Salcombe Yacht Club Festive Series 2023/24
Published 10:49 on 3 Jan 2024
Eleven competitors, mainly in Solos, turned up for the 1st race of the Salcombe Yacht Club Festive Series 2023/24 on Saturday 23rd December. Despite the forecast westerly breeze, gusting over 30 knots, with Barney Greenhill running proceedings, racing went ahead, with a course comprising three loops of the harbour.
Race 1 -
Despite the westerly forecast, the wind was bouncing off both shores, which provided Will Henderson with the opportunity to cross the fleet off the starting line on port tack, which secured himself and Tim Law the opportunity to dog fight or the top spot, with Law prevailing at the finish.
Chris Cleaves and Simon Dobson fought for the remaining podium, with Cleaves making best of the awkward conditions. The remainder of the fleet provided plenty of entertainment for the Christmas spectators, with Dan Bridger winning the capsize of the day award for a trip down the mine, followed by a San Francisco roll, to test out his new drysuit.
Special mention should be made of Charlotte Simmonds plucky performance in front of John Burns' Merlin Rocket in conditions that were definitely on the edge.
Race 2 -
Conditions for the second race on Boxing Day could not be more different on Boxing Day, when abandonment seemed more likely due to lack of wind. Barney Greenhill went ahead and set a course that would eventually comprise X and 2.
James Greenhill managed to work his Solo ahead, sailing a great circle route in flat calm conditions along the Portlemouth shore, to round X ahead of the more fancied Merlin Rocket of Burn/Simmonds. They sped down until the flood tide set in, but at least they benefited from the tide after eventually rounding mark 2.
The rest of the fleet, well at least those who didnt throw in the towel, had to contend with sailing most of the leg from X to 2 into the building tide. At Ager point a slight south westerly breeze built, which allowed Simon Dobson, Dan Bridger and Gavin Stevens to gather pace, and then run back to the shortened finish, with a Solo lockout of the top five places, with Greenhill securing the top spot by an eight minute margin.
Race 3 -
The third race of the series was held on New Years Day in breezy wind against tide conditions, with the gusts coming through in excess of 30 knots. Race Officer Barney Greenhill wisely changed the windward mark from Blackstone to Mill Bay, followed by a trip to the Yalton mark and short loops of the harbour.
The Solo of Tim Fells led the fifteen boat fleet around the windward mark and immediately gybed toward the Salcombe shore, making distance on the pack that headed for the Portlemouth shore.
The Merlin Rockets sailed by John Burn and Charlotte Simmonds and Andrew and Tris Squire pulled clear through the Solos at Yalton, with Tim Fells and Tim Law breaking ahead of Will Henderson in the Solos.
Two extremely windy runs followed, with big grins for those who worked the waves, which turned to anguish while contemplating the inevitable gybe off the Ferry, but it was on the penultimate beat that Law lifted over Fells and would eventually take line honours, whilst Roger Guess, Will Henderson, David Greening and Simon Dobson, who had recovered from an early capsize, arrived at the final mark together, to fight to the finish line for third place, taken by Guess.
So, Tim Law took the SYC Festive Series honours from Will Henderson, who was tied on points with Simon Dobson in a twenty two boat fleet. Special thanks to Barney Greenhill, who ran all three races, and held his nerve to give competitors some excellent races in extreme conditions. Thanks also to the rest of the race team and to the safety boat crews.
By David Greening
Photos By Lucy Burn