Results :: Starcross Y.C. Open Meeting
|A very calm Exe Estuary greeted sailors travelling as far as from Hampton on Saturday morning for the early start to the Starcross Yacht Club 2016 Silver Tiller fixture. Bacon rolls and coffee were the order of the hour as the PRO Russ Gibbs held boats ashore for a short postponement until the forecast breeze duly appeared and proceedings started in earnest. The forecast F3-4 settled in from the north-west as the tide reached high water and three Olympic course races were raced on the ebb tide. Generally, playing the shifts on the left hand side to get out of the tide was paying providing you didn't go too far and lose the pressure from the trees on the west bank. |
Dan Alsop was glad of the brief postponement as, fully engrossed in a Radio4 debate, he sped past Exeter oblivious, finally arriving a little hot under the collar having met several horse boxes en route via various country lanes. Following two respectable results however, disaster struck Dan and Jennie King sailing Gangsta Paradise in race 3, when in the melee of the first windward mark rounding, Gangsta Paradise capsized to windward and with the tide in full ebb flow, broke their mast on the bottom. Dan consoled himself with a beer and was left pondering options for repair / replacement for Salcombe in two weeks.
Matt and Hannah Greenfield had also struggled to get to the start line in time. Having arisen early to collect Mellow Yellow from Chew Valley SC, they arrived at the very secure gate only to find they'd forgotten the key and it would be several hours and some speedy driving that only managed to get them to Race 3, and half dressed at that! They quickly made amends though as firing out of the starting blocks on a port tack flyer they secured the first of two seconds over the weekend.
Ice creams in the sunshine welcomed the weary sailors ashore and a few hours were spent catching up with friends, as well as a bit of go faster trolley maintenance for some! The evening entertainment then kicked off with some fun and games on the Yacht club lawn including some dubious, overly excited, thrusting hip action and some distinctly uncoordinated 'walk the plank'. A feast of a curry was enjoyed by all, followed by a stroll upriver along the riverbank to the local pub for those who still had the energy before returning to camp over.
Sunday morning dawned to more coffee and bacon served by the excellent voluntary gallery ladies. Again, a short postponement held boats ashore as the fickle direction settled and surprisingly the north-westerly set in again, albeit at the forecast F2-3. The fleet were joined by Jon Gorringe and Nicola Bass in Didley Pokey who had excused themselves on the Saturday morning which had been too early a start and had stayed in bed, then turning up Sunday with a twinkle in their eyes!
General Lee driven by Tim Harridge and Lucy Burn had been showing good boat speed and handling in the breezier Saturday conditions, being one of the only boats to hold their kite on some of the tighter reaches. Potential for a top placing at the Nationals later on in the year, but they suffered in the lighter wind on the Sunday. Too many Dark-n-Stormeys in the Turf Locks on Saturday night?
Of the remainder of the fleet, Will and Mary Henderson in Apollo showed great consistency over the whole weekend - never being out of the top five, but just couldn't quite get into the top two. James and Liz Wells in Pocket Rocket had a great duel of the older wooden boats with Gangsta Paradise until Dan's misfortune. Phil and Ali Ashworth in The Black Boat continued their improvement and were on the pace at times. Throughout the fleet, places were hard fought for with mistakes punished and great competition for everyone. Dave Lee, sailing with Hannah Showell, had been left wondering the justification of a new boat when on Saturday in race 2 they christened the mast in the River Exe, twice. All was forgotten though in the last race as the go faster button was found and The Angel's Share showed fantastic pace and sound tactics for a great 2nd place, fighting off the very hard chasing pack.
Mike and Jane Calvert in Quick Fix, now with an entry to Salcombe week secured, and the bit between their teeth, were on fine form Saturday with a 1,2,1 score line. Overnight, the only likely contenders following a solid day's racing from both teams were Quick Fix and Wild Card sailed by Olly Turner and Sam Mottershead. As Race 4 unfolded, both teams could have gained a significant advantage as Wild Card led at one stage only to hit a hole and slipped to fifth. However, with conditions supposedly suiting them more, a horrible mistake by the Calverts when they had a second place sewn up with just a very short beat to go, saw them head to the wrong end of the finish line and lose two places. All to play for going into the final race 5.
Wild Card won the starboard end of the line and came strongly out of the blocks, only to find half way up the beat, boats both to the left and right ahead. However, Olly and Sam sailed a solid race, picking off all the competition, eventually, even the motoring Dave and Hannah capitulated, with Wild Card taking the bullet and the event.
It was a touching moment as home grown Olly Turner accepted the hand-made trophy by the late Justin Eddy: the Just In Time clock. Olly concluded with a fantastic thank you to all the team at Starcross YC who put on a cracking event.