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Solo End of Seasons at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Barbara Atkins on 30 Oct 2011 29 October 2011

Before hibernation, many Solo sailors make the annual temporary migration to Draycote Water Sailing Club for the End of Season Championships. This year 57 made the trip to find the usual Draycote obstacles (boat washing and lack of parking near the rigging area) compounded by Severn Trent’s building works and the tide being out.

The home fleet endeavoured to minimise the inconvenience, with the 48 visiting boats all washed in 90 minutes (averaging 1 boat every 2 minutes!). Unfortunately nothing could be done about the mud revealed by the unprecedented low water, which rivalled Brightlingsea at a similar state of tide.

However, PRO John Rhode set an imaginative trapezeoid course, which kept the fleet away from the shallow areas of the lake meaning that the racing was not affected by the water levels. This added an interesting tactical downwind leg, right in front of the clubhouse, which was somewhat sheltered from the full force of the wind, but still saw some hefty gusts and several capsizes.

Traditionally the format for this one day event is a fairly gentle start, with all hell breaking lose in the afternoon. This year was different – the wind arrived with a vengeance shortly after everyone had launched and saw a very windy and gusty first race. After lunch things calmed down somewhat, but there were still some strong gusts and opportunities for the unwary to check there was still enough water in the racing area to turn turtle.

Unfortunately the conditions of the first race saw the fleet somewhat depleted in the afternoon, with a few competitors feeling unable to face a repeat either of the conditions on the water or the slog through the mud to get there.

However, none of this phased Michael Sims, who is hardly one of the fleet’s heavyweights, who won the event convincingly with three bullets. In the second two races he was challenged very closely by David Winder who got seconds in those two races and overall. Stuart Hydon took third, with first Veteran, Ian Pinnell, in fourth.

Tim Davison was first Grand Master in 7th.

The racing was definitely enhanced by John Rhode’s start lines which achieved the unheard of at a Solo Championship event – no recalls, no signs of the black flag – just 3 clean starts! This left more time for racing and less for hanging around.

Next year’s event is booked for 27th October, by when the building work will be complete and the tide should have come back in.

Report from Will Loy

A great turnout of 57 Solos were rewarded with a healthy breeze from the south which tested both the stamina of the competitors and the thermal qualities of their sailing apparel.

Slick ‘off the water’ management ensured all hulls were thoroughly cleansed of any shrimps though the lack of water in the lake should probably have been of bigger concern to the fish.

Race 1 saw Micheal Simms dominate from the start, defending a pocket at the committee boat and shooting out at the gun, with height and speed he was able to get into the shifts which were notable and round ahead of a group including Andy Tunnicliffe, Ian Pinnell, David Macgregor and Chris Brown. A good reach down to mark 2 saw some place changing, those going high getting into the gusts first and rolling over others to the gybe. Down to mark three with the wind from behind the fleet split with no discernable advantage from either side.

The tight reach to the bottom mark saw the fleet going high into more pressure but the few who went deep seemed to gain. I had a tiller extension failure here which meant my report details were curtailed but watching the fleet round the top mark made me chuckle as some of the leaders went of to mark 2 and others gybed on the spreader mark and headed off to mark 4. Micheal Simms had read an amendment to the sailing instructions and pulled out a big lead with Tunnicliffe, Pinnell, Vince Horey and Stuart Hydon following. the remainder of the fleet also followed as those who had gone wrong cut their losses and reached into mark 4, losing surprisingly little. The leaders extended on the last lap with the top three at the finish, Simms, Tunnicliffe and Pinnell.

After suitable refuelling the fleet trudged back through the mud to recommence battle. The breeze had strengthened, the sound of my crisp new sail drowning out the sound signal of the committee boat. Not only that but I had also missed the 4 minute gun which made things tricky for the countdown.

Those who had paid attention were sitting at the committee boat end as the gun sounded and immediately hooked into a nice lift which took them over the fleet. The fleet split in two as some headed right towards the dam wall, looking for the header while others headed left looking for the same. In truth it was probably best to play the shifts which Dave Winder (boatbuilder boss) did with Micheal Simms and Steve Dennison. Dennison (winder boatbuilder/jockey) took the lead at some point but after getting tangled in his control lines and then trying to tack, fell in, relinquishing his advantage. At the death Simms had once again powered through, despite the Winder sandwich. Chris Brown, in a borrowed Boon while awaiting his new one got up for fourth and Jon Clarke (Edge Sailmaker) showed good downwind speed to salvage fifth.

