THE COMMENCEMENT of the annual Yawl training weekend marked the kickoff for Salcombe’s Sailing Club Series, boasting a formidable lineup of 20 boats at the starting line.

The stage was set for an exciting race, albeit marred by an individual recall as two Yawls misjudged the start sequence. A challenging endeavour ensued as they manoeuvred amidst the sea of boats, grappling with wind shifts and battling against the current to correct their positions.

In a remarkable display of skill, Olly Turner, accompanied by the promising young talent Charlie Mackenzie as crew, took the lead aboard Y68. Despite Charlie's novice status in Yawl sailing, their synergy propelled them towards victory. With precision and determination, they outpaced the competition, securing first place with a commanding lead of 35 seconds, leaving seasoned contenders like Tim Fells and Fran Gifford in the Merlin to play catch-up.

Tim and Fran's commendable recovery efforts earned them a well-deserved second place on corrected time, while the Squires in the Albacore clinched third with a consistent performance.

Under the expert guidance of Race Officer Malcolm Mackley and his team, Saturday's race unfolded seamlessly, with a challenging yet rewarding long course that garnered praise from participants.

FOR the opening race of the Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series, there was a good turnout of 21 Solos. 

Race Officer Malcolm Mackley set an excellent course considering the tricky East-North-Easterly force-three breeze and made the most of the limited amount of water that was available by sending the fleet to Gerston by way of Crossways, then Blackstone to Y followed by rounds of Millbay and Crossways over a neapy flood tide.

Salcombe Yacht Club
A Solo sailor. Picture by Lucy Burn. ( )

There was plenty of competition for pole position off the Portlemouth shore at the start, Simon Yates, Graham Cranford-Smith and Will Henderson making speedy getaways, whilst a few of the regular front runners struggled to find clear lanes.

By Gerston Henderson led Yates with Bill Jago in pursuit. Henderson led most of the fleet to the Saltstone shore, whilst Yates and Jago carved a lonelier furrow to leeward. At Tosnos Yates led Henderson and Jago.

By the exit of the Y mark into Yalton Creek, Henderson had established a good lead over Yates and Jago, and set off toward the Yawl trots, whilst Yates, Jago and the rest of the fleet headed for the Portlemouth shore. For a while this looked like Henderson may have made a costly error until his pursuers ran out of wind off Fisherman’s and had to cross over the tide to the Town to find more wind.

By this stage Henderson led Jago and Yates to the finish, with Simon Dobson holding onto the fourth place that was his for most of the race.