Salcombe Yacht Club Festive Series Race 1
Published 12:50 on 19 Dec 2017
Another Saturday, another high-pressure system and another light and fluky north westerly; Salcombe’s sailors are having to get used to a persistent lack of wind this autumn and winter. It is hard to believe that it was only two years ago that a succession of gales virtually wiped out all sailing in November and December. Nevertheless, 17 boats lined up for the start of the first race of the Festive Series in which all classes compete against each other under the Portsmouth Yardstick handicap system in the spirit of seasonal bonhomie.
Those familiar with Salcombe know that a light north westerly creates tricky conditions, the wind funnelling down Batson Creek meeting the breeze coming up the harbour to produce a large no wind zone just about where the club’s start/finish line is located. Getting away from this calm patch is where the race would be won and lost. The Race Officer set a course of a couple of laps in the main harbour, using a temporary mark off the fuel barge as there was no wind at all further up the estuary.
Paul Ellis in his Phantom was first to break out of the dead zone and accelerate away towards the first mark, followed by a closely packed group that included Ian Stewart in another Phantom, Dan Bridger in an Aero, Peter Colclough in an RS400 and the Solos of Pete Bennet, Phil King and Simon Dobson. By the time the fleet had rounded the mark, negotiated the no wind area once again and was on its way to Blackstone, the Phantoms were at the front chased by the Aero and the Solo of Simon Dobson. The leaders rounded Blackstone and progressed fairly smoothly back up to the temporary turning mark but ran out of wind again on the penultimate leg, allowing the slower boats to close up on the Phantoms and the Aero. With the flood tide now running harder, rounding the final mark off Mill Bay compressed the fleet still further and with only a short down tide leg to the finish remaining, the Solos were now in the driving seat on corrected time. In the end they took the first seven places in a race that favoured the slower boats in the fleet.
1st Simon Dobson Solo 5676
2nd Pete Bennet Solo 5444
3rd Phil King Solo 5568
Written by Simon Dobson
Photographs by Margaret Mackley
Last updated 10:07 on 10 February 2018