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Salcombe Yacht Club Winter Series - Race 4

by John Burn & David Greening 11 Dec 2022 18:00 GMT 10 December 2022

Handicap Race (by John Burn)

Zero wind, a strong tide, frozen control lines and to top it off, rain, unsurprisingly equates to a low turn out in the handicap fleet Saturday morning.

Two Merlin Rockets and two National 12's either very keen or very foolish braved the unwelcoming conditions and made their way to the start.

The conditions did improve, slightly! The rain stopped and the wind came up just enough so the sailors could make headway against the tide and actually get to the first mark.

The course, set by race officer Graham Cranford Smith consisted of 3-X with X being dropped just off the Harbour Hotel foreshore.

Mike Hoyle and Sian Hodges in a National 12 along with Frances Gifford and Fiona Cranford Smith in one of the Merlin Rockets found a nice little puff off the line and quickly pulled out a 50m lead over the other two.

Will and Rob Henderson also in a Merlin Rocket soon found some pressure and did well to close the gap to the front two, they managed to get passed Frances and Fiona before Crossways but it was Mike and Sian who rounded first.

A slow drift with the tide towards X with just enough pressure to fill their spinnaker saw Will and Rob take the lead but as the little breeze there was died the front 3 all bunched up again. The wind swung direction as they arrived at the ferry landing and they were now beating again.

Will And Rob did just enough to take line honours but Mike and Sian won on corrected time notching up their second win of the series. Frances and Fiona finished 3rd.

Solo Race (by David Greening)

Despite freezing temperatures and mill pond conditions eight Solo sailors with little better to do on a Saturday morning drifted to the start line and attempted to hold station against a spring ebb tide, while the Race Officer debated on how far to send the fleet whilst ensuring they would return in daylight.

On the sound of the hooter James Greenhill found a whisper of breeze on the tideline, and led the fleet toward Snapes Point while Mike Hodges carved a more conservative leeward route, with the intention of using the back eddy to propel him to the Crossways mark. James and Chris Cleaves played the shifts to get to Crossways, and somehow managed to avoid having to stem the tide to reach the mark, to round first and second ahead of Dobson and Fells.

The leaders found fresh breeze at the Ferry to round the X mark comfortably ahead. Fortunately, Graham Cranford Smith, the Race Officer spared the fleet a second lap and shortened the race, a good call since shortly after the wind shut down completely.

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