THE fourth instalment in the SYC Sailing Club Series proceeded under the watchful eye of Race Officer Graham Cranford-Smith. The sun came out to greet those on the water and a steady force 3 had set in from the E-NE, so all that was left now was to set the course, and what a course it was!

3 - M - O - 7 - 1 - 3 - 2 was displayed from the Watch House Balcony, which quickly caused mutterings on the water such as "Have you seen the course?" and "Where's M" as sailors tried to recall which mark was indeed M and which was O.

3MO7132, taken by Lucy Burn
3MO7132, taken by Lucy Burn (Image courtesy of Lucy Burn)

A mixture of 13 boats got underway to the sound of an individual recall, with Yawl 145 being deemed OCS for the second race in a row.

The fleet quickly arrived at Crossways with the McLarens RS400 out front, followed by John and Frankie Burn in Yawl 170, with Tim Fells and Fran Gifford in a Lark a close third.

On the long downwind leg to Stare Hole Bay, the fleet maintained formation except for Tim and Fran, who worked their way past John and Frankie, arriving at M just ahead.

As the sailors made their way across to mark O and then back across The Bar, the wind speed had slightly increased in the vicinity of the Blackstone Rocks. The beat back through the harbour saw the Lark unable to stretch their advantage over the Yawls as Olly Turner and Chris Skelhorn in Yawl 68 powered their way up the beat, catching the lighter weight Burn team in the process.

The two front-running Yawls worked their way past the Lark as they entered the bag, but it was not long before the Lark was flying the spinnaker and sailed off into the distance, heading for Gerston.

Cranford-Smith, the race operator, opted to shorten the race on the way back from Mark 7, and as the front runners exited the bag, John and Frankie got back past Olly and Chris but were unable to pull enough of a gap to beat them on corrected time.

Andrew Groves, sailing his laser radial, had quietly gone about his business, finding the quickest way around the course. Andrew was rewarded with a well-deserved second position on corrected time, with the gap to third just one second, showing how close the racing in the handicap fleet is!


1st Olly Turner & Chris Skelhorn, Y68

2nd Andrew Groves, Laser Radial

3rd John & Frankie Burn, Y170