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Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series - Race 4

by John Burn & David Greening 13 May 11:10 BST 12 May 2024

Solo fleet

The forecast Easterly breeze did not put off fifteen Solo sailors from coming to the starting line.

Fortunately, the wind inside of the harbour was aligned to allow beat and running, and race officer Graham Cranford-Smith set an adventurous course that took the fleet out of the harbour at low tide and taking advantage of the stronger Easterly breezes to be found beyond Lambury Point.

A competitive start saw Tim Law, followed by David Greening make the no tide zone of the Yawl trots first, allowing then to round the windward mark at Crossways in first and second, with an invigorated Rob Peebles and Simon Yates in immediate pursuit down the lengthy run to Starehole.

As Tim Law surfed merrily away on the wash of the South Sands Ferry, those to windward in the pursuing pack made good gains on new breeze, including Commodore Simon Dobson, who made a speedy recovery from his annual buoyancy test.

Whilst Law headed up the beat, Greening managed to sneak second around the leeward mark by reaching in from the rocks, followed by Peebles.

There followed an three mile windward leg, and whilst Law continued to extend his lead, Greening became becalmed under Halwell Woods, allowing Dobson and Chis Cleaves planed past him on either side!

This remained the formation to the finish with Rob Peebles picking up fifth place.

Fast Handicap fleet

The fourth instalment in the SYC Sailing Club Series proceeded under the watchful eye of Race Officer Graham Cranford-Smith. The sun was shining and a steady force 3 had set in from the E-NE, so all that was left now was to set the course, and what a course it was!

3 - M - O - 7 - 1 - 3 - 2 was displayed from the Watch House Balcony, which quickly caused mutterings on the water such as "have you seen the course?" and "where's M?" as sailors tried to recall which mark was indeed M and which was O.

The mixture of 13 boats got under way to the sound of an individual recall, with Yawl 145 being deemed OCS for the second race in a row.

The fleet quickly arrived at Crossways with the McLarens RS400 out front, followed by John and Frankie Burn in Yawl 170, with Tim Fells and Fran Gifford in a Lark a close third.

The fleet maintained formation on the long downwind leg to Stare Hole Bay, with the exception of Tim and Fran, who worked their way past John and Frankie, arriving at M just ahead.

As the sailors made their way across to mark O and then back across The Bar, the wind speed had slightly increased in the vicinity of the Blackstone Rocks. The beat back through the harbour saw the Lark unable to stretch their advantage over the Yawls as Olly Turner and Chris Skelhorn in Yawl 68 powered their way up the beat, catching the lighter-weight Burn team in the process.

The two front-running Yawls worked their way past the Lark as they entered the bag, but it was not long before the Lark was flying the spinnaker and planed off into the distance, heading for Gerston.

The race officer opted to shorten the race on the way back from Mark 7, and as the front runners exited the bag, John and Frankie got back past Olly and Chris but were unable to pull enough of a gap to beat them on corrected time.

Andrew Groves, sailing his Laser Radial, had quietly gone about his business, finding the quickest way around the course. Andrew was rewarded with a well-deserved second position on corrected time, with the gap to third just one second, showing how close the racing in the handicap fleet is!

Results can be found on the Salcombe Yacht Club website here.

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