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Merlin Salcombe Week Day 3
By Rooster Sailing
The end of sailing today marks the halfway mark. Every flight has raced one another and discards start to kick in.
The forecast was as close to being about right as it can be in Salcombe with 8-15knot NE. The morning race was dominated by Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis who led from the second beat to the finish. That makes it sounds like he had a walk in the park; but nope, he scrapped for it all the way round.
Starting pretty much over low water, giving the fleet time for the Estuary to get some water in it. (Fifty Merlins on the fixed start line at Low water is a pretty short line) so the Race Officer sent us beyond Black rock to mark 0 on a run as the second mark. This caused many boats making innumerable navigational errors, leaving the experienced hands to show us the way. Pat and Anna Blake took the opportunity with both hands and led the way up the beat to Girston. By the time we got to Girston, Mat and Ben led, with Tom Stewart and Steve Hall second and Tom Jeffcote and Pippa Taylor firmly in third.
On the way we got stuck in the bag, Pat filled up on a tack, and Steve Crook/Matt Calvert and Tim Fells/Chris Downham were starting to show their quality. However one of those Salcombe moments occurred (at least for us). Not more than 2 boat lengths away from Tim and Chris, we picked up our very own private fabtastic gust that picked us up and well and truly dumped us with the front three. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a tight gybing dual – but with four boats. Dead running down to mark 2 was a balance of being in potentially more wind, but in adverse tide, or along the east shore for inside boat but getting the wind last. I guess Matt & Ben did it the best as they just did the “go fast thing”, with Tom & Pippa round second and Tom/Steve third but outside boat. The short beat back to the finish saw Toby and I sniggle into second (the wind popped up and we finally found the right gears.) With Tom/Steve Third and it was an exciting finale to a great race.
The second race was led from start to finish by Will Warren and Chris Robinson. They carried out an audacious start right near the fairway channel, tacking onto port @5 seconds after a black flag start. It was that good a start that they got a round of applause from the watching crowd at the club. The other notable exploits were the recoveries of Richard Whitworth and Simon Blake from being buried at the start and in the teens even after 30 minutes of sailing to finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.
6 races and 5 winners, that’s pretty good racing!