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Solo Open at Littleton Sailing Club

by Vanda Jowett on 31 Mar 2015 29 March 2015
Solos at Littleton © Mike Wilkie

A race too far!

The forecast for Sunday 29th March indicated a wind speed of 25mph gusting to 45mph, which inevitably led to some discussion on whether the meeting should take place at all. Not wanting to disappoint those who were still indicating they would want to take part despite the forecast, the decision was made to go ahead as planned. So it was that Sunday morning saw fifteen hardy Solo sailors, made up of seven visitors and eight home boats, rigging for the start of what would prove to be an exciting day for all.

Since the wind was due to increase as the day went on, Race Officer Greg Eaton was keen to get the planned races underway without delay. The first two races were back to back before lunch and then two more were planned after lunch.

Race 1 saw the competitors closely grouped as they battled up the first beat. Two home club boats sadly failed to reach the first mark due to capsize and/or gear failure. Once round the first mark the remaining fleet took a deep breath and bore away onto the first of the downwind legs followed by the gybe mark, very quickly finding out how bigger part the ability to stay upright was going to play on the day. Cliff Crawshaw (Littleton SC), revelling in the lively conditions, led the way, with the gap to the rest opening up as the race progressed. Most of the competitors found themselves involuntarily checking their centre boards from the underside of their boat at some stage during the race, so that the ability to recover quickly from a capsize became a major influence on the final finishing places. Ten boats finished the race, with Crawshaw leading from James Ross (Hamble River SC) in second place and Martin Frary in third.

The day was already starting to take its toll on some, so that race 2 saw just eight boats on the start line. Having had enough centreboard scrutineering in the first race, this small but determined fleet managed on the whole to get round less scathed, to the disappointment of the gathering spectators, hoping for entertainment. Crawshaw again proved to be the master of these conditions, pulling away to a comfortable win, with Frary in second and Ross third.

True to forecast the wind had been increasing during the morning with gusts of 30+ mph recorded, so over lunch it was agreed that there would be just one more race. Race 3 saw seven boats on the start line, and with the wind increasing further, the entertainment for the spectators was assured. The mean wind speed was now at 25mph with gusts of 45mph, and thirty minutes into the race a particularly big gust caught several boats out at the leeward end of the course, with three boats giving a particular good display of synchronized capsizing. It was at this point that the Race Officer decided there had been enough entertainment for one day and wisely abandoned further racing.

A day to remember, one bent mast, failed kicking straps, sore hands and aching limbs, but those that had taken part, seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will no doubt be dining out on the thrills and spills for a while to come.

At the prize giving the Race Officer and his team were thanked for a well run day, in particular the rescue teams, for whom it had been nearly as hard a day on the water as it had been for the sailors themselves!

Overall Results:

PositionHelmClubSail NoR1R2Pts
1stCliff CrawshawLittleton SC5290112
2ndMartin Frary 5583325
3rdJames RossHamble River SC5513235
4thSimon DerhamLittleton SC53934711
5thAndrew BoycePapercourt SC51157613
6thTim LewisIsland Barn SC516810414
7thSteve JonesLittleton SC4741DNF521
8thTerry PalmerUpper Thames SC49045DNC21
9thJulian RickardsLittleton SC51876DNC22
10thJon JowettLittleton SC51028DNF24
11thPeter CurlChipstead SC51679DNC25
12thPaul HurnLittleton SC4758DNFDNC32
12thRichard CambrookLittleton SC4761DNFDNC32
12thVanda JowettLittleton SC5126DNFDNC32
12thPaul PlayleIsland Barn SC5466DNFDNC32

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