Photos © Paul Williamson
Charlie Cumbley (2nd) and Tom Gillard (3rd) in the Solo Spring Championships at Oxford
Solo Spring Championships at Oxford
Oxford Sailing Club hosted the second 'major' of the season and with a favourable forecast of 10-15mph from the southwest and a positively spring like 16 degrees, the only question was, how many would attend?
The club members slick organization enabled 70 Solo sailors entries and certificates to be processed, a great turnout and another example of how popular the class is in the UK. It must be a daunting prospect indeed for new designs to break the hold of this 52 year old design.
The briefing over, the fleet launched and made ready for battle. Practice beats completed, transit markers identified and windshift patterns mentally logged, the focus turned to the start sequence. The first start was recalled, the main protagonists at the committee end. The black flag produced the desired effect with no casualties and the fleet set off, fully powered up. The front runners at the top mark included current National and Nation's Cup champion Charlie Cumbley in the North/ Sailboat mk5.5 and Pete 'wonder boy' Mitchell also in the North/Sailboat mk 5.5. Ian Hopwood was also right up there in the HD powered Winder. Pete found a little more speed and gained the lead by the bottom mark but Charlie soon regained it, hooking into more pressure on the right of the course and extended over the rest of the race to the finish. Pete held second ahead of a fast finishing Andy 'stag' Davis who seemed very keen to get the racing finished so he could begin his stag night activities, never have I seen someone so keen to throw their single life away. Andy had rounded the first mark tenth and "just picked the shifts and kept the boat in good pressure". Fourth was new North Sails recruit Tom Gillard, the Fireball hotshot showing good pace downwind - under 70 kgs has its benefits.
The fleet racing in the Solo class is tight wherever you happen to be and there were many stories shared as we waited in the queue for our lunch. Indiscretions, exonerations and apologies, it was like a mass catholic confession.
No blood spilled it was back out onto the course, the breeze holding at 10-15mph. Black flags on the remaining starts and a few offenders recorded DSQ. The jury boat was on course and the odd whistle, shout, remonstration was heard, 'big' Andy Couch an offender but he was a small criminal compared to 'Captain capsize' who recorded more whistles than Lonny Donaghan. Davis took control of the race from the 'off', finding a clear lane and playing the shifts with a dollop of right hand side to round clear ahead. Couch, Gillard, Mitchell and Cumbley were chasing hard but Davis has been here before and if his nerves are as resolute at the alter as they are on the water then there will be no fainting.
Charlie was noticeably quicker than those around him and the last lap saw him close on Davis but to no avail. Andy Couch pipped Pete Mitchell on the line for third and this would prove costly at the shake down.
So, race three and all to play for. Davis is on 3-1, Cumbley on 1-2, Mitchell on 2-4.
The race was a little anti-climactic with Davis repeating his race 2 win, despite the close attentions of Gillard and Cumbley. The two North sailors split up the last beat but Davis was confident of the speed in his HD powered Winder and played the shifts and would not be drawn into a covering mode. Andy Davis took the title, Tom finished second on the water which elevated him to third overall and Charlie took third to complete a 1-2-3 which in a game of brag would maybe win the hand but in racing the pair of aces from Davis won the pot.
There were some notable performances from others, Andy Couch, booked in for Garda and this is a good indicator of his intentions, Steve Denison back to his best in sixth and Chris Goldhawk looking hungry. It looks like a competitive season ahead and there are already 65 pre-booked for the trip to Italy in July. Sail numbers are well into the 5500s and there are many new faces on the scene.
Congratulations to Andy Davis, a fine sailor and he should make a decent husband for the lucky bride. For Charlie and Tom, well the bridesmaids will have their turn.
Many thanks to all concerned at Oxford S.C. for the organization, food and on water management.
Thanks also to our sponsor Noble Marine.
