The Final Race of the Winter Series.
Published 12:40 on 18 Dec 2023
The 2023 Fast Handicap Winter Series concluded on Saturday with improved wind conditions, averaging 8-10 knots from the W-SW. Six boats participated: two Merlin Rockets, John and Annie McLaren in their RS 400, Andrew and Tris Squire in an Albacore, and Emily Hoar along with her father Greg each sailing a Laser 4.7.
Benefiting from a strong ebb tide, the fleet swiftly progressed to the first mark, where the top four boats arrived with not much to separate them. The RS400 team opted for the Salcombe shore, while the Merlin Rockets and Albacore chose the Portlemouth side.
John Burn and Charlotte Simmonds sailing a Merlin Rocket swiftly gained a lead on the downwind leg to Crossways, followed by the more experienced duo of John and Ollie Meadowcroft in the second Merlin.
During the return to Blackstone, the Meadowcrofts narrowed the gap on John and Charlotte, while Andrew and Tris Squire in the Albacore kept the leading Merlins within reach.
In the subsequent downhill stretch, John and Charlotte once again demonstrated their speed, securing an unassailable lead for the final loop of the harbor. The Albacore team, Andrew and Tris, maintained close proximity to the Meadowcroft Merlin, securing second place, with John and Ollie claiming third.
John and Charlotte took top position in the Winter Series, an impressive feat, especially considering Charlotte's unfamiliarity with the Merlin Rocket.
By John Burn
Photos - Lucy Burn