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Henri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed

Salcombe Yacht Club Summer Series Race 3

by John Burn & David Greening 26 Jun 2023 03:52 PDT 24 June 2023

Fast Handicap (by John Burn)

Course M,3, 1, 3, 2

There were just three entrants for race 3 of the Summer Series: Mark Waterhouse and Fran Gifford in a Merlin Rocket, John and Annie McLaren in an RS400, and Mark Savage in his K1.

The Merlin and RS400 quickly broke away from the slower K1 and arrived at the first mark at similar times, they then split strategies with the Merlin opting to head back into the Harbour over the Hipple sand bar and continue down the Portlemouth shore whilst the RS400 chose to stick to the Cliffs and head along the Salcombe Town shore.

As it turns out, they arrived at the next mark again in close quarters, with not much to split them.

As the north-easterly began to cancel out the sea breeze transition zones were now appearing as usual right in front of the Club House. The Mclarens in the RS400 managed to slip away from the Merlin and went on to finish 2 minutes ahead, but unfortunately for them, it wasn't enough to beat Mark and Fran, who on corrected time claimed victory. It was, however, good enough for 2nd position, and Mark in the K1 had to settle for 3rd.

1st Merlin Rocket: Mark Waterhouse and Francis Gifford
2nd RS400: John and Annie McLaren
3rd K1: Mark Savage

Yawl Race (by John Burn)

Course M, 3, 1

Nine Yawls arrived on the start line, and believe it or not, all nine got away cleanly. No one was called over, let alone the victim of an OCS, pointing to lessons hopefully being learned.

Will and Mandy Henderson were quick to get away, and in clear air, they soon formed a reasonable lead over the chasing pack and got round M first.

Dan and Gail Bridger were second around and closely followed by John and Frankie Burn. They remained side by side for much of the downwind leg back into the harbour and arrived at Crossways together, having closed the gap to the Hendersons.

As the fleet took on the loop of the harbour, the front three found themselves all back together as they reached the Watch House.

The sea breeze was dying as the north-easterly attempted to assert its dominance. This left the area in front of the club windless and confusing, not just for the sailors but no doubt also for the spectators.

John and Frankie looked like they might take the lead and sneak through under the Hendersons, but any thoughts of victory were soon put to bed as Will and Mandy were first to pick up the fresh breeze and once again sailed off into the lead.

Dan and Gail hunted down a nice puff to propel them into the more stable breeze and second place, overhauling John and Frankie.

The final leg back from Blackstone can only be described as stressful; there were huge shifts and lots of holes to try to navigate.

Upon rounding the final mark, Will and Mandy headed over to the town shore and started slowly making their way to the finish, while Dan and Gail sailed off towards Mill Bay in what initially looked like a good decision.

Unfortunately for the Bridgers the wind disappeared on them and they floundered helplessly as John and Frankie followed the Hendersons down the opposite side of the estuary in the more stable conditions. Final positions across the line and after the handicaps are applied

1st Will and Mandy Henderson Y168
2nd John and Frankie Burn Y170
3rd Dan and Gail Bridger Y159

Solo Race (by D.Greening)

Twenty-two Solo sailors turned up at the start line on a glorious summer afternoon. Surprisingly, despite the keenness of the competitors and the ebb tide, the fleet got away without a general recall, heading for mark M, located at the Bolt Head side of the Bar. The majority of the fleet headed out on the Limebury point side of the harbour entrance, but those who went toward the cliffs under Bar Lodge found the most wind.

Simon Dobson led around the mark and took a bold course into the tide toward the Portlemouth shore, whilst his pursuers including Mile Hicks, Chris Cleaves and Simon Yates rock hopped along the Salcombe side. An undecided Tim Fells started the run on the Salcombe side, but gybed off to join Simon.

Despite a two mile run on vastly different courses the divided fleet rejoined in close company at Crossways, by which time Hicks had established a decent lead.

On the beat back into the harbour, the gradient wind was clocking to the South East, and was doing its best to nullify the weak sea breeze, resulting in several restarts as the sailors debated whether to go left to find the new breeze, or right to make the most of the remaining sea breeze.

After a trip to Blackstone, the leaders crossed the tide from Millbay, with Chris Cleaves emerging from the pack to take the shortened course win, whilst Bill Jago and Mark Sancken, previously buried in the middle of fleet, kept to the beach side, found the breeze out of Mill Bay, to take second and third places from Tim Law.

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