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Salcombe Yacht Club Winter Series Race 1

by Dan Bridger & David Greening 30 Oct 2023 09:09 GMT 28 October 2023

Handicap Report (by Dan Bridger)

The first race of the Winter Series certainly felt like the end of the long, gentle autumn. 14°C, a force of 5/6 southerly, and the forecast of rain. Remarkably, four Yawls turned up, plus the 505 of Peter Colclough, crewed by Alistair Morley, and the ILCA 4.7 of Edward Alexander.

Thereafter, on the water wasn't as fierce as some had anticipated; the wind was steady, and the ebb tide hadn't kicked up too much wave. The start was uneventful once the 505 realised that we were sailing under Salcombe yawl rules, and a port tack yawl has priority over lesser boats on starboard.

That misunderstanding sorted out the 505 disappeared in a cloud of spray. Its progress was interrupted only by a beaching when the lifting rudder lifted at terminal velocity. In the yawls, Y159 of Dan Bridger, crewed by Stephen Galvin, powered into the lead and were never headed; Y145, Greg, and Clare Hoar were safely in second, aided by a recorded plane on the run, against the tide, of 9.4 knots.

Y15 Mike Knowles and crew David Fitzsimons were 3rd, and the dream team of Rob Adams and Darius Panahy were lagging in 4th. (As they didn't come to the bar afterwards, I don't know if they had an excuse.) Edwards ILCA was upright whenever I saw it, and I suspect it was only the wind shifting south-easterly and dropping at the end that stopped him from winning.

Overall, the times were pretty close. Yawl 159 first, 505 second, and ILCA 198156 third.

To cap off a good day out, the handicap fleet made it ashore before the most apocalyptic rain came down, killing the wind and drowning the Solo and Merlin Rocket fleets.

Solo Report (by David Greening)

As the Solo sailors glanced up the course toward Blackstone there was some trepidation to see the 505 of the sailing god that is Peter Colclough smitten by an enormous southerly gust coming from the south, it was therefore with some relief to them that the Race Officer decided to reign in the windward mark from X to the Millbay mark, with multiple laps to Crossways.

The favoured start was from the Portlemouth shore, tacking onto port to get the maximum benefit from the spring ebb tide. A compact group of Solos arrived at the windward mark, with Tim Fells gybing across the tide toward the windier Salcombe shore followed by John Burn, Chris Cleaves and Gavin Stevens, while Simon Dobson led David Greening and Mike Hodges down the Portlemouth side. By the time the Portlemouth group had realised their error, they were to have to play catch up for the rest of the race.

Whilst Tim Fells extended his lead, the wind continued to pick up between the Ferry and the windward mark and the third beat saw Burn capsize and dropping out of the leading group, while Stevens had a death roll capsize on the final run.

This led to Cleaves, Dobson and Greening covering each other to take second, third and fourth in short order.

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