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Inaugural Laser Radial and 4.7 Open at Salcombe Yacht Club

by Andrew Groves 7 Oct 11:29 BST 5-6 October 2019

The inaugural Salcombe Yacht Club Laser Open for Radials and 4.7's consisted of four races over two days, the days providing two very different days of sailing.

The Saturday was a frustrating day, the first race was sailed in very light winds with some heavy rain accompanying a trip to Yawlton via Blackstone. In the Radials George Alexander gave a masterclass in downwind sailing to take out a large lead which he never relinquished, following him home was Andrew Groves. Charlie Evans took the honours in the 4.7's with Ben Meek 2nd. Saturdays second race had slightly more wind and consisted of a trip to Blackstone followed by a downwind leg to Gerston and a long fetch back to the line. Esther McLarty took the win from George with Ben taking the 4.7 class and Nicki Dobson 2nd.

Sunday was a total contrast to Saturday with clear blue skies and 20 knot winds coming out of the North West, however North Westerlies in Salcombe are a love hate affair with great sailing down towards Southpool and Kingsbridge but a huge hole in the wind on the start/finish line where the wind swirls through every direction possible. This obviously makes the start a mix of skill and luck, whichever one it was saw Andrew Groves, Ru McColl and Gus Howells sneak off down the East Portlemouth side picking up strong gusts that saw them speed off in to the distance whilst the pack remained frustrated and becalmed. A trip to Yawlton and Saltstone saw Andrew Groves take the win from Ru McColl with Gus Howell's taking the 4.7 class and Henry Evans claiming second.

The final race of the open saw a straight shootout between George and Andrew and Gus and Ben for the respective Radial and 4.7 titles. With an increasing south west breeze battling the north westerly the start line was somewhat challenging, but this time the vast majority of the pack headed off to Gerston together, accompanied by an increasing 25knot wind. The trip through the bag was quick and fun, but the subsequent one tack beat to Gerston was brutal with a strong wind making for screaming quads and abs without the respite of a tack or 2. Rounding Gerston in front was George just ahead of Andrew who both had a significant lead on the pack.

Ben Meek was leading the 4.7's and relishing the hard work. Once around Gerston it was literally take off as the wind lifted the boats onto the plane in seconds, Esther who rounded in third caught a gust that literally took her into orbit as she cartwheeled out of the boat and effectively ended her race as she had recover a missing dagger board and watch everyone blast past her. A wind shift at Saltstone saw Andrew capsize backwards and George sail off for a the win and with 2 race wins his overall victory was well deserved. Ben Meek came home for his 2nd win to take the 4.7 title.

It was great weekend of racing which will hopefully be the first of many Laser Opens.

Overall Results:

Laser Radial
1st George Alexander
2nd Andrew Groves
3rd Esther McLarty

Laser 4.7
1st Ben Meek
2nd Gus Howell
3rd Charlie Evans

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