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Marine Resources 2022 - LEADERBOARD

Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series - Race 1

by Chris Cleaves 18 Apr 06:03 BST 15 April 2023

The forecast was for a WNW 8 knts backing to a WSW sea breeze by start time. As the fleet ran out of Batson the transition zone for the two winds could clearly be seen.

Of course, this being Salcombe this dead area straddled the start line. But the wind gods smiled on us so with ten minutes to go the new sea breeze filled in across the 141423 course. Thirteen boats came to the start as a number of soloist were on Race Box and Patrol Boat duties hence the depleted fleet, for the Merlin Rocket Open Meeting.

First off the line were Law and Dobson followed by Cleaves. In the mix was Nigel Blazeby. These four became engaged in a tactical battle on the Portlemouth shore. Unfortunately this pack were so engrossed with their private race they didn't notice Simon Yates and Gavin Steven taking a big port lift to the front by standing out from the shore. So the battle was on for bragging rights to reach the windward mark first. Nigel Blazeby inched ahead, tacked in the header in Mill Bay and promptly decided it was a good time to do a righting lever inspection. It worked, the lever that is, but unless the flappy bit is kept pointing at the sky it tends to slow you down.

Obviously this impressed Law enough to do his own inspection some thirty seconds later. His preferred method is to loose grip on the mainsheet and roll into windward. First to the mark was Dobson, followed by Stevens, "Yotter" Yates then Cleaves. Law had recovered quick enough to be fifth but some way back. The long run to four was uneventful with Dobson rounding a clear first.

On the beat back to one, Dobson pulled out further as the peloton slowed themselves down fighting for position with Law moving up to Second Yates third and Cleaves fourth. Stevens had just fallen back form this leading pack and was starting to feel the presence of Ian McGregor and Chris Spenser Chapman.

On the next run to four, the Merlin fleet who was sailing the same course starting to infiltrate the back of the Solo fleet and gradually pulled through. This present another tactical option, avoid being sat on by the pointy boats with spinnakers. Dobson rounded the leeward mark before he was rolled so had fairly clear air to the finish of the now shortened course. The rest of the fleet hadn't faired so well and had to carefully pick their lanes to get to the finish. In the mealy Cleaves managed to pull through to second with Law third and Yates a very close fourth.

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