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Salcombe Yacht Club 2021 Summer Series - Race 5

by Graham Cranford Smith 25 Jul 20:43 BST 24 July 2021
Salcombe Summer Series race 5 © Bruce Hattersley

Racing dinghy sailors as a genre are not very good at trolley stacking. Plainly, the shortest measurable time after launching, is losing the wheels in anticipation of the race ahead.

At most venues this is not an issue. However, to find oneself receding from the slip in Salcombe, having overcome the hurdle of the launching from Batson on a busy summer's day, produces a unique feeling of karma found nowhere else. Trolley feng shui, is the order of the day around these parts. This is an art lamentably obscure to most of us, that much is clear.

Perhaps as a corollary, but we do hope not, as a very concerning trend, there were no takers for the junior handicap much as for several weeks past.

More positively, the future of SYC rests mostly with the Medium handicap Laser fleet, populated by the likes of George Alexander, Charlie Evans, Henry Evans, Dom Holt-Wilson and AN other all of whom in the flower of youth. To them, we say: Kudos.

Andrew Groves is the master of this cohort and from him, they have still a bit to learn. He made the best of the start to Saltstone, thence to Gerston return with a couple of laps of Saltstone/Blackstone in a nice windward leeward course in a gaining flood tide.

The wind today was in the East and probably a decent twelve knots. Pretty stable all in all with very few low-pressure zones. In practice a windward leeward in the main harbour.

Andrew Groves won out with AN Other taking second ahead of George Alexander. Extremely close racing.

Fast Handicap

Noah would be pleased: two RS400's, two RS Aeros, two Merlins. Jon Burn has recently acquired a Merlin Rocket in a pleasing development as he works his way through the dinghy classes. Quite right too as the Burn family have a long association with the Merlin. Paired with Ross Borne helming, this team are quite racy straight out of the box. Disappointing for everyone else, really.

Ex 505 multiple World Champion Peter Colclough and Peter Bennet in the leading 400 made an early gain to mark three. Using superior weight by Gerston on the plaining fetch they had built a handy lead. They were followed to this mark by Team CS who had rode over the top of Borne/Burn and the McLaren 400 in the Bag. Gusts in the Bag accounted for two capsizes.

The race became a three-way battle between Colcough/Bennet, Team CS and a Borne/Burn as Colclough became becalmed at Tosnos. That leading pair never escaped again. Colclough took line honours but this was not enough for a win on corrected from Team CS. Team CS held off Borne/Burn by a boat length only at the gun. These two teams were first and second on corrected.

Clare Booth claimed in her RS Aero claimed third. Well done to her.


Fourteen Solos came to the line, leaving a corresponding number of trolleys littering the boat park.

After a tight beat to Crossways Simon Dobson and Robin Hodges were early leaders. There followed a processional journey to Gerston. But when the leading group returned to Tosnos the fleet closed up, thence followed a close battle between the seven leading Solos as they beat and ran up and down the harbour. Eventually Chris Cleaves consolidated a good lead having established an overlap at Blackstone, followed by Simon Dobson. Tim Law pulled past David Greening on the final dash to the finish line.


It is pleasing to see an increasing turn out of Yawls for club races. Ten, being a mixture of Red and Blue fleets; ostensibly different classes.

Phil King, now officially a septuagenarian, paired by John Sleep, won out over Dan Bridger sailing with a guest crew, we think. Third, pleasingly,we find AJ Squire and Sue O'Brien.

In the Blue fleet, Mike Knowles crewed by Nicky Bass edged James Greenhill and crew. The latter is an increasing force. Notably however, this part of the fleet were tempted to go high under Halwell point en route back from Gerston. They had time to collect firewood. Absolutely no wind and an adverse tide. "Boom between you and bank", generally speaking, chaps.

But in all, a very nice sail for everyone.

We returned to the slip to find our trolleys stacked properly in date order, by way of silent recrimination. Notably, your correspondent's trolley was at the very bottom of the pile, he having been identified as a particular transgressor. Greening's was also a long way down, too.

Race 5 Results:

Medium Handicap (Laser)
1st Andrew Groves
2nd AN other
3rd George Alexander

Fast Handicap
1st Graham and Fiona Cranford Smith (Merlin)
2nd Ross Borne and Jon Burn (Merlin)
3rd Clare Booth. (RS Aero)

1st Chris Cleaves
2nd Simon Dobson
3rd Tim Law
4th David Greening

1st Phil King and John Sleep
2nd Dan Bridger and Guest crew
3rd AJ Squire and Sue O'Brien

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