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Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW LEADERBOARD

Salcombe Yacht Club Winter Series Race 2

by John Burn & David Greening 13 Nov 2023 13:33 PST 11 November 2023

Handicap Report

A mixture of seven boats took to the water on Saturday, despite the total lack of any discernible wind.

Race Officer Geof Gilson set a course that would keep the fleet in front of the race box, ensuring he had the opportunity, if he so wished to end the suffering should the conditions not improve.

As the fleet got under way, with the tide under them, they would soon arrive at the first mark, Crossways. Andrew and Sheila Squire in the Albacore relish the lighter conditions, and it was to be no different on Saturday. They rounded ahead of John and Annie McLaren in their RS400 and John and Frankie Burn in their Merlin Rocket.

The downhill leg to Blackstone would be a long, slow affair with a complete lack of noteworthy events. Both the Squire and Burn teams opted to hug the Portlemouth shore, while the McLarens took a gamble and crossed over to the town shoreline. It appeared to make no difference as they held position, with the Squires managing to modestly stretch their lead.

As there is no separate junior race in the winter months, Charlotte Simmonds, one of our most promising young talents, took to the water in a Topper. After a good first leg, Charlotte was able to keep pace with Sian Hodges in her Laser 4.7, but they soon found themselves swamped by a fleet of no doubt unruly Solos. Charlotte and Sian remained unfazed but unfortunately, this slowed their progress.

As the front three reached Crossways for the second time, the little wind there was had decided to switch off almost completely.

Not liking the look of the Portlemouth Shore, John and Frankie had made a dash for the town side as soon as they rounded the mark, while the McLarens and the Squires had headed off into Ditch End. The Merlin was making slow but steady progress, while the Albacore and RS400 had come to a standstill by the fuel barge.

Andrew and Sheila made the decision to bail out and headed over to join John and Frankie. It would turn out to be a very wise decision as it enabled them to retain their lead, taking line hours with John and Frankie claiming second. The McLaren's unfortunately chose not to head across the estuary, and they soon found themselves becalmed, resulting in the paddle coming out and they headed for Batson.

Charlotte held her nerve and stuck it out, which earned her a very well-deserved third place.

Solo Report

For your correspondent Salcombe Yacht Club Winter Series Race 2 for Solos was best forgotten, in fact if it were not for the need for a race report, the Race Results page of the Salcombe Yacht Club website would have been left unattended until better results could be filed, however having been shamed by the Handicap correspondent, who found much to say about an inconsequential race, but had a far more successful day than the Solo correspondent, a Solo report had to be compiled.

Twelve Solo sailors came to the line in drifting conditions. A flood tide was building, and any wind that there was came out of the Easterly quadrant. The wind at Prawle Point was reading 1mph and the flag on Salcombe Church was hanging vertical. With a course set by Geoff Gilson up harbour to Crossways it was a challenge to start on the non-course side of the starting line. Something that class captain Adrian Griffin failed to achieve to the sound of the Individual Recall signal and chose to ignore.

The early front runners at the first mark were Chris Cleaves, Simon Dobson, David Greening and James Greenhill, with Bill Jago and Mike Hodges closing in. This group sought to get out of the tide as soon as possible, and with much tactical gybing while fighting to secure inside berth on the Portlemouth shore.

The infighting allowed Chris Cleaves to be first to cross the Ferry landing, which secured him sufficient clean air to pull away from the pursuing pack. And he was around the leeward Blackstone mark, storming back with the tide, while the rest of the fleet was floundering off Biddle Head.

By this stage the back of the fleet ran in against the tide on a North Easterly gust, Simon Dobson and James Greenhill held onto second and third places, while Bill Jago and David Greening were rolled by the pack, with Gavin Stevens securing forth place from Mike Hodges.

The RO mercifully put the fleet out of its misery by shortening on the beat home with Cleaves taking the win from Dobson and Greenhill.

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