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Salcombe Yacht Club Spring Series Race 6

by John Burn & David Greening 15 Apr 10:39 BST 13 April 2024

Handicap Report (by John Burn)

Ideal weather conditions attracted a strong turnout for the concluding race of the spring series, with 8 teams assembling at the start line.

Race Officer Phil King set the course, 1-5-1-3-1-3, utilising the main harbour - great for spectators frequenting the Club terrace!

The strong ebb tide and tactical manoeuvres resulted in some premature starts, necessitating boats to backtrack and clear themselves before officially commencing the race.

Despite initial promise, Peter Colclough and Robin Hodges in the 505 faced setbacks due to gear failure, impacting their chances of victory. Nonetheless, they persevered to cross the finish line and receive acknowledgment in the form of the finishing bell.

Andrew and Tris Squire sailed a great race in the Merlin Rocket, fending off competition from the formidable duo of Tim Fells and Fran Gifford aboard the Lark. While the Merlin claimed line honors, they were eventually bumped to 3rd place on corrected time.

Tim and Fran once again demonstrated their dominance, securing yet another 1st place finish with a significant 5-minute lead over the runner-up.

Olly Turner and Chris Skelhorn aboard Y68 had a good start to their season after a close fought battle with the two other Yawls they secured second place.

The overall series victory was clinched by John Burn and Fran Gifford in a Merlin Rocket, with special recognition to Fran for her exceptional performance, winning every race she sailed splitting her time between John and Tim.

Solo Report (Diary of a Weekend Warrior, by David Greening)

Forty minutes to the start, lets have a look at the cross from Fishermans to Snapes... looks like you can steam into the ebb tide, so cross late, and there is a great big hole under the point.

Sail down to Woodcot to see what the lay line into Blackstone looks like, looks like you can tack on the tide line in Crab Pots and lay Blackstone in one.

Do a couple of practice beats to check the boat set up, its quite lumpy for the amount of wind, so maybe a bit of foot off.

Phil King has set Blackstone, Saltstone, Blackstone, Crossways, Blackston, Crossways Line.

With the West South Westerly, the Watch House end of the line up by the Fairway, is where I need to be but a bit too early to secure pole position, so slip down the line, probably too far to leeward of the seventeen other boats, never mind Will is below me, so cant be too bad.

Drive over Will who promptly tacks and dips the whole fleet to get to the right. John pins me, and to tack and duck him is going to be too much pain even if I want to get to the right. When he goes, I go, and when I get to the right most of the fleet are ahead.

A couple of tacks gets me onto the lay line, and take a few boats that had to put an extra tack in.

Will rounds first followed by Roger, the fleet heads into Biddle Head, I pick up a handy puff which allows me a direct route to the point, and suddenly I am on the back of the leading pack. Need to concentrate, game plan is to get as close to the beach and out of the tide as possible by Smalls. Graham to leeward keeps working up, and Chubby to windward keeps driving down. Must keep clear of Graham.

Arrive at the Ferry landing, not ideal, two boats inside, but I want to cross late, so gybe onto starboard along Fishermans, then notice that Roger has crossed early and is steaming through the Town moorings, so gybe back and get over to the town side ASAP, leaving behind the bunch with much shouting from Chubby of Up, up, up!. Glad that I am not there.

Roger and I need to make some distance on the pack, or we will get swallowed up, so head to leeward of Roger so that we both have clear air, and he doesnt feel threatened. Get to the Snapes point and Roger gybes onto starboard and hits Swiftie and has to do turns, I cross toward Bungalow Point to avoid the hole, crikey I am leading, Billy is charging along to leeward, so looks like I have taken the right route.

Arrive at Ox, what should I do? Its a neapy tide and the wind is coming across the hill to windward, so stick to the Egremont side but wait to see if anyone crosses, Will and Chubby cross and leading the pack, and it is not too late to go with them. Need to be conservative so stay outside of the pontoons, but Will and Chubby head inside, and arrive at Tosnos ahead. Notice that Yotter is steaming along on the other side, so gybe to get to Halwell Point while there is wind, leaving Will and Chubby in a hole.

Yotter rounds Saltstone first, and Gavin planes in over me, and despite a feeble luff on my part, he gets room at the mark, Will benefits from my wide rounding to be on my transom.

Yotter goes low on the fetch, but Gavin looks like he wants to take me into the hole under Tosnos, fortunately he eventually cracks off, and seems to have done Will and me a favour, since we end up being lifted while Yotter and Gavin are knocked.

On entering the harbour it is Yotter, me and Will, Will gets past as I sail to high into the harbour, but a couple of shifts gets me back to crossing their transoms, and I hold on for the tack to the lay line to get back past Will, then Yotter and I get a handy gust to pull away.

Heading past Fishermans Yotter gybes out of the tide behind a line of trots, here is my chance, I stay outside the trots, gybe to Crossways, while Yotter has to sail further to pass the trots.

One and a half laps to go, mustn't mess this up! Fortunately, the tide is underneath me, and I can now pick and choose when to tack on the shifts, a couple of these tacks are quite handily in front of Yotter...

Go round Blackstone first I now know that the new ship is fast downwind, so feel comfortable on the run, only to glance behind me at Fishermans to see Yotter and Will planing down the harbour on a massive gust, oh dear I think, fortunately I pick up the same gust, rounding Crossways ahead of Yotter, bang in a loose cover, to take the win, a wave to the RO Phil King and watch Yotter and Will finish ahead of the pack led in by Roger.

Had better go for a beer this week!

Series results can be found here.

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