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Ovington 2021 - ILCA 1 - LEADERBOARD

Salcombe Yacht Club Summer Series - Race 7

by John Burn & David Greening 31 Jul 19:43 BST 29 July 2023

After losing races 5 and 6 due to bad weather, it was great to be back out on the water Saturday afternoon for the last race of the Summer Series.

Sailors and spectators alike were treated to a perfect combination of wind from the south-west, a neap flood tide (in the latter stages), and glorious sunshine. What more could you want? How about a blast up to Gerston and Back? No problem, thought Graham Pike, the Race officer, as he set the fantastic course 1-4-6-5-7-2-3 but opted to shorten, finishing the fleet on the leg back from 7.

Yawl fleet

A crowded start line of 15 Yawls set off, all trying to navigate the busy East Portlemouth shoreline. Will and Mandy Henderson in Y168 led from the hooter and found themselves in clear air and, more importantly, room to manoeuvre. They were closely followed by John Burn and Tristan Stone in Y170, who had also broken away from the pack, affording themselves the same freedom the Hendersons were enjoying.

There was a lot of commotion in the Millbay area emanating from a small group who, no doubt, found themselves struggling to contend with the multiple obstructions and risk of grounding all while trying to race each other to the mark.

The Hendersons led the fleet down to mark 4 and managed to extend their advantage over the chasing fleet. John and Tristan were left helpless on the long downwind leg as they saw their lead over Phil King and John Sleep in Y183 disappear before their very eyes. Not only did they close down their 50-metre lead, but they beat them to the leeward mark, perhaps due to the Howlett speed advantage downwind, or could it have been down to the extra pounds they had on board?

However, on the upwind leg out of Yalton, John and Tris set to work, knowing they would have to maximise their weight advantage if they were going to beat Y183. They were certainly fired up, quickly dispatched King and Sleep, and once again set about chasing after the Hendersons, who were now making their way through the Bag.

As per usual, it was fairly processional through the 6-5-7 part of the race, but it didn't take away from the fun. The breeze was building throughout the afternoon, and sailors were treated to an exhilarating blast from Saltone to Gerston and back. The leading two Yawls had pulled clear of the rest and finished as they were, with Will and Mandy first and John and Tristan second.

Behind them, though, the race for third was still on. King and Sleep had found themselves dropped by the leading pair and falling back into the clutches of the pack.

Mike Knowles and Nicky Bass in Y15 had shown exceptional speed all day and had won the battle between themselves and Y99 Stephen Galvin and Chris Spencer-Chapman, not only earning them Blue Fleet bragging rights but also snatching the final podium position away from King and Sleep.

There were unfortunately some breakages ranging from whisker poles to forestays, and in total, four had to retire from the race, but this didn't overshadow the entertaining afternoon spent blasting around the estuary.

Yawl results:

1st Will and Mandy Henderson, Y168
2nd John Burn and Tristan Stone, Y170
3rd Mike Knowles and Nicky Bass, Y15

Solo class

The fourteen competitors in the final race of the Salcombe Yacht Club Summer Series were greeted with a force 4 West South Westerly, a neap flood tide and sun. Race officer Graham Pike set an excellent course, making the most of the high tide, and taking the fleet into the creeks.

As is often the case the winner of the start on the Portlemouth shore, Paul Ellis, took control of the first beat and built up a lead of 50 yards by the Blackstone mark, with a pack of Cleaves, Guess, Bridger, Jago, Dobson and Greening fighting for the minor placings.

On the run down to Yalton Ellis had built a massive lead, whilst the chasing pack arrived for the bottom gybe mark together, none were prepared to give an inch. Bridger's gybe capsize also took out Jago, leaving the way clear for Cleaves, Guess, Dobson and Greening to scrap out the beat out of Yalton Creek.

When the chasing pack turned into Frogmore they were greeted to the sight of the capsized leading boat, but despite them closing in Paul sorted himself out and got back to the business of extending his lead. There followed two "big grin" reaches back and forth to Gerston by which time Chris Cleaves and Roger Guess had taken control of the minor places.

Back into the harbour, there was no shorten course flag, and on the final beat Guess had to take a two turn penalty following a port and starboard incident with Cleaves, unfortunately Guess took his 720 too literally and added a capsize to the number of required rotations, gifting third to Greening, from Dobson.

This gave the Summer Series to Chris Cleaves, from David Greening and Simon Yates, with thirty three Solo sailors competing in the series.

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