Photos © Mike Shaw / www.fotoboat.com
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.
|1st||5161||Michael Sims||Carsington SC||-1||1||1||2|| |
|2nd||5263||David Winder||Hollingworth Lake||-6||2||2||4|| |
|3rd||4991||Stuart Hydon||Shustoke SC||5||-8||3||8|| |
|4th||5192||Ian Pinnell||Northampton SC||3||-9||8||11||Veteran|
|5th||4897||Chris Brown||RYA||7||4||-14||11|| |
|6th||5261||Steve Denison||Hollingworth Lake||-13||3||9||12|| |
|8th||52||Vince Horey||King George SC||4||-32||10||14||Veteran|
|9th||5147||Ian Harridge|| ||-9||7||7||14|| |
|11th||5198||Chris Gould||Midland||-21||13||5||18|| |
|13th||5139||Nigel Davies||DWSC||-18||17||6||23|| |
|14th||4670||Will Loy||RYA||(DNC)||12||12||24|| |
|15th||5213||Andrew Fox||Crosby SC||14||11||-17||25|| |
|16th||4386||Mike Dray||Littleton SC||11||15||-16||26|| |
|17th||5073||Ray Collins||Locks SC||-22||10||18||28||GMaster|
|18th||5003||Ian Hopwood||Nantwich||12||-21||19||31|| |
|19th||5130||Mark Lee||Weymouth SC||17||-19||15||32|| |
|20th||5214||Chris Gillard||Sheffield Viking||15||18||(DNC)||33||Veteran|
|21st||4688||Alistair Roaf||Chipstead||19||16||-20||35|| |
|22nd||5028||Alastair Raynard|| ||-30||14||23||37|| |
|23rd||5176||Ben Hollis||Blithfield SC||20||-30||21||41|| |
|24th||4474||Dave Smith||Hollingworth Lake||-27||25||22||47|| |
|25th||4506||Andy Anderson||Paxton Lakes||(DNC)||22||28||50||Veteran|
|26th||5096||John Webster||Carsington SC||-32||23||27||50||GMaster|
|27th||4487||Peter Matthews||Waveney & Oultonbroad YC||-33||28||24||52||Veteran|
|28th||5232||Richard Willetts||Burghfield SC||25||29||(DNC)||54||GMaster|
|29th||5185||Stephen Cottrell||Bewl Valley||29||26||-30||55||Veteran|
|31st||5237||Derek Jackman||Chichester YC||-34||33||26||59||GMaster|
|32nd||5179||Andy Tunnicliffe||Royal Windermere YC||2||(DNC)||DNC||60|| |
|33rd||5226||Keith Smith||King George SC||35||27||(DNF)||62||GMaster|
|34th||4878||Keith Lancaster||Hollowell SC||-36||36||29||65||GMaster|
|35th||5006||Martin Bradley||Ogston SC||42||24||(DNC)||66||Veteran|
|37th||5138||Patrick Overs||Paxton Lakes||-48||34||33||67||Veteran|
|38th||4984||David McGregor||HISC||10||(DNF)||DNC||68|| |
|39th||4267||Iain Carpenter||Northampton SC||40||(DNF)||32||72||Veteran|
|40th||2200||Luke Hardy||Wanlip SC||-44||37||35||72|| |
|42nd||3931||Brian Fisher||Melton Mowbray SC||41||(DNC)||34||75||Septimus|
|43rd||5266||Jason Hughes||DWSC||23||(DNC)||DNC||81|| |
|44th||5080||Mike Ball||Papercourt SC||26||(DNC)||DNC||84||Veteran|
|46th||5104||Bob Taylor||Tata Steel||31||(DNC)||DNC||89||GMaster|
|47th||4218||A M Clay||DWSC||37||(DNC)||DNC||95|| |
|48th||4409||Simon Deeks||Hollowell SC||38||(DNC)||DNC||96||Veteran|
|49th||5109||Alan Catto||Leigh & Lowton SC||39||(DNC)||DNC||97|| |
|50th||5002||Richard Morris||HISC||43||(DNC)||DNC||101|| |
|51st||5246||Nigel Pepperdine||Staunton Harold SC||47||(DNC)||DNC||105|| |
|52nd||4400||Paul Bristow||Burghfield SC||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||116|| |
|52nd||4371||Jackie Crafter||Carsington SC||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||116||Veteran|