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Noble Marine Solo Spring Championships at Oxford Sailing Club

by Editor 6 Apr 2014 19:23 BST 5 April 2014
Andy Davies wins the Solo Spring Championships at Oxford © Paul Williamson

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.

Overall Results:

PosHelmClubSail NoR1R2R3Pts
1stAndy DavisBlithfield5465‑3112
2ndCharlie CumbleyTeign Corinthian YC538712‑33
3rdTom GillardSheffield Viking SC54694‑526
4thPete MitchellHayling island550924(DNC)6
5thAndy CouchRLSC541873(DNC)10
6thJames RossHamble River SC55136‑17410
7thSteve DensonHCSC547356‑1411
8thChris Goldhawk (vn)Chew Valley5362‑1110515
9thAndrew WildeCarsington5492‑87815
10thGraham Cranford Smith (v)Chew Valley5444128(BFD)20
11thIan HopwoodNantwich548010‑201121
12thEwan Birkin‑WallsGrafham Water513519‑21625
13thDavid Mitchell (v)RYA5363169‑1925
14thVince HoreyKing George SC54751312(DNF)25
15thNigel DaviesDraycote Water54781511‑2826
16thShane Mac CarthyGreystones SC5302919(BFD)28
17thMark AmplefordIsland Barn5500‑42161228
18thStuart GibsonCCC Bardowie51571415(DNC)29
19thAndrew FoxLeigh and Lowton539825‑36732
20thJohn BlundellStaunton Harold5388‑3324933
21stCraig WilliamsonSHSC5198‑29221335
22ndNick Marden (gmn)Bough Beech529121‑301738
23rdTony Thresher (v)West Oxfordshire SC3712‑40142539
24thMike DrayLittleton43862713(DNC)40
25thSam WoodcockNorfolk Broads YC5476‑23182341
26thGareth Griffiths (gmn)Island Barn521517‑272643
27thMark Lee (v)Weymouth51301826‑3344
28thAlastair RaynardCarsington503735‑461045
29thAndrew Boyce (gm)Papercourt5115‑32252045
30thBrian Kitching (v)Chew Valley SC543724‑342145
31stKeith Smith (gm)King George SC522631‑481546
32ndGuy Lonsdale (v)South Cerney451226‑282450
33rdSimon Lomas‑ClarkeFrensham Pond53712823‑3451
34thPeter GrayStaunton Harold SC524634‑451852
35thChris Gillard (v)Sheffield Viking SC55152033(DNC)53
36thSimon Maskell (v)Hunts533922‑353254
37thAndy Anderson (v)Hunts.450641‑521657
38thTim Gray (gm)Staunton Harold544330‑322959
39thPaul PlayleIsland Barn5466‑48382260
40thIan Brooks (v)Trearddur Bay SC441938‑402765
41stRoger LumbySalcombe YC5332‑44313667
42ndJohn Webster (gm)Carsington54883929(DNF)68
43rdGraham Wilson (gm)Northampton4736‑46433073
44thRichard BallChipstead SC51473637‑3873
45thTim Wade (gm)Spinnaker5273‑47443175
46thPeter Warne (v)Northampton SC4680‑45424082
47thPaul Hurn (gm)Littleton4758‑56493584
48thHilary King (v)Frensham Pond SC544243‑564184
49thAdrian Bunnis (vn)Bough Beech522749‑553786
50thMike Wilkie (gm)Littleton5352‑57414687
51stStephen Waite (gm)Highcliffe5377‑50394988
52ndRobert Trend (gm)Chipstead SC5265‑63513990
53rdPatrick Overs (v)Paxton Lakes5138‑53504393
54thBrian Fisher (gm)Notts. County SC488252‑604597
55thJo GoyderOxford4499‑585744101
56thJonathan MoonSpinnaker4400‑615348101
57thPhil SturmerRoyal Burnham SC537355‑6147102
58thDuncan SymeBanbury412062‑6742104
59thMark Maskell (v)Blackwater545537(DNC)DNC108
60thPatrick Fell (v)Papercourt49675454(DNC)108
61stColin Mather (v)Ripon SC5384‑595950109
62ndPatrick Burns (gm)RYA5430‑605852110
63rdPaul Williams (v)Spinnaker39236647(BFD)113
64thShaun Welsh (v)Spinnaker3859‑646251113
65thCharles Stimpson (v)Spinnaker4857‑656353116
66thMick HealyChipstead SC5230‑676455119
67thDave RudmanChipstead SC3977‑686654120
68thBill Hutchings (v)Tonbridge4551‑706556121
69thWill LoyRYA110251(DNC)DNC122
70thPaul Whybrow (v)Tamar Lake452469(DNC)DNC140

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