Race three and there was more of a pin end bias which spread the fleet evenly. Ian Pinnell won the pin and headed left, tacked and was looking comfortable until a look under his boom saw a group hooked into a righthand lift. Winder was working the shifts and the pressure and rounded first with the usual suspects in pursuit. Some gained by going high and some by going low, from my position they were overtaking on both sides. Hydon was showing good speed and was holding third position, just behind Simms. Somehow Dave Winder surrendered his healthy lead, giving Simms a clean sweep of wins. Winder, Hydon, Tim Davison and Chris Gould completed the top five.

So Micheal Simms has added the EOS to his list of victories in 2011 with Dave Winder second and Stuart Hydon third.

Despite the lack of water and boat cleaning procedure all competitors enjoyed a great days racing. Many thanks to Draycote Water for their on/off water hospitality.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3PtsNotes
1st5161Michael SimsCarsington SC-1112 
2nd5263David WinderHollingworth Lake-6224 
3rd4991Stuart HydonShustoke SC5-838 
4th5192Ian PinnellNorthampton SC3-9811Veteran
5th4897Chris BrownRYA74-1411 
6th5261Steve DenisonHollingworth Lake-133912 
7th5205Tim DavisonDWSC8-20412GMaster
8th52Vince HoreyKing George SC4-321014Veteran
9th5147Ian Harridge -97714 
10th4748Jon ClarkeDWSC-2451116Veteran
11th5198Chris GouldMidland-2113518 
12th5178Nick RawlingsHISC-1661319Veteran
13th5139Nigel DaviesDWSC-1817623 
14th4670Will LoyRYA(DNC)121224 
15th5213Andrew FoxCrosby SC1411-1725 
16th4386Mike DrayLittleton SC1115-1626 
17th5073Ray CollinsLocks SC-22101828GMaster
18th5003Ian HopwoodNantwich12-211931 
19th5130Mark LeeWeymouth SC17-191532 
20th5214Chris GillardSheffield Viking1518(DNC)33Veteran
21st4688Alistair RoafChipstead1916-2035 
22nd5028Alastair Raynard -30142337 
23rd5176Ben HollisBlithfield SC20-302141 
24th4474Dave SmithHollingworth Lake-27252247 
25th4506Andy AndersonPaxton Lakes(DNC)222850Veteran
26th5096John WebsterCarsington SC-32232750GMaster
27th4487Peter MatthewsWaveney & Oultonbroad YC-33282452Veteran
28th5232Richard WillettsBurghfield SC2529(DNC)54GMaster
29th5185Stephen CottrellBewl Valley2926-3055Veteran
30th4810Andrew SmithDWSC-45312556GMaster
31st5237Derek JackmanChichester YC-34332659GMaster
32nd5179Andy TunnicliffeRoyal Windermere YC2(DNC)DNC60 
33rd5226Keith SmithKing George SC3527(DNF)62GMaster
34th4878Keith LancasterHollowell SC-36362965GMaster
35th5006Martin BradleyOgston SC4224(DNC)66Veteran
36th4972Mike FurnerDWSC(RAF)353166GMaster
37th5138Patrick OversPaxton Lakes-48343367Veteran
38th4984David McGregorHISC10(DNF)DNC68 
39th4267Iain CarpenterNorthampton SC40(DNF)3272Veteran
40th2200Luke HardyWanlip SC-44373572 
41st4551Bill HutchingsTonbridge-46383674Veteran
42nd3931Brian FisherMelton Mowbray SC41(DNC)3475Septimus
43rd5266Jason HughesDWSC23(DNC)DNC81 
44th5080Mike BallPapercourt SC26(DNC)DNC84Veteran
45th4684Barry WickesMaidenhead28(DNC)DNC86Veteran
46th5104Bob TaylorTata Steel31(DNC)DNC89GMaster
47th4218A M ClayDWSC37(DNC)DNC95 
48th4409Simon DeeksHollowell SC38(DNC)DNC96Veteran
49th5109Alan CattoLeigh & Lowton SC39(DNC)DNC97 
50th5002Richard MorrisHISC43(DNC)DNC101 
51st5246Nigel PepperdineStaunton Harold SC47(DNC)DNC105 
52nd4400Paul BristowBurghfield SC(DNC)DNCDNC116 
52nd4860Jeremy AtkinsDWSC(DNC)DNCDNC116Veteran
52nd5277David MoseleyHISC(DNC)DNCDNC116GMaster
52nd3676Graham MarshallDWSC(DNC)DNCDNC116Septimus
52nd4993Tony HananChelmarsh(DNC)DNCDNC116GMaster
52nd4371Jackie CrafterCarsington SC(DNC)DNCDNC116Veteran

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