Topper.

Sadly the weather intervened on the last day and the Pursuit Race had to be cancelled due to near gale force winds but at the prize giving that evening Race Officer Ian Stewart thanked all the competitors for helping to raise so much for the Town Regatta charities and hoped that everyone would be back August 3rd-7th next year.

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