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Harken National Solo Inland Championships at Rutland Sailing Club

by Will Loy, National Solo Class Editor 9 Sep 2013 15:17 BST 7-8 September 2013

As in previous years, the N.S.C.A held a training day on the Friday that preceded the main event and 34 association members were coached on and off the water by the team of class trainers. The N.S.C.A training scheme has been run very successfully for over ten years and gives the chance for the top Solo helms to pass on their knowledge to the newer members. Training days are run up and down the country and are free to association members.

The Main Event

A fantastic entry of 96 Solos' made the trip for the 6 race series set in the beautiful surroundings of Rutland Water. PRO Ralph Tingle led the briefing and Bill Brockenbank explained how he would be policing the fleet on the water from his jury boat. The fleet obviously paid attention to both as black flags and rule 42 infringements were few. The forecast was for 10-16knots dropping later and this was proved accurate, the sunshine was a bonus and the temperature was a very pleasant 18 degrees.

Race 1

The committee boat looked favoured but a shift just before the start favoured those at the pin with Kevan Gibb 5399 and Paul Heath in the front row. At the top mark Kevan rounded first.

Kevan Gibb; "I started at the pin and held out to the left, tacked on the header and crossed the fleet. I rounded first with a couple of guys close behind."

The leaders were able to soak low down the reaches while the remainder of the fleet tussled for pressure. There was a large right hand shift up the second beat which favoured the chasing pack as they were on the inside of the lift. Anyone who had gone left early found themselves eating headers to get back to the middle of the course.

Kevan was already far enough up the beat to not be affected and held the lead down the run to the finish. Paul Heath and Paul Rayson took second and third respectively with a fast finishing Andy Tunnicliffe in fourth.

Kevan; "I held the lead down the reaches and went left up the second beat, tacking on the shifts and maintained until the finish. It is always tight racing in the Solo Class and great fun."

There was a lengthy delay before race 2 as the PRO hoped the wind direction would settle.

Race 2

The pin end was favoured and the majority of the fleet wanted to start there so the result was a recall. I was especially pleased as I had started at the committee boat and the vision of the fleet crossing on port was like walking to your car and finding a parking ticket under your wiper.

The fleet finally got away and those who were able to tack onto port at the pin were away. I was pinned out to the left and despite pointing out very delicately that we would be reaching into the top mark, could not persuade my tormentor to tack until way too late. The leaders had worked back to the middle of the course and were able to play the shifts. Ross Harvey won the race.

Ross; "I started very near the pin, there was a pretty big left shift just before the start so I was able to tack onto it quite early after the start, just after a few other guys so rounded fourth."

Chris Brown in the new John Poulson/P+ B Solo led from Dave Winder and Micheal Sims and extended on the downwind legs but was very unlucky to find himself on the outside of another right hand lift up the second beat.

Ross; "I went further right than the leaders on the second circuit and hooked into a big right hand lift, taking the lead by the top mark. The chasing group made ground on me down the run as the wind filled in from behind but I was able to hold to the finish."

How do you find sailing the Solo downwind in these conditions?

Ross; "It is quite difficult racing these legs in non planing conditions as the boats behind can try and get above you so I try to sink low and encourage them not to go too high, at least that way we do not ruin both our races."

So Ross won race 2 from Micheal Sims and Dave Winder with Stuart Bush fourth.

Race 3

The wind had dropped but was holding at 6-8 knots. The direction had changed and the race course was tracked round to the right accordingly. The fleet started fairly evenly and those at the committee boat end initially looked favoured but as the wind went left the pin end starters seemed to have the advantage. The wind continued to track left and now they were overstanding.

Paul Rayson; "I started in the middle of the line, the fleet split left and right but I played the shifts up the middle and rounded first from Dave Winder. The racing at the front was very tight but I was able to hold the lead down the reaches. Up the final beat I was able to maintain a comfortable lead but behind there was some significant place changing as the wind dropped and filled in from the right."

Andy Tunnicliffe had started at the committee boat end and after one circuit he was in the twenties. He worked his way through the fleet and went hard right up the last beat, hooking into pressure and finishing fourth behind Paul, Dave Winder and Chris Mayhew in the wooden Poulson Solo.

So Andy Tunnicliffe would be the over night leader and would wear the event leader yellow jersey on day 2. The forecast was for lighter winds so the fleet retired to their accommodation, tents and cars with nervous anticipation and the taste of beer lingering in their mouths.

Day 2

What was the secret yesterday Andy?

