Salcombe 2001

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It has to be said that Salcombe this year was a mega success! With 110 boats it had to be. We have loads of good sailing and socials. 

We will soon have "loads and loads and loads of  pics" to publish on the site.

Here's the daily reports along with the final score sheet! Well done everyone who took part. Lets hope we get the same mega turn out at the champs - It's looking promising with just 3 weeks to go.

DAY 1 

After many years of two races per day, Salcombe 2001 kicked off the new format of eight flights and four races per day. The fleet of 110 Merlins attended the briefing on Saturday evening and were told the do's and don'ts by the Harbour Master and guess what, everybody listened!

The sailors were greeted by a gorgeous Sunday with the weather absolutely perfect - well, in the sunbathing department at least. The first race was a beat up to Blackstone against the tide and the fleet spread very quickly. After many place changes in the early stages John Bell and Graham Williamson made the crucial break and won the race followed by Richard and Whitworth and Sally Townend.

In the second race the prevailing conditions were even worse with many competitors struggling to get over the line fighting against the tide. After a general recall a small pack which included Andew Harris and Laurie Smart made the crucial break from the pursuing pack and held those positions to the race end.

In the afternoon the wind piped up considerably (something to do with the sea breeze apparently). In the first race Phil King made a good start in his new machine and held the lead throughout the race. In race two there were many position changes but eventually Will Rainey, in the other new Wrecked'em design, came out on top hotly pursued by Duncan Salmon who passed Frank Rowsell on the last run after he broke his spinnaker pole.

Day 2 

After the lovely sunny day of Monday, featuring some typically tricky Salcombe conditions, with about a Force 1-2, the fleet awoke to very different conditions for Tuesday.

After a storm blowing through, Salcombe dawned with dark clouds threatening big winds. A south easterly started providing awful conditions for Salcombe. Later in the afternoon the wind changed direction and blew up providing gusty and 'holey' sailing.

Fleet Round up:

Pink 1 v Black 1 - After a tight battle up the Mill Bay side of the estuary, William Warren led the fleet round Blackstone and set off on the run with a considerable lead. John Bell went on to win the race with Julian Parry coming through to finish second from Will Warren. Following keenly was Judith Massey, and after a close fight with Mike 'Sparkle' Barnes, Andy Dalby managed fifth.

Pink 2 v Black 2 - Another fraught battle up the Mill Bay side saw Richard Harris lead round Blackstone closely followed by his father John. Harris junior led for several legs before some bad luck saw him overtaken by Mike Calvert (who went on to win), Will Rainey (who came second) and Phil Plumtree (who came third).

Brown 1 v Green 1 - The afternoon races were greeted by strong winds which made for testing sailing. Phil King led around the top mark but was swiftly overtaken by Richard Whitworth and Dave Winder on the run. Whitworth went on to win comfortably with Winder second and King third, who was very nearly pipped by Nick Heginbotham.

Brown 2 v Green 2 - Dan Alsop had a fantastic first beat up to Blackstone to lead by some considerable margin. He was followed by James Davies who was sailing his brother's Merlin Rocket (he must be mad !!!). A pack of seven or eight boats had a tussle on the way to Gerston but James Davies broke free to lead at the bottom mark.

The leaders became mixed up with the back markers of the previous race which made conditions tricky. Several boats fell victim to the gusts on the beat and many spectacular capsizes occurred on the run. At the finish Dan Alsop just won from Frank Rowsell and Laurie Smart.

The fleet now eagerly awaits the revised seedings to see whether they have made the split.

Merlins get into gold and silver

The fleets are now split into the final gold and silver and the batte is on the the title
With the Merlin Rocket fleets now in Gold and Silver mode racing is intense at their Salcombe Week. Mike and Jane Calvert have the overall lead form John Bell and Graham Williamson who are tied with Phil King and Kevin Driver. Frank Rowsell and Jennie King are just one point adrift with Will Rainey and Liese Ward tied for fifth place with Richard Whitworth and Sally Townend.

The weather said force 5 to 6 but in typical Salcombe manner, despite the forecast, it commenced mainly light and northerly but was 2-3 south easterly most of the afternoon, dying almost completely when heavy downpours went through.

Brown Gold v Black Gold
A short course was set by the race management due to a distinct lack of wind. The competitors made extremely slow progress to Saltstone and it took the leaders nearly 1 hour to get there. Although Laurence Tosh made the early running Frank Rowsell rounded the buoy first closely followed by Phil King and Will Rainey. Rowsell and King pulled away with the former winning the race by the length of a spinnaker pole !!

Brown Silver v Black Silver
Although set the same course, the Silver fleet got the benefit of the sea breeze and were able to fly spinnakers to the first mark. Indeed, many of the leading Silver sailors overtook the Gold sailors which caused much embarrassment !! The race was won by Jonathon Bingham sailing an old Turner NSM2 which proves that older boats can still be competitive in the fickle conditions found in Salcombe estuary.

Pink Gold v Green Gold
The afternoon races were started in much better conditions with a beat up to Blackstone. Richard Whitworth made the early running followed by John Bell. However the conditions deteriorated massively with little wind and lots of tide. Mike Calvert performed a remarkable recovery to win the race followed by John Bell. Unfortunately the majority of the sailors got marooned to the extent that their race time was in excess of 3 hours!

Pink Silver v Green Silver
After the controversy of the previous evening when Rob Smith found himself placed in the Silver fleet even though he was lying in the top half overall, he answered his critics in the best possible way by winning the race closely followed by Jenny Taylor crewed by her mother Debbie and third was the Parkes.

Just to finish off the tired sailors, huge waves were crashing in to Mill Bay which made getting on to the beach very tricky. Fortunately no damage was done although there were many close shaves!


In the Merlin Rocket Gold fleet Phil King reclaimed his title as King of Salcombe Week from Mike Calvert who stole it last year. Second place, decided on a tiebreak went to John Bell and Graham Williamson with Richard Whitworth and Sally Townend third..

The forecast foul weather for Friday afternoon held off just long enough to complete the days racing, giving good sailing conditions.

In the Silver fleet Robert Smith had a clear lead from Richard Cooke to take the Millbay trophy.


Copyright MerlinRocket 2000.