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Salcombe Yacht Club Bucket and Spade Series - Race 3, Creek Challenge

by John Burn 21 Aug 14:26 PDT 20 August 2022
Salcombe YC Bucket and Spade Series - Race 3, Creek Challenge © Lucy Burn

Saturday 20th saw the annual Three Creek Challenge take place as part of the Bucket and Spade Series.

For those of you not in the know, as the name suggests the course would involve navigating the 3 main creeks of the estuary, Bowcombe, Frogmore and Yalton before a quick loop of the main Harbour to finish off. Course 8-5-6-4-2-3.

With a neap high tide on his hands, race officer Dan Bridger chose to go with a running start to get the fleets on their way up the creeks as soon as possible to ensure no one would get left behind - stuck in the mud!

Suzy Andrews sailing a Club Topper won the five strong Junior/Family fleet. Unfortunately due to the constant changing and swapping of boats we don't have the names of the other competitors to credit them with their positions but second was our Club RS Zest 3 and third Club Topper 49019.

There was a superb turn out of 26 for the handicap start with a good mix of boats all vying for victory.

Olly Alexander in his Phantom was first to reach Mark 8 closely followed by Tim Fells in his Aero 7. Frances Gifford and Helen Hilditch had some work to do in the faster Merlin Rocket as they found themselves rounding Bowcombe in 3rd.

Meanwhile just behind the small front group Billy Jago in a Solo had managed to break clear of the main pack and had a pretty sizeable lead over the next Solo of Paul Ellis as he made his way back from Bowcombe.

It was pretty hectic at Mark 8 for the rest of the fleet as they steamed into the mark arriving at pretty much the same time making for some good spectating.

The close racing continued up Frogmore creek and down to Yalton with Frances and Helen just managing to get past Olly by the time they arrived at the mark. However as always Tim was lurking close by and if the Merlin wanted victory it would need to put the hammer down.

As the two leading Solos approached mark 4 Paul had closed right up to Billy who now had a battle on his hands as he tried to keep Paul behind.

When it was all said and done It was Tim Fells in the Aero 7 who emerged victorious with Frances Gifford and Helen Hilditch in the Merlin Rocket second.

Paul Ellis did manage to overhaul Billy and finished of the podium in third (first Solo).

There were only three Yawls out on Saturday to take on the 3 creek challenge, a real shame as the conditions were brilliant.

Phil King and John Sleep navigated The Bag well and managed to pull out a small lead over John Burn and Peter Andrews who were in hot pursuit. Not too far behind was Alastair Harrison and Will Grant who managed to stay in touch until around Mark 6. This is when the two out front started to pull away fast though as they made their way out of the creek and back through The Bag.

On the beat out of Yalton Phil and John managed to maintain the initial lead they had formed in the early part of the race over John and Peter who were now running out of time and ideas to try and catch them.

The positions stayed the same right to the finish with the gap pretty consistent between the front pair all race.

Phil King and John Sleep - 1st
John Burn and Peter Andrews - 2nd
Alastair Harrison and Will Grant - 3rd

Thank you to Dan Bridger and the rest of the team for an excellent afternoon on the water.

Results -

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