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National 12 Dinghy Shack Open at Salcombe Yacht Club

by Graham Camm 12 May 06:13 BST 29 April - 1 May 2023
National 12s at Salcombe © Freya Lillywhite

The second event in the Dinghy Shack National Series was hosted by the Salcombe YC over the May bank holiday 29th April to the 1st May. Salcombe delivered on its microclimate promise with two fine days and moody sea mist rolling in on the Sunday.

The estuary provided its usual challenges of big shifts, big holes and zones of sea breeze fighting land breeze to test the sailors' nerves.

In the race one on the Saturday afternoon, Graham & Anya Camm in the Very Hungry Caterpillar were first off the line but Ollie Meadowcroft & 'Super' Cally in D.B.Cooper put in some excellent attacking moves using the fairway buoys tactically to quickly establish the lead. This was short lived however as they took a course out of the tide but into a hole by the ruins of Salcombe Castle. The Very Hungry Caterpillar stayed in the breeze slightly further into the tide and sailed into the lead which they protected to the finish.

Race 2 started in lighter winds on the Sunday morning with a grey sky. The race officer set a course in the main part of the harbour. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, this time with Felix Camm in the front, was again first off the line getting into the breeze in Smalls Bay ahead of the pack. The fleet short tacked all the way up to buoy number one at Blackstone, the patchy wind resulting in lots of place changes. D.B.Cooper established a solid second place but ran aground and had to retire to the beach for repairs. The Very Hungry Caterpillar lost the lead on the second lap as Tom & Isobel Stewart in Whitebait overhauled them in more pressure and with a big lift. Jon Ibbotson & Katy Meadowcroft in Atomic Kitten then pulled through into second at Blackstone. The top three stayed close with Whitebait claiming first place.

Sea mist rolled in over lunch time and killed the wind. The race officer attempted a third race but abandoned it half way through as the wind vanished from the harbour.

A fresher breeze greeted the fleet on the Monday morning accompanied by a blue sky and sun. Whitebait dominated the start line in race 3 with a mid-river start in the wind and with the tide pushing them along into an early lead heading to buoy seven towards Kingsbridge. The fleet were hot on their tails however and bunched up in the bag. Atomic Kitten took the lead for a while as the leading boats tacked up the bag towards number seven. On the run back towards the finish line the Very Hungry Caterpillar sneaked through into the lead to take first place.

In the final race Whitebait again dominated the start claiming the port biased end of the line and starting within a cat's whisker of the fairway - high risk but with a high reward. The fleet headed to number seven again and yet again bunched up in the bag. The Very Hungry Caterpillar took the lead on the way out of the bag plotting a course in the stronger wind and tide.

Overall Results:

1st Graham, Anya/Felix Camm. N3530 Very Hungry Caterpillar
2nd Tom & Isobel Stewart, N3544 Whitebait
3rd Ollie Meadowcroft & 'Super' Cally, N3543 D.B.Cooper
4th Jon Ibbotson & Katie Meadowcroft N3540, Atomic Kitten
5th Zoe Meadowcroft & Zoe Ballantyne, N3471 Lars Porsena Of Clusium

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