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Starcross YC Open - Sunshine Sailing!

Starcross Open August 6th

Report by Paul Kelley of SYC

Once again, this years Starcross Open was a resounding success, with 19 boats enjoying, what turned out to be, very very close racing throughout the entire fleet . The forecast was for a light and very variable wind from the NE backing to the SE and pre launching, the predicated conditions were looking spot on . However, with the briefing over and with the fleet launching their boats and setting sail, into what could only be described as semi-windless conditions . Miraculously out of the blue, a sea breeze filled in, reaching a strength of around 10 knots, which was an enormously welcome sight for this armada of Solos - not to mention, Russ Gibbs as the OOD and his excellent team .

The fleet got away first time in the first race, completing a three round upwind - downwind course . With the fleet trying to dodge the flooding tide, everyone endured a lot of short-tacking up the West shore of the Exe . First round the top mark was our class Membership Secretary, John Steels, hotly pursued by Olly Turner and Paul Kelley, Steve Mitchell and Simon Greenslade . There was quite a bit of place swapping through the race but after three laps, Olly just managed to creep ahead of John by the finish to take the win, from John and Paul, with these three boats finishing bow-to-transom . Steve took fourth closely chased Malcolm Davies in fifth .

For the second race the OOD set a sausage, triangle course . Again, helped by a very strong flooding tide, the fleet got away first time for a four lap race this time . With the wind strength and direction unaltered, the fleet practiced their tacking up the shore again, in what was another closely fort race . This time it was Olly around the top mark first, hotly followed by the rest of the fleet . Olly led all the way round to take the win and the open event but it was Steve Mitchell, who took second place in the race, very closely followed by Simon Greenslade in third . Shaun Welsh took fourth from Bill Chard in fifth .

The final race was essentially a repeat of the previous races but the tide starting to ebb . The OOD was having an easy day with getting the fleet away, with the fleet behaving themselves for the third and final time, starting cleanly across the line . This time it was Paul Kelley who rounded the fleet the top mark in first, very closely followed by Simon Greenslade, John Steels and Olly Turner . Very close racing ensued once again, with any small error or bad tack, giving away a place . Paul Kelley managed to lead the way in this race for three rounds but miss-counted the number of rounds completed and at the bottom mark on lap three, headed for the committee boat, thinking it was the finish, which was incorrect and dropped back to fifth . This allowed Turner to take the lead on the last round, which he held onto to seal the open meeting title in convincing style . As with the other races, this was another closely fort race all the way round . Kelley managed to fight his way back up to second place on the beat by the final top mark, with Simon Greenslade on his transom in third . On the final run, it was Garry Moulton who sailed into second place, a rudder stock ahead of Malcolm Davies in third and a equally distanced, Kelley in fourth, with Greenslade taking fifth place just behind Kelley .

Thus it was that the fleet headed for shore, having enjoyed what was an absolutely fabulous day of sailing and racing on the beautiful River Exe, in near perfect conditions, other than the lack of a bit spray over the decks . Olly Turner took a decisive and well deserved top podium from Steve Mitchell in second and Paul Kelley in third, both separated by a single point . Fourth spot was taken by Malcom Davies from Simon Greenslade in fifth, who both finished with 8 points but it was Davies who took fourth by virtue of beating Greenslade in this, the last race . Garry Molton took sixth overall with his excellent, last race second place .

To round up, the day was a resounding success, with the ODD and team doing a fantastic and efficient job of running the days racing . The racing was really tight and close with only feet and a boat length separating some of the finishing positions . The SYC fleet were delighted to have welcomed thirteen visiting Solos from around the South West, seven of whom where from Torpoint, with whom we enjoyed fantastic and very close racing . We very much hope all our visitors enjoyed the day as much as the Starcross fleet did . We are already planning next years event and are looking forward to welcoming you back and to seeing you all out out on the waters of the River Exe again next year .

Starcross Solo Fleet .

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