Salcombe Open 200712-13th April 2008
Saturday brought sunshine and a steady force 6 to the Salcombe Merlin Rocket Silver Tiller event. For the 38 boats that entered it was a magical day of champagne sailing set within the idyllic coastline backdrop. With a gusty south-westerly breeze blowing straight up the estuary, it made gybing downwind great spectating from the Yacht Club.|
Following a general recall, Race 1 got underway with the tide under the fleet beating towards Blackstone Rock at the entrance to the harbour. Following a number of spectacular wipeouts, Matt Biggs & Rob Kennaugh led the pack downwind towards the furthest northern mark at Yalton and went on to cross the line first. Along with a handful of others, he failed to get a gun leaving Tom Stewart & Liam Dempsey to take the honours with Andy Davies & Ellie Bremer taking second.
In Race 2, the breeze had backed to the west leaving the main estuary difficult to negotiate through the big holes and ‘swatters’ rolling down the hills. First into the more steady breeze was Simon Blake & Phil Dalby who led into the Bag, but the howling reach to Gerston gave Glen Truswell & Olly Turner the chance to take the lead and these positions remained through a huge squall until the finish.
On Saturday night the local bars and restaurants were packed with hungry and glowing Merlin sailors. As ever, the Yacht Club put on a great night and drinking went on into the early hours. With rumours of house parties and even crawling through hedges, there were a number of typically blurry eyes when people began to arrive in the boat park at Batson Creek on Sunday morning.
Lighter than Saturday, the wind was still in the west and the sun was still shining. Mike & Jane Calvert had a fantastic day winning both races, suggesting their new Winder boat appropriately named ‘Quick Fix’ has done the trick. Other sturdy consistent performances from Matt Biggs & Rob Kennaugh, and Dave Winder & Pippa Taylor, deserve a mention.
All in all an absolutely amazing start to the season helping to motivate the masses for Chichester next weekend.
Report: Simon Blake
Photos: Gina Page