A total of 20 National 12s congregated at Salcombe for the May Day Bank Holiday meeting sponsored by Marchand Petit

A total of 20 National 12s congregated at Salcombe for the May Day Bank Holiday meeting sponsored by Marchand Petit. They enjoyed a wide variety of courses in a wide variety of conditions.

Saturday afternoon’s race was sailed at high tide in a generally brisk north-easterly. This enabled the race officer to set an excellent course with true beats up both the Yalton and Frogmore creeks. The race was led twice by Frances Gifford and Heather Back in “Zippy”. However, on both occasions a lack of familiarity with the course or the marks let other boats overtake them. Many had turns in the lead, but ultimately the race was won by “Max Factor”, sailed by John Meadowcroft and wife Katy – restored to the boat for the first time since the birth of their son Oliver.

Sunday morning’s course gave the fleet a good beat out to a buoy a mile or so offshore. Mark Philips and Megan Baker in 3281 did battle with Graham Camm and Zoë Ballantyne in “Thanks for All the Fish” at the front of the fleet. Inside the harbour conditions were more difficult, but Graham and Zoë managed to hang on to their lead to the finish.

An unusual weather system covered the main harbour at the start of Sunday afternoon’s race. The east side enjoyed glorious sunshine, blue skies and light westerly to south westerly winds. The west side was covered in a fast moving cold fog under which, despite (or because of?) the steep and high hills on that side of the harbour, there was a moderate westerly. The boats that started and remained in the fog fetched the first mark in one tack and at speed, leaving their warmer sisters on the east side well behind, but only for a while. Two miles up the harbour the fog had cleared, but another, less visible, discontinuity in the wind had developed. This enabled the pack to catch up and in some cases to overtake the leading group. After this Jon and Jules Brown in “Tonto” and Chris Mayhew and Helen Hunt in “The Full Monty” sailed away into what appeared to be an unassailable 1st and 2nd. However, nothing is certain at Salcombe and as they happily short tacked up one bank, Zippy and New Isabelle (Will and Arthur Henderson) got an enormous lift straight to the windward mark and into 2nd and 3rd, where they finished just behind the Browns in Tonto.

Going into the last race on Monday morning all of the leading contenders had had at least one bad race and any one of seven boats could have won the trophy. After a tricky start inside the harbour, the fleet was again able to spread its wings with a run out to sea and a beat back. At this stage New Isabelle was leading from Thanks for All the Fish, with the field some way behind. Both sailed into holes, Thanks for All the Fish’s was 50 metres away from New Isabelle’s and did not get filled by the breeze on which the Ibbotsons in “Slither” and Tim Law and Sam Game in “Battle Tactics” planed up into 2nd and 3rd. New Isabelle crept across the finishing line in 1st. With Thanks for All the Fish recovering only to 3rd and the Browns in Tonto finishing 6th, New Isabelle’s win was enough to give them overall victory from Tonto and Thanks For All the Fish. The 4th to 6th boats overall all had 13 points, but Zippy took 4th on the tie break.

Overall Results

1st New Isabelle, Will and Arthur Henderson (Salcombe YC) 8.0

2nd Tonto, Jon and Jules Brown (Royal Harwich YC), 9.0

3rd Thanks for All the Fish, Graham Camm and Zoë Ballantyne (Burghfield SC), 9.0

4th Zippy, Frances Gifford and Heather Back (Aldeburgh YC), 13.0

5th Slither, Jon and Charlotte Ibbotson (Royal Harwich YC), 13.00

6th Anthony Gifford and Heather Williamson (Aldeburgh YC), 13.0