Andy; "Keeping clear air off the startline was key, not doing anything too stupid and not losing your head when things go wrong! Staying calm and focused. The wind was oscillating so not committing too early to one side of the course was important. I tended to stay near the middle of the line until a minute or two before the start to gauge which shift would be the right one to be on at the gun. Today I will just be looking at the bigger picture, not getting too involved with my nearest rivals and tacking on the shifts!"

Race 4

The sun was shining and the wind was around 8 knots. There was a delay of nearly an hour as the wind settled. Eventually the fleet were away with Michael Sims stamping his intent with the bullet.

Michael; "With two minutes to go before the start there was a big right hand shift making the committee boat end favoured. I had planned to start at the pin so tried to get as far back down the line as possible. I made a good start and played the right of the course to round first. I was able to sail my own race on the downwinds and lose covered the fleet upwind and took the win."

Stuart Gibson, one of the Scottish contingent this weekend finished second with Jon Jowett a very creditable third. Nigel Davies and Brenda Hoult completed the top five and overnight leader Andy Tunnicliffe was seventh. Ross Harvey had a bad race and would need to come out all guns blazing to re-ignite his chances.

Race 5

There was drama as the black flag was wielded, some numbers were taken and dreams crushed for another year. Brenda Hoult, Stuart Bush, Paul Rayson and Andy Tunnicliffe among the fallen. At the top mark it was Ross Harvey, making amends for the folly of race 4 from Chris Mayhew who was showing good form in the wooden Solo. Michael Sims rounded third.

Michael; "I rounded behind Ross and Chris and was able to get through into second by the bottom of the triangle. I lost ground on the next upwind when caught on the wrong side of a left hand shift at the top of the beat. I maintained fourth to the finish."

So Ross Harvey took the race win from Chris Brown and Chris Mayhew with Micheal Sims fourth and now leading overall.

The wind continued to deviate in strength and direction and when the deadline time limit of 2.25pm was reached, racing was abandoned.

Michael Sims had defended his title he won in 2012 from Ross Harvey who is a very welcome addition to the National Solo fleet and Andy Tunnicliffe who continues to make the podium, third. Chris Brown is back in the hunt for titles and his fourth overall a good platform for 2014. Paul Rayson showed he is a big fleet player in fifth and Chris Mayhew has come of age with sixth overall.

Michael thanked Rutland Water S.C. for the professional running of the event, especially the PRO who provided fair race course management in very tricky conditions.

