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Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series - Race 5

by Andrew Groves & John Burn & David Greening 22 May 18:39 BST 21 May 2023

Junior Handicap Race

What a day for sailing, blue skies, not much tide and a keen NE wind funnelling down the estuary. Alas only 3 juniors decided it was race day, but the three that did had a fantastic sail with a perfectly set course consisting of Crossways, Blackstone, Crossways, Ferry Mark.

The start, as usual with junior racing, took place a good 50m shy of the actual start line but Lewis Groves was first away in his RS Tera on a perfect starboard tack which saw him make good headway up towards the end of the fairway markers. Charlotte Simmonds and Dougie Roberts matched each other tack for tack but Dougie in the faster Zest pulled ahead of Charlotte in the Topper.

Lewis rounded Crossways first and built a good lead with Dougie following and sailing right on the edge, with little to no vang and running by the lee. Those watching were holding their breath, but either unaware of the potential for disaster or just pushing the limits, Dougie continued downwind with a mega twist in his leech, fully powered up, all the way to Blackstone without incident.

The race now settled into a pattern with Lewis leading the way and all boats spaced equidistantly around the course and it stayed like this until the end with Lewis taking a comfortable win. Despite finishing 2nd on the water Dougie was pushed to 3rd on handicap by Charlotte who sailed a strong race for a well deserved 2nd.

All 3 junior racers did incredibly well in what was a very stiff breeze that at times gusted a force 5.

Fast Handicap Race

Nine boats lined up on the start line to take on the superb course, 3-M-O-3-1-3-2, set by OOD Mike Whitehouse. As the fleet set off there was a close tacking battle between all of the competitors to the first mark. Initially, on the downing leg to Mark 'M', the Mclarens in the RS400 were unable to push their advantage and get away from the chasing pack but they managed to pick up a gust just off The Castle which propelled them clear ahead as the 400 now began to stretch its legs.

All the fleet headed down the Portlemouth shore except for the Yawl of Andrew Wood and Chris Skelhorn. They tried their luck on the Salcombe side but with the fairway still in operation they suffered by having to stay out in the tide.

With the RS400 gone, Will and Mandy Henderson in Y168 led the fleet out across The Bar with Andrew and Sheila Squire in the Albacore and John and Frankie Burn in Y170 for company. This trio pulled clear of the chasing pack as the conditions turned more unpredictable once they reached Wolf Rock. The battle between Y168 and the Albacore continued throughout the race but the Henderson's eventually edged ahead and finished out in front.

John and Frankie spent most of the race chasing after the Henderson's and Squire's but as the breeze built throughout the afternoon they were themselves being chased down by Mike Knowles and Rob Withers in Y15. Mike and Rob stormed up both of the long, windy beats and began to reel in the lightweight Burn team, eventually taking advantage of a mistake from John and Frankie as they hit the final mark and had to carry out a penalty turn.

Final positions: Will and Mandy Henderson 168, Mike Knowles and Rob Withers 15, John and Frankie Burn 170.

Solo Race

Despite a low spring tide and the forecast of wind out of the north east quadrant, 19 Solos came to the start line and enjoyed an excellent course set by Race Officer Mike Whitehouse, which kept racing within the harbour and the Range.

With the tide under the start, Solo Class Captain Adrian Griffin made a conservative start and worked the left hand side of the beat to emerge in the lead at Crossways, he led a group including Tim Law down the Portlemouth shore, whilst the bulk of the fleet ran down the Town side.

Tim with a few others bailed out of the Portlemouth shore to lead the main fleet out to the seaward mark M, with nine boats drawing clear ahead of the rest of the fleet sailing a shifty beat to mark 0 across the mouth of the harbour with plenty of place changing.

With two laps of the harbour there were several changes of leader, with Paul Ellis, Tim Fells and Chris Cleaves all having their moment when the fleet converged on the final run, however it was Tim Law who prevailed over Paul Ellis followed home by Tim Fells.

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