Photos © Mike Dray
Godfrey Clark wins the Solo open at Littleton
What a perfect day for sailing our brilliant class today. The sun was out, a warm 19 degrees and an Easterly F2 occasionally blowing the odd F3 gust to get us sitting out on the side. Pleasant sailing conditions then for the 1st Thames Valley series event of the year.
14 local boats from Littleton and 12 Visitors made up the fleet to tackle what would be described by everybody as a lottery 95% of the time, especially up the beats.
The fleet got away cleanly, with a couple of people OCS but without a general recall, everybody made their way up the 1st beat, which was a complete gamble from the off. The fleet split completely with some trying both sides of the lake and a few opting for the middle. The winners rounded 1st with a small gap to the chasing pack. Julian Rickards (Littleton SC) was 1st round the mark with Richard Willets and Barry Wicks and Vanda Jowett in close contention. As the 1st lap unfolded the two lead boats took a wrong turn and although told to carry on as an insignificant gain was made at the time, sportingly came ashore during the last lap and took DNF’s. The race after that was a close affair between Julian Rickards and Vanda Jowett (Littleton SC), tackling the shifts as they came to stay ahead of the fleet and finishing on this order with Mark Fowler (Littleton SC) in 3rd.
A tricky start once again in the light wind and forever shifting wind direction saw Julian Rickards rouding 1st with Godfrey 2nd just ahead of Paul Bristow (Burghfield) Godfrey found pressure and sailed into the distance with a closely packed fleet chasing. Nobody really ever got near to Godfrey for the remainder of the race. 2nd place was taken by Richard Willets (Burghfield) and Trevor Rawlings (Littleton SC).
The race got off a bit more quickly this time around as a temporary gusty spell hit the fleet and caused lots of shouting and boats going in circles off the start. Round the windward mark was Trevor Rawlings (Littleton SC) followed by Barry Wicks (Maidenhead) and Keith Carter (Littleton SC). Trevor lead the fleet around the 1st lap but as the 2nd lap started, the lottery began as the chasers could read where not to go, and Trevor lost out to Barry Wicks and also lost ground to the chasing pack. Barry Wicks continued to sparkle, sailing off into a small lead until the finish, while a twist was still to happen as on the final beat of the race Godfrey Clark took the gamble and separated from the fleet and found the winning ticket header that took him from around 6th place to 2nd at the line..a move which ultimately won himself the overall event. 3rd place was eventually taken by Keith Carter.
1st Godfrey Clark (Fishers Green)
2nd Julian Rickards (Littleton SC)
3rd Trevor Rawlings (Littleton SC)
4th Barry Wicks (Maidenhead SC)
5th Vanda Jowett (Littleton SC)
Full results on the Littleton Sailing Club website.