Solo Open at Littleton Sailing Club
by Dan Goodman on 29 May 2013
26 May 2013
Twenty-two boats turned up to contest the Solo open at Littleton SC, a good number considering it was re-scheduled to the middle of a bank holiday weekend. Luckily the sun made an appearance along with a fluky F2-F4 that varied from a westerly to north easterly at various times during the day. You really wouldn't have wanted to be the race officer with that wind and it proved to be a tricky day with 4 different courses being set.
Race 1 and the wind picked up to a F4 westerly only to shift to a F3 north westerly at the start much to the dismay of the race officer. There was only 1 place to be at the start line and Alan Bishop nailed it perfectly and led the race from the start extending all the way to the finish. There was some place changing going on behind but the fetches and reaches made it hard to make gains. Local Julian Rickards used the available shifts to pull through to 2nd and Guy Lonsdale 3rd.
Race 2 and once again there was only one place to be on the start line, a 30 degree wind shift in the last 30 seconds to the start played havoc with a lot of starting plans and several boats were over the line at the start or were squeezed out at the pin. It appeared that Joe Rycroft was leading but he was caught OCS and had to return. The wind had not stabilized and big gains and losses were possible up the first beat, eventually Guy Lonsdale broke clear and was first around the first mark and gained throughout the race to win by a big margin. Local helm Richard Cambrook was a clear 2nd followed by Dan Goodman who was recovering from being luffed the wrong side of the pin at the start.
Just before race 3 the wind died and swung 180 degrees only to fill in from the original direction again leaving everyone including the race office wondering what to do this time. A 5th temporary mark was employed and another course set. Once again the wind played havoc with best made plans and by the time the gun went it was almost impossible to cross the line on starboard catching a lot of boats out. Dan Goodman made the most of the situation tacking onto port at the favoured end and led the fleet away. Mike Wilkie briefly led at the first mark only to have Dan and Richard sail over him as the wind died and then filled in from the intended direction for the course. There was brief confusion as the safety boat leading around the course headed to the wrong mark, luckily the leader was a home boat and had the confidence to follow the course instead of the boat. A passing mark caught out a couple of boats who either had to go back or retire from the race. Dan and Richard held places until the end with Alan Bishop pulling through to 3rd.
Going into the 4th race 5 helms had the potential to win the event. The sun was still making its presence felt especially to those who had chosen wetsuits or layered up. Yet more wind shifts brought another course change this time without a lead boat for the first time in the day. The first beat was hard fought with the lead changing on every wind shift. Terry Palmer led around the first mark only to round the next mark the wrong way handing the lead to Guy Lonsdale followed by Dan Goodman. Those 2 led the rest of the race only a slight more pressure giving Dan the lead on lap 2. The result looked certain until the wind died on the last leg and the leader split away heading for the new breeze filling in on the left only for the breeze to swing to the right favouring Guy. Luckily Dan got to the wind in just enough time and crossed a couple of boat lengths in front. Behind there was a good fight for 3rd with Alan Bishop eventually prevailing.
|1st||Dan Goodman||Littleton SC||4735||‑4||3||1||1||5|
|2nd||Guy Lonsdale||South Cerney||4512||3||1||‑6||2||6|
|4th||Richard Cambrook||Littleton SC||4761||‑8||2||2||4||8|
|5th||Julian Rickards||Littleton SC||5187||2||4||11||‑13||17|
|6th||Terry Palmer||Upper Thames SC||4904||5||‑14||8||8||21|
|8th||Ross Lonsdale||West Oxfordshire SC||4927||11||9||4||‑12||24|
|9th||Paul Hurn||Littleton SC||4758||6||13||‑14||5||24|
|10th||Mike Wilkie||Littleton SC||4772||‑17||12||5||7||24|
|11th||Keith Smith||King George SC||5226||‑12||7||7||11||25|
|13th||Ed Pepper||Littleton SC||4851||‑13||10||13||10||33|
|14th||Andy Champ||Littleton SC||4165||14||11||16||‑17||41|
|15th||Phil Sturmer||Royal Burnham Yacht Club||5373||‑22||18||12||14||44|
|16th||Mark Fowler||Littleton SC||5405||9||17||19||(DNF)||45|
|17th||Mike Dray||Littleton SC||4386||7||16||(DNF)||DNS||46|
|18th||Tony Cook||Littleton SC||3844||15||15||‑20||16||46|
|19th||Joe Rycroft||Littleton SC||5222||‑19||19||10||18||47|
|20th||Malcolm Underwood||Littleton SC||1660||‑20||20||17||15||52|
|21st||Debbie Robertshaw||Littleton SC||510||16||22||(DNF)||19||57|
|22nd||Anne Gates||Littleton SC||4648||21||21||18||(DNS)||60|