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Soling British National Championships at Rutland Sailing Club

by Paul Tully 14 Jul 2016 15:26 BST 17-19 June 2016
Soling British National Championships 2016 at Rutland © BSA

Six Solings competed in the British Soling Association (BSA) 2016 Soling National Championships in breezes averaging at about 10 knots with a bit of a dip on Sunday morning. The Race Officer Ian Sumner and his team supplied excellent courses, sometimes in shifting wind conditions. When required Ian's team made quick decisions to alter the course and the mark layer, Malcom McGregor, made swift mark movements maintaining the momentum of the event.

Competitors included Gary Richardson who arranged his holidays to return from Darwin, Australia to bring BUZZ, GBR 155 from Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club (B&FYC) to compete with his crew Karl Sloane and Stewart Lee. Also from B&FYC were David Fish, David Guite and Derek Priestley sailing GERDA, GBR 144.

Hamish Louden travelled all the way from Fort William on his own with SOLARIS, GBR 161 to team up with Vincent Meyrignac from Yacht Club Canet-en-Roussillon of France and John Dinnie from Shipton on Stour. Vincent Meyrignac was part of Lionel Vidal's crew from Perpignan in France who came to compete last year in DIRTY HARRY.

Colin Thompson came from Royal Northumberland Yacht Club in Blythe with Dave Meldrum and Malcolm Ness with the boat JUST IN TIME AGAIN, GBR 140 which he recently purchased from Martin Bowmer of the fleet in Barry, South Wales. It had been called Marsala Mags. Colin has only recently returned to the Soling fleet after being away twenty-eight years.

Two home boats competed from Rutland Sailing Club (RSC). Paul Tully raced ROMANCE, using sails numbered GBR1 (but registered as GBR127) with crew Ian Dooley and Gareth Larkin both of Rutland Sailing Club (RSC).

As part of the BSA's efforts to attract younger sailors, Peter Bell of RSC generously made his boat DIRTY HARRY (using sails No GBR 59) available for the use of young sailors interested in competing. The Rutland fleet offered the boat to someone who had already shown an interest in Solings. The BSA also put up a new trophy for The British National Championships, The Young Sailors Trophy for the best placed young helm/crew.

Rob Morris, a student in Southampton University who crewed for Roman Koch in the Europeans last year and who is from the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble-le-Rice took up the offer and competed with his fellow Southampton University students Titus Treneman (Sailing Captain at Southampton University Students Union's WESSEX SAILING CLUB) and Anthony Lowther from Canada currently doing a PhD at Southampton.

Unfortunately, last year's winners Ken Murray, Tony Freeth and Roger Wilkins were unable to compete this year.

Messrs Morris, Treneman and Lowther in DIRTY HARRY, GBR 59 were a real unknown quantity in the regatta. Could they get the boat operating effectively and learn its quirks quickly enough to be a real threat?

While Messrs Fish, Priestley, Guite won the first race on Friday morning in GERDA, Messrs Richardson, Sloane and Lee were close behind coming in second with BUZZ. The boys from Southampton University in DIRTY HARRY came in third showing that they indeed were a threat. Messrs Loudon, Dinnie and Meyrignac in SOLARIS came in fourth.

In first race of the afternoon Messrs Richardson, Sloane and Stewart (BUZZ) came first harried by Messrs Morris, Treneman and Lowther (DIRTY HARRY), Messrs Fish, Guite and Priestly (GERDA) and Messrs Loudon, Dinnie and Meyrignac (SOLARIS) who came second third and fourth respectively.

In the second race of Friday afternoon Messrs Richardson, Sloane and Stewart got another first while GERDA and DIRTY HARRY swopped places coming second and third followed by SOLARIS.

Gary Richardson and his crew in BUZZ dominated racing on Saturday take a first on all three races while the young team from Southampton University took second place in each.

At the start of the first race on Sunday the Southampton crew in DIRTY HARRY forced BUZZ the wrong side of the committee boat while Hamish Loudon with John Dinnie and Vincent Meyrignac in SOLARIS were over the line and had to restart. DIRTY HARRY took a first and in spite of the bad start Gary Richardson and crew in BUZZ came second.

Having mastered DIRTY HARRY, the Southampton crew took a first in the final race with BUZZ close behind.

Gary Richardson, Karl Sloane and Stewart Lee (BUZZ) won the regatta overall with The Southampton crew Rob Morris, Titus Treneman and Anthony Lowther (DIRTY HARRY) in second and David Fish, David Guite and Derek Priestley third in GERDA. Hamish Loudon, John Dinnie and Vincent Meyrignac (SOLARIS) were a fairly constant fourth with ROMANCE (Paul Tully, Ian Dooley and Gareth Larkin from RSC) and JUST IN TIME AGAIN (Colin Thompson, Dave Meldrum and Malcolm Ness from RNYC) in consistent fifth and sixth.

Paul Tully, the Secretary of the British Soling Association, said that the BSA and its members are actively opening up opportunities to young, talented sailors to experience sailing Solings which are very technical boats to sail because everything is adjustable on the water including forestay, backstay, upper and lower shrouds. We were delighted to invite Rob Norris and his young crew and give them the opportunity to challenge in this year's Soling Nationals and even more delighted to see them do so well. The time they spent between races and after racing each day practicing and trying different settings certainly paid off. We sincerely hope to see them back next year when I expect they may be the ones to catch!

The BSA is planning on offering opportunities for other young, talented crews to compete next year. For further information, contact BSA secretary Paul Tully email:

The Soling is a one ton, fixed keel, International One Design, three-man racing yacht similar to, but a bit smaller than an Etchells. The Soling was the three-man keelboat for the Olympics from 1972 to 2000 and has many active fleets around the world. The International Soling Association (ISA) holds World Championships and European Championships every year. The Fleet in the UK is managed by the British Soling Association (BSA) - see www.solings.co.uk - which is affiliated to the ISA.

Overall Results:

Young Sailors Trophy: Rob Morris, Titus Treneman, and Anthony Lowther (DIRTY HARRY, GBR59)

President's Trophy for Oldest Boat Competing: Rob Morris, Titus Treneman, and Anthony Lowther (DIRTY HARRY, GBR59)

PlaceSail No.Boat Name Helm CrewCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1st155BuzzGary RichardsonKarl SloaneStewart LeeB&FYC2111112(2)9
2nd59Dirty HarryRobert MorrisTitus TrenemanAnthony LowtherRSYC(3)232221113
3rd144GerdaDavid FishDavid GuiteDerek PriestleyB&FYC132433(5)319
4th161SolarisHamish LoudenJohn DinnieVincent MeyrignacLYC4443443NC)26
5th1RomancePaul TullyIan DooleyGareth LarkinRSC(5)555554433
6th140Just in Time AgainColin ThompsonDave MeldrumMalcolm NessRNYC6NF)NS)6666542

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