Near perfect conditions greeted the forty young sailors who made the wise decision to compete in this year’s Salcombe Yacht Clubs Junior Open on Thursday 1st June. Entrants traveled from as far as Cornwall and Kent to join the racing alongside the sailors who have been involved with the South West Youth Sailing Academy, a not for profit race training group from local sailing clubs.
In the handicap fleet the majority of entrants sailed topers and had travelled from Paignton Sailing Club, race one saw Emily Proctor show off her skills gained during the winter in the Feva Zone Squad by reading the conditions and creating good boat speed. By race two the ebbing tide had begun to kick in and it proved challenging on the start line with Zak finding himself claiming the first OCS of the day, this race was two laps and it was Toby Bloomfield who came through to take the win with Mark Ripley in third following gear problems in race one. In the afternoon with even more tide the sailors showed skill in staking on the right side of the line at the starts but it was once again Emily leading the pack with Toby and Miles close behind.
A twenty strong RS Tera fleet were competing not only for the prizes on the day but also as part of the South West Tera Traveller series and with almost half of this fleet in training for this year’s RS Tera World Championships in Carnac. Race one saw a clean but keen start in the Pro Fleet George Alexander used his skills gained in the RS Feva squad to take the lead from Evie Booth and with a single lap there was no chance for much place change. In the sport fleet Sadie-May Miles showed how easy it should be if you go the right of the beat and rounded the windward mark in first place with many red faces behind her, Will James just managed to overtake her on the downwind leg but she held on well to take second with Albert Gillmore taking third. In race two we saw the tide take its second victim on the start, the Pro fleet was commanded by Miles Leah who maintained his lead throughout the race second place was George Alexander and in third was Megan Hardiman.
The sport fleet sailors saw a number of place changes but it was Will James who rounded the windward mark ahead of the fleet, on the downwind leg we saw an unprecedented capsize from Will which allowed three sailors past. Ben Meek took the win with Max Morrell in second and Millie Hardiman taking fourth. After lunch the Tera fleet were high on the adrenaline of the beach and behaved like a bunch of solo sailors completely misjudging the start and instigating the only general recall of the day. Evie Booth led the Pro Fleet and maintained this to the end with George in second and Miles in third. Albert Gillmore led the sport fleet followed by fellow National Squad sailor Will James with Max Morrell in third. In the final race once again Evie showed she was not going to let anyone get between her and that trophy, Will Meek took a very well deserved second and George took third. In the sport fleet Albert ventured into the fairway following and a warning and along with so many top Merlin sailors before him paid the ultimate price. Will took the bullet and the top space of the podium with Ben and Max following close behind.
The Rookie racer fleet was predominantly made up of novice sailors who had just completed their RYA stage 2 earlier in the week but it was amazing to see how they had progressed and with the fine example shown by the other fleets performed like seasoned regulars. Notable performances came from Sam Grey who started with an 11th failed to finish the second race but in the afternoon claimed two seconds. Race wins came from James Redman, Miles Procter and Gus Howell but consistency was the way to claim a podium position. We hope that this event would be the catalyst needed to get some of these sailors racing regularly at club level and next winter we expect and number of them to get involved with the very successful South West Youth Sailing Academy’s winter training program SWYSA.org.