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Zhik 2023 September Seaboot 700 LEADERBOARD

Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series - Race 4

by John Burn & David Greening 14 May 21:53 BST 13 May 2023

Fast Handicap (by John Burn)

Saturday brought glorious sunshine which in turn led to a better turnout in the Fast Handicap fleet. The four Blue and two red fleet Yawls were joined on the start line by an Albacore, K1, Aero 7 and RS400.

The sea breeze set in just before the start but, with the initial course left in place it was a running start to mark 4. The McLaren's in their RS400, busy hoisting the spinnaker, didn't realise they were in-fact over the line so didn't go back. Unfortunately this earned them an OCS classification.

As the fleet made their way towards mark 4 It was irrelevant which side of the estuary you opted for. Around 100 yards out from the mark all four fleets converged and found themselves hunting for whatever gap they could in the hope that the mark was somewhere nearby.

With everyone eventually around the mark the sea breeze had finally set in and reached South Pool enabling swift progress out of the creek towards Blackstone.

Andrew and Sheila Squire in the Albacore quickly escaped the havoc at South Pool and made light work of picking a route through the endless stream of Solos as they progressed up the first beat.

John and Frankie Burn had a torrid time at Yalton. Trying to avoid damaging the slick new paint job they found themselves at the tail end of the group so had it all to do.

As the father and son team exited the creek they had swiftly worked their way through the pack and were now up to second place.

Andrew Wood and Chris Skelhorne in Yawl 68 found themselves in a close battle with Yawl 160 up the long beat to Blackstone. This contest continued for the remaining two legs of the race with advantage regularly switching between the two.

Once the handicaps had been applied there were only 15 seconds separating the top 3.

1st Andrew and Sheila Squire
2nd John and Frankie Burn
3rd Andrew Wood and Chris Skelhorn

Thank you to the race team and safety boat crews who, perhaps unintentionally, provided an initially frustrating but highly entertaining afternoon on the water. Particularly enjoyed by our Junior section who thought it was an absolute blast mixing it up with the fleets at Mark 4.

Solo Race (by David Greening)

An excellent turnout of twenty Solos appeared at the starting line on a day when the forecasts offered little prospect of stretching the legs.

The sailors were therefore quite excited when a sea breeze arrived twenty minutes before the start, so most practised the solid beat to Blackstone in preparation for the start. However the requisite 1 board never appeared on the race box, so the fleet divided equally between the Salcombe and the Portlemouth shores running to the Yalton mark against the ebb tide. The choice was to take the shorter Portlemouth route but risk losing the wind at Ditch End or take the more circuitous route across the entrance to the Bag. Some did both.

In fact, it meant very little which way you went since when the sea breeze met the gradient easterly 100 yards short of Yalton, the thirty five boats from the three fleets arriving at the mark at exactly the same time when the sea breeze won out. Chris Cleaves managed to emerge from the chaos keeping his eyes firmly forward with Simon Dobson, Olly Turner and Tim Fells also getting away before a Yawl without room closed the door on their pursuers.

After a quick course rearrangement, the fleet headed off to Blackstone, benefiting from their pre-start practice beats, but Cleaves got hauled in by Dobson, Fells and Turner down the final run into Crossways, followed by Paul Ellis who had made a good recovery from the carnage at Yalton, to finish 5th.

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