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Salcombe Yacht Club Bucket and Spade Series 2021 - Race 3

by Malcolm Mackley 15 Aug 2021 15:08 BST 14 August 2021
Salcombe YC Bucket and Spade Series race 3 © Malcolm Mackley

August in Salcombe has always been busy but this year it has been very, very busy. The Salcombe Gin Yacht Club Regatta was a success and around this, the club runs a 'Bucket and Spade series'.

Saturday 14th August was the third race in the series and this was held in a medium to light SW wind with a falling tide. The race officer chose to send the fleet beyond the bar to the distant marks of M and O that signify the seaward estuary boundary owned by the Duchy of Cornwall.

This involved a long beat to Mark M below the towering cliffs of Bolt Head and some of the very enthusiastic handicap fleet were too keen to start with several boats pushing the start line in such a way that only one miscreant could be positively identified.

The fleet spread out across the estuary with the Merlin Rockets of Robert Burns and Steve Conroy, together with Peter Colclough's 505 and the Aero 9 of Dan Bridger breaking away from a large pack of Solos. The seven Salcombe Yawls had their own start and were much better behaved than the handicap fleet and they made their majestic way to M in an orderly fashion.

The journey across the tide from mark M to mark O, that is positioned on the Portlemouth shore below Lanbury Point, was more challenging as the wind had decided to drop and the ebbing tide made for slow progress. Eventually however the spinnaker boats emerged into view behind Blackstone rocks with a pack of Solos close on their heels.

At this point decisions had to be made whether to stay on the Portlemouth shore to mark number 3 at the mouth of Yalton, in the estuary, or risk crossing the channel to the Salcombe side in order to avoid the ebbing tide. The Portlemouth shore involved having to encounter many holiday makers paddle boards, swimmers, inflatables and moored RIBs; however even with these potential hazards the leading Portlemouth boats emerged with an advantage at mark 3.

The race course was shortened to finish from mark 3 to the club line and the Colclough 505 took line honours with an impressive display of trapeze crewing. The time gap of the faster boats was, however, not able to prevent the Solos taking the first four places on handicap with Chris Cleaves winning overall.

A very notable achievement was the fifth place Tera sailed by Ed Alexander. There were no Junior Handicap entries for him to sail against, so he choose to sail in the main handicap fleet. He was assigned a dedicated rescue boat to escort him outside 'the bar' where there were larger waves and tricky conditions. Ed did not need their assistance, sailed brilliantly and was rewarded with a great result in a strong fleet.

The Salcombe Yawl class race was won by Mike and Karen Whitehouse who held off a determined challenge from ace sailors Phil King and John Sleep.

Handicap Results:

1st Solo 3879 Chris Cleaves
2nd Solo 5755 Graham Cranford Smith
3rd Solo 5601 Simon Yates

Yawl Results:

1st 171 Mike and Karen Whitehouse
2nd 183 Phil King and John Sleep
3rd 187 Andrew and Elizabeth Savell

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