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Salcombe Yacht Club 2023 predictions for the year ahead

by John Burn 17 Feb 09:37 GMT

As Salcombe Yacht Club gears itself up for an action packed 2023 season, we take a quick look at who may or may not have a smile on their face come the end of season prize-giving.

Firstly let's look at the Fast Handicap Fleet who, this season, have the additional challenge of the Salcombe Yawls to contend with.

The Yawl fleet have struggled for numbers in recent years so now find themselves on a Saturday afternoon taking on the handicap regulars such as the Squire Albacore and Hoyle National 12.

The question is, will anyone be able to take the fight to Will and Mandy Henderson who, rumour has it, will be mostly Yawling this season or, will they yet again dominate not only the Yawl events but the handicap fleet also?.

Perhaps a contender to upset the apple cart and de-throne the Hendersons could be Frances Gifford in her Merlin Rocket? - Always loitering at the top of the results sheet; if Fran is around then you know you're in for a tough race.

Equally the Squires in their Albacore have got quicker and quicker over the last season and seem to fly in the lighter conditions as does Mike Hoyle who had a strong end to the 2022 season in the National 12.

A solid outside bet might be John and Frankie Burn who, now with half a season in the Yawl under their belt, are quickly proving a force to be reckoned with. That, along with a winter go-faster paint job on Y170 could we see the father and son team topping the table?.

Over winter the Solo fleet in Salcombe continued to grow, so much so that it would be foolish to think of purchasing anything other than a Solo if you're looking for big fleet Club Racing.

The competition at the front is hotter than ever, especially with the inclusion of Tim Fells who burst onto the Solo scene towards the end of last season.

Tim led every Solo race he took part in at some point last season and managed to convert a couple of leads into victories, surely a tough nut to crack?.

Whilst on the subject of 'Tims' another front runner is sure to be Tim Law, always at the sharp end of the fleet and rarely makes a mistake. To beat the Tims you will need to be on top form.

Luckily for the spectators at Salcombe we have talent aplenty in the Solo fleet.

The likes of Olly Turner, Chris Cleaves, Simon Dobson, David Greening, Graham Cranford Smith and Simon Yates (to name but a few) are all more than capable of dominating the front end of the fleet, not to mention Paul Ellis if and when he returns from NZ.

Mark Waterhouse who, after a lengthy break from sailing due to injury is back fitting fit and raring to go. This keen bean is bound to be bothering the front runners more often than not.

To be honest in such a talented pool of sailors getting in the top 10 will be a notable achievement for most and something that's not to be sniffed at.

So with all that in mind and the action kicking off in two weeks why not venture down to the club on a Saturday afternoon to witness some of the most proficient and competitive sailors go toe-toe as they fight it out for the top spot week in and week out.

Oh and of course whilst all that's going on why not treat yourself to some of the excellent food and drink we have on offer with the best seats in the house!

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