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Wessex Resins 2019 - Pro-Set - 728x90

Salcombe Yacht Club Autumn Laser Open

by John Burn 13 Sep 08:52 BST 10-11 September 2022

There was a small but highly competitive fleet of Laser Radials & 4.7s out for the annual open meeting which, for the first time allowed full rig Lasers to take part. The open meeting would be run using RYA PY handicaps with the different rigs all starting and racing together.

The 6 competitors would be battling it out over the duration of the weekend not only for some superb prizes, generously provided by our sponsors Salcombe Brewery, but also for a new trophy presented by Mark Sancken. After realising at last years event that there was in fact no trophy for the victor, Mark very kindly commissioned a trophy made from an original wooden Laser rudder blade from Laser 9739 circa 1973.

The two races on Saturday only saw 4 out of the 6 entrants competing, John Burn in a full rig with Mark Sanken, Mark Fryer and Edward Alexander all in radials. The sun was out and the wind was shifty and light but generally set in a Southerly direction.

John being the only full rig knew he needed to put a decent chunk of time between himself and the radials if he was going stand a chance; he shot off the line quickly and soon pulled out a substantial lead.

Mark Fryer was super quick downwind though and managed to cut Johns lead in half by the time they rounded Snapes heading off to Gerston. However, John navigated the tricky section from Snapes to Halwell Woods very well and was soon back in more stable breeze, planing off down to mark 7 all the while increasing his lead.

Meanwhile, behind Fryer, Mark Sancken and Edward Alexander found themselves in a close battle as they made their way through The Bag.

As the fleet exited The Bag to complete a loop of the main Harbour John was now a long way out in front with Fryer in second, Sancken 3rd and Edward 4th. This is how it remained to the finish. On corrected time John took his first bullet of the weekend by a hefty 4 minutes over 2nd place; a pretty convincing win.

The fleet had a bit of time to kill before the second race was able to get under way; they had managed to catch and pass some of the RS Aeros during the first race and, in doing so, meant they had to wait for the Aeros to finish before they could set off again.

In race two, after being worried about getting pushed back from the line by the strong spring tide, the fleet all opted to stay above the start line and make a well timed dash back just before the start. Sounds easy in theory but none of them managed to execute this properly and all of them found themselves over the line at the start. Eventually they did get going and the fleet all chose to short tack up the beach. Mark Sancken seemed to struggle a little more than others at judging the depth and found himself running aground on what probably for him felt like every tack. His worst would be on the rock that sits just off Smalls Cove, seemingly unaware that the large clump of sea-weed actually contained a large rock. To Marks dismay he quickly found out that it did contain a rock as his boat ground to an abrupt halt, (Oh no!).

The race played out the same as the first, John taking his second win of the day with another 4 minute margin over Mark Fryer in 2nd and Mark Sancken 3rd. Unfortunately, Edward got stuck trying to round Biddle Point and ended up getting washed onto the rocks. Im glad to report all was well and there was no harm done to either Edward or the boat but it did lead to his retirement from the race.

On Day two the sailors were treated to a typical Salcombe South Easterly, very shifty with big holes all over the race course where your race could easily be lost or won.

After missing Saturday, Matthew Hodges and Issy Glazebrook joined the fleet on Sunday; both with race wins under their belts at this years regatta, could either of them stop John from getting a clean sweep?

The first race got under way with a short beat up to to Mark 2 where they all parked up, that is all except Matthew. After rounding the mark he quickly got himself out of the tide and picked up a nice little puff to send him on his way and, in doing so, carved out a fairly healthy lead.

Unfortunately, for Matthew it was not going to last as the remainder of the fleet picked up the breeze and crossed over to the town shore where they caught him up as he'd left it a little too late to cross.

As they rounded Snapes all in close contention, John crossed over to Ox Point to try and cheat the tide with the rest of the fleet all choosing to follow him except Matthew, who chose to keep close in to the left shore making his way up through the inside of the pontoons.

An excellent decision as it turned out for this was the fastest route through The Bag. Matthew beat John to Mark 5 and once around the Mark there was no catching him as he disappeared off with the tide.

Matthew not only took line honours beating the full rig but also a well deserved 1st place on corrected time, John finished 2nd with Edward 3rd.

For the second instalment of the day, Race officer Simon Dobson opted to drop an X mark just off the end of the Fairway to try to keep the sailors in the breeze and out of the tide.

Matthew was first around X closely followed by John and Issy but it was Issy who appeared to have the better boat speed downwind in the gusty conditions.

It took John until Snapes to dispatch Issy as she hung on but ultimately in the bigger rig John started to eek away form her.

As they made their way through The Bag Issy and Matthew ended up sailing each other a little high on the way to Mark 5 as they battled it out. John took the faster, lower line before hotting it up to the mark. It was at this point that John now started to pull away from the chasing pack.

As he re-entered the main harbour for a quick loop of X -3, John continued to extend his lead all the way to the finish notching up his 3rd win of the weekend in what turned out to be a fairly dominant performance.

Issy led Matthew for the majority of the race but unfortunate timing of wake churned up by the Portlemouth Ferry killed her speed and allowed Matthew to close right up for a photo finish in which the race officer, Simon, deemed it a tie.

Overall Results:

1st John Burn - 3pts
2nd Mark Fryer - 9pts
3rd Mark Sancken - 10pts

As always in Salcombe, it was a fantastic weekend of sailing with plenty of close racing, sun and testing conditions. Thank you to all the team behind the scenes who put these events together as well as the Race Team and our sponsor, Salcombe Brewery.

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