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Ovington Boats - VX One

Interview with Kev Clark ahead of the Solution nationals at Gunfleet

by Nathan Batchelor 1 Aug 2012 18:34 BST 11-12 August 2012
Kev Clark sailing to victory at the 2011 Solution Nationals © Brian Starr

Under 10 days to go to the start of the 2012 Solution Nationals at Gunfleet SC on 11th August, and it’s shaping up to be the most competitive to date. All of the open meeting winners over the last year are set to compete including 2011 National Champion and Solution co-designer Kev Clark. Boats are anticipated to travel from as far afield as Manchester in the North West to Weymouth in the South to compete on the water in Essex.

Preceding this on the Friday is a training day which is free to class members - for more details and to register for this contact

With this looking to be a very close and competitive event we’ve spoken to Kev Clark to pass on some tips to help the rest of the fleet:

SCA (Solution class association): So how did things start off? When and why did yourself and Andrew Elliot conceive the Solution idea?

KC: I enjoyed sailing the Phantom but was somewhat on the lighter side of the weight range (at around 80kg) so started talking to Andy Elliot of Red Eye Sails about how to cut a sail which was sufficiently de-powered to make the phantom more manageable. The conversation then wandered on to building an entire phantom which was 10% smaller. I thought it could be done so went ahead and had a go as it were! Obviously it wasn’t as simple as just scaling down the phantom by 10% – a lot of thought and effort went into coming up with a design which worked. We also worked on improving some of the challenges that phantom sailors face –such as the “sunken” deck was included to overcome the phantom problem of running control lines back to the helm. We also changed some things to contain costs – such as having a single manufacturer and alloy spars. The outcome of a few of these enables the boat to cost almost 50% less than a Phantom.

SCA: Why the name Solution?

KC: Well, the trend at the time was to use numbers a lot – 800, 4000, etc and we wanted a word. Picking which word was the problem and “Solution” was the solution to that problem.

SCA: What classes had you sailed previously?

KC: Quite a few over the years starting with a Mirror, National 12 (as crew), Streaker, Comet, International moth (magnum8), Laser 2, Contender, Wayfarer, many Phantoms and since then Solution, (and more recently an Albacore!)

SCA: Did you have a good time sailing the prototype? What were the main changes that took place to the hull and rig during this time?

KC: Yes, we had a great time sailing the boat during the development process- mainly in the Solent out of Seafarers SC and also inland. During trialling the rig was moved slightly further forward in the boat (circa 100mm) & numerous mainsheet arrangements were trialled before settling on the current arrangement. The hull shape didn’t need to change from the moment it got wet.

SCA: What are the more common mistakes sailors new to the class make?

KC: Oversheeting the main – it ain’t a Laser! Trying to point to hard – being a light hull it doesn’t carry momentum and is easy to stall if you pinch. Not enough kicker –pull it on till snot comes out of your nose if it’s windy.

SCA: What hints could you give club level Solution sailors to improve their performance?

KC: The main tip would be to come to at least one open meeting to see how other Solutions are being sailed, even if you’re not interested in sailing an open circuit. There is no better way to learn than to follow a well-sailed Solution up the beat.
Sail the boat flat. As in properly flat, not at the 5 degree angle we all think of as flat. Don’t be afraid to really rake the rig back when it’s windy.

About the Solution

The Solution is a hiking single hander designed to provide exciting but manageable sailing for all sailors in the 65 to 85kg weight range. The boat was conceived by Kevin Clark and Andrew Elliott for sailors who were too light for a Phantom or a Finn but wanted more performance than that offered by some traditional classes. A light weight epoxy hull and a semi battened 8.5sqm laminate sail make the boat an offwind flyer. The Solution is hand built in the UK by Ovington Boats, if you would like a test sail contact Nathan Batchelor

www.solutionclass.org

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