|2nd||Charlie Cumbley||Teign Corinthian YC||5387||1||2||‑3||3|
|3rd||Tom Gillard||Sheffield Viking SC||5469||4||‑5||2||6|
|4th||Pete Mitchell||Hayling island||5509||2||4||(DNC)||6|
|6th||James Ross||Hamble River SC||5513||6||‑17||4||10|
|8th||Chris Goldhawk (vn)||Chew Valley||5362||‑11||10||5||15|
|10th||Graham Cranford Smith (v)||Chew Valley||5444||12||8||(BFD)||20|
|12th||Ewan Birkin‑Walls||Grafham Water||5135||19||‑21||6||25|
|13th||David Mitchell (v)||RYA||5363||16||9||‑19||25|
|14th||Vince Horey||King George SC||5475||13||12||(DNF)||25|
|15th||Nigel Davies||Draycote Water||5478||15||11||‑28||26|
|16th||Shane Mac Carthy||Greystones SC||5302||9||19||(BFD)||28|
|17th||Mark Ampleford||Island Barn||5500||‑42||16||12||28|
|18th||Stuart Gibson||CCC Bardowie||5157||14||15||(DNC)||29|
|19th||Andrew Fox||Leigh and Lowton||5398||25||‑36||7||32|
|20th||John Blundell||Staunton Harold||5388||‑33||24||9||33|
|22nd||Nick Marden (gmn)||Bough Beech||5291||21||‑30||17||38|
|23rd||Tony Thresher (v)||West Oxfordshire SC||3712||‑40||14||25||39|
|25th||Sam Woodcock||Norfolk Broads YC||5476||‑23||18||23||41|
|26th||Gareth Griffiths (gmn)||Island Barn||5215||17||‑27||26||43|
|27th||Mark Lee (v)||Weymouth||5130||18||26||‑33||44|
|29th||Andrew Boyce (gm)||Papercourt||5115||‑32||25||20||45|
|30th||Brian Kitching (v)||Chew Valley SC||5437||24||‑34||21||45|
|31st||Keith Smith (gm)||King George SC||5226||31||‑48||15||46|
|32nd||Guy Lonsdale (v)||South Cerney||4512||26||‑28||24||50|
|33rd||Simon Lomas‑Clarke||Frensham Pond||5371||28||23||‑34||51|
|34th||Peter Gray||Staunton Harold SC||5246||34||‑45||18||52|
|35th||Chris Gillard (v)||Sheffield Viking SC||5515||20||33||(DNC)||53|
|36th||Simon Maskell (v)||Hunts||5339||22||‑35||32||54|
|37th||Andy Anderson (v)||Hunts.||4506||41||‑52||16||57|
|38th||Tim Gray (gm)||Staunton Harold||5443||30||‑32||29||59|
|39th||Paul Playle||Island Barn||5466||‑48||38||22||60|
|40th||Ian Brooks (v)||Trearddur Bay SC||4419||38||‑40||27||65|
|41st||Roger Lumby||Salcombe YC||5332||‑44||31||36||67|
|42nd||John Webster (gm)||Carsington||5488||39||29||(DNF)||68|
|43rd||Graham Wilson (gm)||Northampton||4736||‑46||43||30||73|
|44th||Richard Ball||Chipstead SC||5147||36||37||‑38||73|
|45th||Tim Wade (gm)||Spinnaker||5273||‑47||44||31||75|
|46th||Peter Warne (v)||Northampton SC||4680||‑45||42||40||82|
|47th||Paul Hurn (gm)||Littleton||4758||‑56||49||35||84|
|48th||Hilary King (v)||Frensham Pond SC||5442||43||‑56||41||84|
|49th||Adrian Bunnis (vn)||Bough Beech||5227||49||‑55||37||86|
|50th||Mike Wilkie (gm)||Littleton||5352||‑57||41||46||87|
|51st||Stephen Waite (gm)||Highcliffe||5377||‑50||39||49||88|
|52nd||Robert Trend (gm)||Chipstead SC||5265||‑63||51||39||90|
|53rd||Patrick Overs (v)||Paxton Lakes||5138||‑53||50||43||93|
|54th||Brian Fisher (gm)||Notts. County SC||4882||52||‑60||45||97|
|57th||Phil Sturmer||Royal Burnham SC||5373||55||‑61||47||102|
|59th||Mark Maskell (v)||Blackwater||5455||37||(DNC)||DNC||108|
|60th||Patrick Fell (v)||Papercourt||4967||54||54||(DNC)||108|
|61st||Colin Mather (v)||Ripon SC||5384||‑59||59||50||109|
|62nd||Patrick Burns (gm)||RYA||5430||‑60||58||52||110|
|63rd||Paul Williams (v)||Spinnaker||3923||66||47||(BFD)||113|
|64th||Shaun Welsh (v)||Spinnaker||3859||‑64||62||51||113|
|65th||Charles Stimpson (v)||Spinnaker||4857||‑65||63||53||116|
|66th||Mick Healy||Chipstead SC||5230||‑67||64||55||119|
|67th||Dave Rudman||Chipstead SC||3977||‑68||66||54||120|
|68th||Bill Hutchings (v)||Tonbridge||4551||‑70||65||56||121|
|70th||Paul Whybrow (v)||Tamar Lake||4524||69||(DNC)||DNC||140|