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Salcombe Yacht Club Spring Series Race 4

by John Burn & David Greening 2 Apr 10:09 BST 30 March 2024

Handicap Report (by John Burn)

Under the radiant Easter weekend sun and a brisk 10-15 knot SSE breeze, a bustling fleet of nine boats gathered for race 4 of the spring series.

Race Officer Simon Yates set a course consisting of 1-7-5-7-1-3, capitalising on the favourable conditions at the top end of The Bag. Among the contenders were four Merlin Rockets, three Lasers, one 505, and the season's first Yawl, each eager to chart the swiftest path to Blackstone.

The 505 of Peter and Craig Colclough, alongside John and Katy Meadowcroft in one of the Merlin Rockets, swiftly rounded the mark and opted for the Portlemouth Shore, closely followed by Will and Arthur Henderson in another Merlin Rocket.

As the fleet jostled for position, John and Frankie Burn executed a strategic gybe once around the mark, heading for better pressure along the Salcombe Town shoreline, which propelled them to the front of the pack as they reached the ferry landing.

Maintaining their momentum, the Burn Merlin continued to lead the fleet through the 7-5-7 loop but were overhauled by the Meadowcroft duo on the long beat back to Blackstone. The Meadowcroft Merlin extended their advantage, securing a commanding position as they manoeuvred through the tricky conditions in the main harbour.

Meanwhile, the Hendersons navigated the return through The Bag well, and employing the spinnaker as they rounded Snapes Point narrowed the gap to the Burns, ultimately securing second place on corrected time.

In a separate skirmish, Christian Day and Andrew Groves engaged in a tight battle aboard their Laser Radials, with the lead changing numerous times. Groves initially led the charge, but Day's strategic prowess enabled him to seize a decisive lead, only to be hunted down by Groves before reaching Blackstone. The back-and-forth continued, with Day's route down the middle of the harbour on the return from Crossways proving pivotal as he clinched third place at the finish line.

Solo Report (by David Greening)

Salcombe Yacht Club Spring Series 4 encouraged an excellent turnout of twenty one Solo Sailors. Race Officer Simon Yates set the best course that he could in a South Easterly force 3-4 on an ebb tide, sending the fleet to Blackstone, then into the Bag for a loop of Gerston, Saltstone and Gerston, before returning back to Blackstone and Crossways.

With the tide under the start, the RO let the start go, so it was Olly Turners conscience rather than an X flag that saw him duck back behind the line.

Tim Law and David Greening were first around Blackstone, having worked some puffs coming out of the beaches to port of the fleet, and headed toward Biddle, whilst the rest of the fleet led by Tim Fells and Will Wall headed Town side. Law and Greening crossed back to the pack, with Greening picking up a small gust that saw him establish a small lead up to Tosnos.

Tim Fells, Simon Dobson and Will Wall gybed early at Tosnos catching Greening up, and by Gerston John Evans and Graham Cranford-Smith had joined the leading pack for the two solid beats back from Gerston. In the melee, Tim Fells managed to keep clear air to pull ahead, and by Snapes Fells led from Wall and Greening.

After an hour of great racing, the fleet rafted up off Woodcot Rocks in the wind shadow of the Portlemouth shore, as the wind went east. By Blackstone a number of front of fleet regulars who had been languishing in the middle of the pack came into play, including Chris Cleaves, who quite literally headed hard into the Salcombe shore in order to stem the tide to emerge into the lead and which he maintained to the finish, taking the winning gun from Simon Dobson and Graham Cranford-Smith.

Series results can be found here.

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