Thanks to Bill Brockenbank for his expertise and guidance as jury boat, to Harken for their generous sponsorship and to Noble Marine who support the N.S.C.A. A special thank you to all the association members who attended this event, big fleets, fair racing and friendly people.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st5302Michael SimsCarsington SC72‑81414
2nd5198Ross HarveyHISC/Bowmoor916‑24117
3rd5340Andy TunnicliffeRoyal Windermere YC4747(BFD)22
4th5464Chris BrownDraycote Water SC8912‑40231
5th5181Paul RaysonFishers Green/Salcombe YC322110(BFD)36
6th4921Chris MayhewRoyal Harwich YC16193‑21341
7th5363David MitchellRYA51511(DNC)1142
8th5362Chris GoldhawkChew Valley1113136(BFD)43
9th5225Steve EdeArdleigh SC14‑26991244
10th5446Ian PinnellNorthampton SC‑4481417847
11th5465David WinderHollingworth Lake SC3632‑37950
12th5157Stuart GibsonCC Bardowie2016‑2921856
13th5312Paul HeathPolice Sailing UK2172023‑3362
14th5388John BlundellStaunton Harold SC15‑282714662
15th5399Kevan GibbLargo Bay SC1541‑421663
16th4803Godfrey ClarkFishers Green SC‑47231581965
17th5191Stuart BushShustoke SC2342316(BFD)66
18th4991Stuart HydonShustoke SC321118‑41566
19th5130Mark LeeWeymouth SC‑31242213766
20th5421Nigel PybusDraycote Water SC2518‑44151068
21st5326Nigel DaviesDraycote Water SC22‑391942671
22nd5280Vince HoreyKing George SC19122125(BFD)77
23rd5386Stephen GrahamBurwain SC3561028(BFD)79
24th5126Vanda JowettLittleton SC4214(DNC)121381
25th5398Andrew FoxLeigh & Lowton2420‑40112883
26th5339Simon MaskellHunts SC301032‑342294
27th5321John WebsterCarsington SC63036‑442496
28th5263Steve DenisonHollingworth Lake SC‑40357381797
29th5134Robert LaurieTollesbury SC13‑4930203497
30th5067Bernard ClarkRipon SC‑502726192799
31st5026Jason AldousPapercourt SC29‑40163529109
32nd5115Andrew BoycePapercourt SC‑5334284520127
33rd5023Brian HollandSCYC3737‑612231127
34th5377Stephen WaiteHighcliffe SC49‑60461823136
35th5147Richard BallChipstead SC‑5121482742138
36th5384Ian HopwoodNantwich283652(DNC)25141
37th4589Ian AyresRollesby Broad‑5629334338143
38th5205Tim DavisonDraycote Water SC39334229(BFD)143
39th5102Jon JowettLittleton SC4656(DNC)339144
40th5158James MeadFishers Green SC1754‑553241144
41st5373Phil SturmerRoyal Burnham YC‑8441343336144
42nd5226Keith SmithKing George SC4550‑633614145
43rd4832Hamish WhyteForfar SC34‑52355130150
44th5098Phil KilburnNotts County SC7332‑792621152
45th5037Alistair RaynardCarsington SC4148‑505015154
46th5320David WalfordBroadwater SC27453855(DNC)165
47th4768Jon CawthorneShustoke SC‑5247394645177
48th4903Bill KnightsGrafham Water SC‑7651244855178
49th5159Chris BiglinShustoke SC263125(DNC)DNC179
50th5408Kevin VialsRipon SC4362‑753147183
51st4267Iain CarpenterNorthampton SC70‑71175449190
52nd5310John OlsonAberdeen & Stonehaven SC12‑81517653192
53rd5449Chris RobinsonHollingworth Lake SC5477‑813032193
54th5413Ian SmithRipon SC60643139(BFD)194
55th5104Bob TaylorTata SC38555(DNF)DNC195
56th5237Derek JackmanChichester YC5938‑695250199
57th5070Ian FirthNotts County SC104453(DNC)DNC204
58th4810Andrew SmithDraycote Water SC33‑85706537205
59th5352Mike WilkieLittleton SC‑6843376663209
60th5012Claire ClarkFishers Green SC‑6966435746212
61st5078Malcolm BuchananDell Quay5746‑644762212
62nd4186Kevin HopkinsMidland SC‑6757564952214
63rd5027Ken TwemlowNotts County SC482545(DNC)DNC215
64th4598Adam ScaseShustoke SC‑8961585943221
65th5273Tim WadeSpinnaker SC21(BFD)62BFD44224
66th4384Paul WilliamsSpinnaker SC62534960(DNF)224
67th4400Jonathan MoonSpinnaker SC66‑82576240225
68th4741Steve JonesWraysbury Lake SC61‑67606448233
69th5243Richard ChristmasHunts SC‑7474725335234
70th5204Brenda HoultHill Head SC5878(DNC)5BFD238
71st5138Patrick OversPaxton Lakes SC556847‑7470240
72nd4857Charles StimpsonSpinnaker SC635954‑6969245
73rd4548Clive GimsonNotts County SC65‑75596754245
74th5230Mick HealyChipstead SC75‑76685656255
75th4504Hywel MorrisSpinnaker SC‑8265745858255
76th5207Mark WiltshireRYA‑7863736360259
77th1102Will LoyRYA1858(DNC)DNCDNC270
78th3977Dave RudmanChipstead SC‑8573676864272
79th3931Brian FisherNotts County SC72‑91717259274
80th5151Andy HAGUERipon SC79‑86777051277
81st4888Colin MatherRipon SC7180‑876175287
82nd5279Mark DunneHunts SC‑8383667565289
83rd3618Bill RidlingtonRutland SC8072‑858157290
84th4551Bill HutchingsTonbridge SC81‑90657866290
85th2845Nick RobinsonSpinnaker SC‑9270827968299
86th4177Gareth JonesBrading Haven77‑84807767301
87th3859Shaun WelshSpinnaker SC8769‑897372301
88th3061Rob TrendChipstead SC86‑88887161306
89th5152Andrew ThompsonChipstead SC(DNF)4278DNCDNC314
90th5448Robert CartwrightBlithfield SC647984(DNF)DNC324
91st3398Stephen WhitesideHunts SC‑8887868074327
92nd4660Keith TurtleChipstead SC90‑92838273328
93rd5002Graham TarranChipstead SC938976(DNC)71329
94th2507Will YallopRutland Watersports‑9494918376344
95th3786Les BrownChipstead SC91939084(DNF)358
96th4616Peter FryerLittleton SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC388