Salcombe Open 2009April saw the fleet getting a spot of practice, ready for Salcombe Week itself later in the year
37 boats were greeted with sun and a gusty SW F4 on Saturday for the annual Silver Tiller meeting at Salcombe, sponsored by Speed Sails.|
The first race got underway at the second attempt. A flood tide saw the fleet split up each side of the estuary, with the East Portlemouth side paying as Will Warren/Chris Robinson led the fleet round mark 1 at Blackstone rock. The next time around this mark, Will/Chris had dropped to 4th having let Glen Truswell/Olly Turner through to lead the fleet. Some fast two-sail reaching to mark 7 and back kept the fleet grinning and the arms aching, but Glen/Olly kept Matt Biggs/Rob Kennaugh and Richard Adams/Ben Hollis at bay to finish first.
The second race again took two attempts to get going. With the tide on the turn the tactics changed with the majority of the fleet using the whole width of the estuary up to mark 1. A tour of the harbour was the order of the day with a run down to mark 4, followed by the usual frustration through ‘the bag’, to be rewarded with some more fast reaching up to mark 7. Tom Stewart/Liam Dempsey came out on top with a rare (for this weekend) appearance from Andy Davis/Elly Bremer in second followed by Glen/Olly in third.
Sunday dawned with the harbour like a millpond, clear blue skies and bright sunshine. As a result, too much dawdling in Batson boat park (at least that’s my excuse) waiting for wind resulted in much of the fleet not getting to the start line in time. However, the wind picked up from the SE to about a F2. Lots of wind holes coupled with a flood tide gave many chances to move up and down the fleet. Glen/Olly read the conditions perfectly and had the boatspeed to take line honours, more or less securing their overall win, with only Tom/Liam able to challenge if they won the next race and Glen finished 7th or lower.
The final race saw more east in the wind direction, the majority of the fleet taking the Salcombe side for the first beat to mark 1. Matt/Rob took the Portlemouth shore and rounded Blackstone with a lead that was only ever going to be challenged by Will/Chris, who rounded close, but not close enough, in second. The course took the fleet through 'the bag' with a run down to 7 and beat back on a flood tide, which resulted in lots of place-changing.
The chasing pack were quite a distance back from the two leaders and were never going to trouble them. So the battle was for third, which was eventually taken by Alex Jackson/Paul Davies. Tom/Liam managed a 6th which meant Glen and Olly were the well-deserved overall victors after showing excellent boatspeed all weekend. Well done to them.
On behalf of the whole fleet a big thank you to Salcombe Yacht Club for, once again, providing excellent sailing and hospitality all weekend, especially Saturday evening for the dinner. I am sure there were some weary, aching, but extremely satisfied sailors who made their way back home on Sunday evening.
Report: Mark Waterhouse
Photos: Demelza Mitchell