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ITCA South West Topper Traveller at Salcombe Yacht Club

by Sara Glazebrook 18 Jun 01:53 PDT
South West Topper Traveller at Salcombe © Graham Cranford-Smith

South West Toppers were delighted to make a return visit to Salcombe Yacht Club on Sunday 13th June for the third event in their Summer Traveller series. Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, with a light breeze on the Batson Slipway. Regular Salcombe sailors promised a sea breeze and talked of tidal challenges!

With the pre-launch briefing complete, sailors made their way to Smalls Beach to meet up with Race Officer Graham Cranford Smith to run through the race format. I've listened to lots of pre-race briefings, but never one in such a fabulous place as this.

With technicalities complete racing beckoned, and the sailors made their way back into the estuary watched by quite a crowd on the sandy beach. As promised, they were met by a northerly breeze which combined with a conflicting sea breeze and a strong ebbing spring tide. Pretty testing racing conditions and a steep learning curve for some of these sailors.

Race 1 with a Club line start was set up as a simple windward-leeward, but the very light northerly, and the need to beat against a strong ebb left the fleet split. The leading group of Joe Reid, Finn Caddy and Robin Phipps made the best of the conditions and drew clear of the chase group. The notorious tidal gate at the Ferry steps was a particular challenge and one that will be talked about for a while in some circles!

The tricky conditions dictated a shortened course. Joe Reid rounded the top mark off Ditch End in good shape and finishing well ahead of Finn Caddy on the run.

After and early lunch and an opportunity for the sailors to assess the conditions, and their performances, the race team deployed the committee boat for the three remaining back-to-back races.

Race 2 saw the start move to a line off Millbay in what was by now a southerly sea breeze, with 7 knots of wind. A windward mark off Blackstone, and leeward off Smalls Cove together with the ebb tide provided more testing challenges.

The start saw three OCS leading to a general recall and return to the start line. It was great to see such a high standard of boat handling throughout the fleet on the start, and the race quickly got under way second time round.

Again, it was Joe Reid who rounded the windward mark ahead of the fleet, with a change in challenge coming from Kyle Muelener. Joe held his lead and crossed the finish line ahead of Kyle with Robin Phipps in third. Lessons were being learned and the fleet remained in much closer contact with the leaders.

Expectations were high for challenges to the lead in race 3. This started in similar conditions to Race 2 and the emerging leaders again fought it out for the top spots with Finn Caddy eventually crossing the line ahead of the other sailors.

Race 4 didn't disappoint and proved to be possibly the most interesting and frustrating race of the day as a dramatic 180-degree wind shift at the end of lap 2 quickly evaporated Lara Odling's strong lead, leaving Robin Phipps the victor.

Racing finished and the safety boats escorted the sailors back to Batson. Some the stragglers managed to ground their boats on the return trip so walked the last bit back to the slipway, and thankfully one parent, after some frantic semaphore signals, was rescued from Smalls Beach by the race team!

Sailing at Salcombe was a real treat and we hope that we will be able to make a return visit in 2022. Huge thanks go to Salcombe Yacht Club, Andrew Wood as event coordinator, Race Officer Graham Cranford Smith, and supporting team.

Extremely close scoring with the top three sailors all on equals points.

Overall Results:

1st Girl: Lara Odling
1st Salcombe Yacht Club: Issy Wood

PosClassSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4Pts
1stTopper46522Joe Reid11‑446
2ndTopper47731Finn Caddy2‑6136
3rdTopper47732Kyle Muelener‑92226
4thTopper48433Robin Phipps‑33317
5thTopper46895Lara Odling4‑75514
6thTopper48300Zara Williams6‑116719
7thTopper45654Maddie Jinks75‑9820
8thTopper47085Huw Beare‑1248921
9thTopper30827Issy Glazebrook‑887621
10thTopper48685Issy Wood5‑12101025
11thTOPPER 4.246025Alex Jones109‑121130
12thTopper48172Freddie Reynolds111011(DNS)32
13thTopperTBCFreddie Cunnell(DNC)DNCDNCDNC42

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