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Dinghy Shack National Series @ Salcombe YC

Over the May bank holiday weekend, the Nat 12 fleet once again headed down to Salcombe Yacht club for their annual open meeting. The forecast for the weekend looked far from ideal with a light NE breeze on the cards and spring tides to contend with.

A slow beat against the tide

Race 1 on Saturday was a proper Salcombe ‘harbour tour’ with a course of 7,3,5, X,3, X. The fleet got away cleanly and split sides with Ollie Meadowcroft/Sam Brown and Paul/Isobel Keeling tacking early and heading to the right, these two boats picked up a lovely lift out of Southpool to see them leading the fleet into the bag.

The Keelings lead the way down to mark 7 with Ollie/Sam keeping the pressure on Graham/Felix Camm never far behind. This remained the order as the fleet headed to 3 and then back down to 5. From mark 5 things got a bit more frantic! The Keelings picked up a sizeable chunk of weed and Ollie/Sam seized the opportunity and passed during a tacking duel through the mooring trots, at this point Ollie/Sam were looking good to extend their lead only to run into a pack of parked RS400’s struggling to tack out of the tight space. This meant Ollie/Sam had to head out into the tide to find a way through, giving the Keelings the opportunity to retake the lead & also meant the Camms closed the gap on the lead pair. A very nervous run back up to the town then followed with the Keelings holding a very fragile lead. As we approached the ‘Ferry’ a sea breeze was battling the gradient breeze giving boats further into the tide a run & those tucked into the town a beat! Ollie/Sam rolled the dice and took pressure over tide to hold onto the run, the Keelings & Camms opted to beat in the lighter breeze with less tide up the town. This ultimately was the best plan as these two boats stayed ahead with the finishing order being Paul/Isobel Keeling, Graham/Felix Camm & Ollie Meadowcroft/Sam Brown.

Sunday dawned and as promised the wind didn’t! Word came down to Batson that there was to be a postponement until 12:30. Some of the 12-fleet launched and headed out and across to the beach for the most important business of the weekend, beach games / sandcastle building & Ice cream! As lunch time approached a light breeze had kicked in at Batson and it looked like we would be good to go, so those of us left quickly rigged and were about to launch when word came through that the racing was cancelled for the day.

Monday being the final day the fleet headed out once again with a light NE breeze & strong ebb tide. A simple course in the estuary was set for the final race.

The fleet once again got away cleanly with a tight tacking battle up the Portlemouth Shore to mark 3. The Camms initially led the fleet but timing when to cross towards Snapes was crucial. Mary Henderson/Katy Meadowcroft got this perfect & lead across on a nice lift out of Southpool with the Keeling’s not far behind. Mary & Katy rounded first and pulled out a huge lead down the run, the rest of the fleet becoming somewhat bunched as the fickle wind came and went. The fleet eventually rounded mark 1 with Mary & Katy’s lead being eroded after they got pushed down in the tide after rounding in a very light patch of breeze. The Camms got the best of it and lead around the rocks into Mill Bay. Not far behind a battle for second was ensuing between the Keeling’s & Jon Ibbotson/Rachel Smith. As the course had been shortened after Mark 1 the Camms were looking good for the win only for the wind to lift the Keelings around the Camms in Mill Bay with Jon/Rachel closing right up. The Keelings managed to extend away to the line with Jon/Rachel also passing the Camms in a tight tacking duel up to the line.

The Club then called time on the racing leaving Paul & Isobel Keeling with the win, Graham & Felix Camm second Jon Ibbotson/Rachel Smith in third

Thanks to Salcombe Yacht Club for Hosting.

Hello! I am Isobel Keeling and I sailed at Salcombe from Saturday 30th April to Monday 2nd May! I absolutely loved sailing there as it is one of my favourite family holidays and a great place to be. I sail with my amazing daddy in a national 12 named “so long and thanks for all the fish” (What an amazing name!)

Tide tide proved challenging on the final mark rounding

When we got to the boat park it was fabulous to see all the people with different boats and the beautiful water beside us. Our first race was on Saturday, and everyone was raring to go. Setting off on the water down the estuary was exciting and then the race started. Having the RS400s first then National 12s and following on by other boats, we all set off in different fleets. Everyone seemed to be similar speeds and it was an extremely tight race! I learnt a lot from seeing how other people moved around the boat and their techniques. Thanks to my superb daddy, he knew all the correct times to tack, jibe and he was on point with his helming! (No pun intended). Ollie and Sam were in close boundaries. Their techniques of helming and using the jib was outstanding and so was everyone else’s! After a long race up and down the estuary, everyone tried hard to get to the finish line. As the wind was light and there was no breeze, it was hard to get to the finish without stopping to a halt. The race was tense and difficult, but we managed to get our first win! Yay! In 2nd Was Graham and Felix Camm and 3rd Ollie Meadowcroft with Sam Brown. We cannot forget about all the spectacular sailors who also got 4th, 5th ,6th ,7th and 8th! Well done everyone!!

Disappointingly, the wind was too light for our Sunday race, however going to the park made up for it!

It was the last race on Monday and the day of the prize giving! This was the tensest and most hard-working race of them all! The course was 3,1,3,1,3,2 going up and down the estuary, however after the confusing wind and having to zigzag across the estuary the course was shortened down to 3,1. As all the boats re-united, the course was getting tenser, and Graham and Felix Camm took the lead. We just narrowly overtook Graham and Felix which gave us the chance for our other win!!

Thank you very much Salcombe yacht club for organising such an incredible few days racing! I really enjoyed it and so did my daddy!! Thank you to the boat park for keeping everyone’s boats safe over the days! It was great to meet all new people ranging from RS400’S to National 12s and many different fleets!

By Isobel Keeling Age 11.


Overall results

Rank Boat Sail No Club Helm Name Crew Name
1st Thanks for all the fish 3469 Blithfield SC Paul Keeling Izzy Keeling
2nd Very Hungry Caterpillar 3530 Burghfield SC Graham Camm Anya Camm / Felix Camm
3rd Atomic Kitten 3540 Burghfield SC Jon Ibbotson Rachel Smith
4th DB Cooper 3543 Upper Thames YC Ollie Meadowcroft Sam Brown
5th Tonto 3483 Burghfield SC Jon Brown Maya Brown
6th Zippy 3431 Salcbome YC Mary Henderson Katie Meadowcroft
7th Lars Porsena Of Clusium 3471 Upper Thames YC Dan Meadowcroft Zoe Ballantyne / Anya Camm
8th Monkey Business 3494 Salcombe YC John Burn Frankie Burn