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Salcombe Yacht Club Autumn Series Race 7

by John Burn & David Greening 17 Oct 2023 09:16 BST 14 October 2023

Fast Handicap Report (by John Burn)

Once again, on Saturday, the sun was shining down on Salcombe, but there was a notable chill in the air for the penultimate race in the Autumn Series.

13 teams arrived at the start: 9 Yawls, a 505, RS400, Albacore, and it was good to see Mark Savage out in his K1 again.

The course 7-3-7-2 ensured the majority of the racing was located at the top end of the harbour, where a more stable breeze would be found. There would, however, be a tricky section in front of the clubhouse to navigate at both the start and finish of the race. Typically, Salcombe in a north-westerly, this area would decide the winners and losers.

John and Frankie Burn in Y170 got off the line quickly, and with the exception of Peter Colclough and Alister Morley in the 505, they led the fleet through the bag for the first leg.

They were caught downwind and rounded mark 3 just ahead of Dan Bridger and Steven Galvin in Y159 with Olly Turner and Chris Skelhorn in Y68 also hot on their heels. The front runners battled it out on the second trip to mark 7, and as they returned to the main harbour, the breeze became unpredictable and lacking.

This allowed the chasing fleet to close right up, which, as predicted, resulted in the top four spots being awarded to the boats with the highest PY number, in this case blue fleet yawls.

Final finishing order:

1st Olly Turner and Chris Skelhorn, Y68
2nd Robert Smith and Robin Piggott, Y123
3rd Mike Knowles and Nicky Bass, Y15
4th John Smithers and Pete Hughes, Y19

Solo Report (by David Greening)

Saturday saw the seventh and final race of the Salcombe Yacht Club Autumn Series with yet another bumper turnout of eighteen Solo sailors coming to the start line. Race officer Simon Ballantine set a course with two laps between Crossways and Gerston providing solid beating and running in the upper reaches of the harbour, followed by the nerve wracking possibility of the leaders throwing away their hard earns positions when returning to the finish in the harbour in a north westerly.

The building flood tide saw most of the fleet bearing down at the start to get back behind the line, with early starters including Tim Law and Will Henderson having to restart under the individual recall signal.

David Greening and James Greenhill were first to get away from the starting area, but by Snapes had been overhauled by Chris Cleaves, Simon Yates and Simon Dobson, this group forming the leading cohort on the windy beat to Gerston, where Cleaves pulled out into a comfortable lead.

On the downwind legs, Tim Law, having made a remarkable recovery, and Tim Fells worked their way into the leading pack.

Returning to the harbour the wind became increasingly unstable, and with the Race Officer delaying shortening until after the leaders had rounded the Mill Bay mark, required careful navigation around anglers lines in order to escape the tide.

On the very shifty beat back to the finish Cleaves should have had the race in the bag, however a hole in the wind and and a loss of traction, allowed Law to pull through from below him to take the win from Cleaves, followed by Dobson and Fells.

This gave Cleaves the Autumn series from Fells and Dobson. Worth noting that eighteen competitors did enough races to qualify for the series, with a total of twenty nine boats racing.

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