UNDER the radiant Easter weekend sun and with a brisk breeze, a bustling fleet of nine boats gathered for race four of the Spring Handicap Series, writes John Burn.

Race Officer Simon Yates set a course consisting of 1-7-5-7-1-3, capitalising on the favourable conditions at the top end of The Bag.

The 505 of Peter and Craig Colclough, alongside John and Katy Meadowcroft in one of the Merlin Rockets, swiftly rounded the mark and opted for the Portlemouth Shore, closely followed by Will and Arthur Henderson in another Merlin Rocket.

As the fleet jostled for position, John and Frankie Burn executed a strategic gybe once around the mark, heading for better pressure along the shoreline, which propelled them to the front of the pack as they reached the ferry landing.

Maintaining their momentum, the Burn Merlin continued to lead the fleet through the 7-5-7 loop but were overhauled by the Meadowcroft duo on the long beat back to Blackstone.

Meanwhile, the Hendersons navigated the return through The Bag well, and employing the spinnaker as they rounded Snapes Point narrowed the gap to the Burns, ultimately securing second place on corrected time.

In a separate skirmish, Christian Day and Andrew Groves engaged in a tight battle. Groves initially led the charge but Day's strategic prowess enabled him to seize a decisive lead, only to be hunted down by Groves before reaching Blackstone. The back-and-forth continued, with Day's route down the middle of the harbour on the return from Crossways proving pivotal as he clinched third place at the finish line.

SALCOMBE Yacht Club Spring Series race four encouraged an excellent turnout of 21 solo sailors, writes David Greening. 

With the tide under the start, the RO let the start go, so it was Olly Turner’s conscience rather than an X flag that saw him duck back behind the line.

Tim Law and David Greening were first around Blackstone and headed toward Biddle, whilst the rest of the fleet headed Town-side. Law and Greening crossed back to the pack, with Greening picking up a small gust that saw him establish a small lead up to Tosnos.

Tim Fells, Simon Dobson and Will Wall gybed early at Tosnos catching Greening up. In a melee, Tim Fells managed to keep clear air to pull ahead, and by Snapes Fells led from Wall and Greening.

By Blackstone a number of front of fleet regulars who had been languishing in the middle of the pack came into play, including Chris Cleaves, who quite literally headed hard into the Salcombe shore in order to stem the tide to emerge into the lead which he maintained to the finish, taking the winning gun from Simon Dobson and Graham Cranford-Smith.