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Salcombe Yacht Club Spring Series - Race 1

by John Burn 12 Mar 20:14 GMT 11 March 2023

Grey, drizzle, low water and the icing on the cake... a south easterly wind; Probably the worst combination Salcombe could throw at our sailors but it would take more than that to deter the 3 handicap teams and 8 Solos from having their race.

Race Officer Tim Fells was somewhat limited in terms of what course he could set and settled for 1-5-2-3, thankfully shortening the course as the fleets returned from 5.

Handicap Fleet

The handicap fleet would be first off containing Mark Waterhouse crewed by Francis Gifford in a Merlin Rocket, Andrew Squire, sailing with son in law Simon Evans, in the Albacore and finally Will and Mandy Henderson in their Lark.

Despite the supposedly various speeds between each class of boat, after a long, shifty beat, they eventually arrived at Blackstone with nothing really to separate them.

Whilst the Merlin and Albacore opted for the Salcombe side, the Hendersons chose to try their luck down the Portlemouth shore. Lady Luck was not shining down on them though and they found themselves spending a little too long at Millbay more than they would have liked.

This allowed the Merlin and Albacore to open up a gap as they headed off into The Bag where the breeze was a little more consistent. Mark and Fran now began to pull away from Andrew and Simon and emerged round Snapes first.

The leg from Snapes back to the finish line is where a race can easily be won or lost in a Salcombe south easterly. Equally it can also be down to boat handling. Mark, already knowing the perils of getting a foot stuck in a toe strap, found himself once again falling victim to a stuck foot and toe strap incident which in turn led them to run aground and subsequently filling up with water.

Whilst this palaver was going on just off the Ferry landing, the Albacore and Lark were steadily making their way to the finish line in a more organised fashion.

Andrew and Simon were victorious and on corrected time claimed 1st place with Will and Mandy 2nd. Mark and Fran ended up 3rd, loosing out on second place by 17 seconds.. a costly calamity as it turned out.

Solo Fleet

The Solo fleet saw Chris Cleaves getting away best as they took up the challenges of the shifty first beat. John Burn however reached Balckstone first as he picked his shifts well and rounded just ahead of Chris.

This pair proceeded down the town shore trading places whilst managing to eke out a small advantage over the rest of the pack led by David Greening as they entered The Bag.

The front two remained in a close battle all the way through the bag reaching Mark 5 together but it was David who performed best through this section of the race.

Whilst the front pair traded tacks David was powering his way up to them and managed to pass John before they exited The Bag rounding Snapes.

Chris managed to hold David off as the conditions turned light and flukey back in the main stretch of the harbour and was rewarded with 1st place.

David a well deserved 2nd with John finishing off the podium in 3rd.

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