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National Solo Western Area Championship at Salcombe Yacht Club

by David Greening 11 Oct 2016 12:28 BST 8-9 October 2016

Salcombe Yacht Club hosed the National Solo Dinghy Western Area Championship over the weekend of 8th and 9th October. The event kicked off on Friday when former National Champion Charlie Cumbley ran an informal training session, and gave participants the opportunity to try out some of the latest North Sails.

Thirty four competitors, including thirteen visitors, arrived at the start line on Saturday. With a light North Easterly breeze over an ebb tide, Race Officer Ian Stewart set a course taking the fleet to Crossways, Blackstone, Gerston, Crossways, before the fleet headed for the finish line.

Conditions were challenging and even the local helmsmen were divided on which side of the harbour to start, in the end it was those that started on the Portlemouth shore that prevailed leaving a number of the fancied sailors who started at the Watch House end with their work cut out to avoid a first race discard.

Local light wind ace Simon Dobson took up the lead, challenged by Dan Ellis, whilst Tim Law played his "get out of jail" card by heading early for the Salcombe shore after rounding Blackstone, to emerge in third place.

Race Officer Norman Brown took control of the racing on Saturday afternoon on a dying breeze, sending the fleet back into the Bag, the choice of side was less critical this time, with the fleet short tacking around Snapes Point to Tosnos.

On the return through the Bag, the frontrunners became becalmed, whilst the breeze filled in from behind, compressing the fleet. The chief beneficiary was Chris Cleaves, who maintained his momentum to overtake Simon Dobson.

To the delight of the fleet, the race was shortened after the beat back from Blackstone, sparing them the ordeal of a return to the Bag, with Charlie Cumbley securing the remaining podium place.

The sailors retired to Salcombe Yacht Club for a fleet supper, with 8 times National Champion and Salcombe sailor Alec Stone in attendance as the guest of honour. National Solo Class President Will Loy gave a moving speech celebrating the 60 year history of the Solo Class and the part that Alec played in it both as a sailor and boat builder, which was completed by a presentation of a plaque made up of the mast-step from Alec's 1966 National Championship winning boat "Minstrel".

Sunday morning dawned with some bleary eyed sailors setting out onto the water at 9am heading for a 10am start outside of the harbour.

Race Officer Dan Bridger set a windward leeward course between Bolt Head and Gara Rock, which was to provide better wind conditions than those to be found in the harbour, which allowed the sailors to stretch their legs, with plenty of interest added by the ebbing tide at the harbour mouth, meeting the West to East tidal flow in the Channel.

Charlie Cumbley was the class act, showing good speed to build up a healthy lead, making excellent use of the downhill surfing conditions; he was followed home by Tim Law and Dan Ellis.

So the final three round race was to be a showdown between Simon Dobson, Charlie Cumbley, Dan Ellis and Tim Law, each holding a high score in their results.

Charlie again burst out of the start, with Dan Ellis and Tim Law in pursuit. Charlie built up a sufficient lead to be protected when the beat went right, with Simon Dobson losing distance to the left. The final finishing order reflected the overall positions.

After the fleet had packed up their boats, the prize giving was held in the Yacht Club, where Western Area Champion thanked the club for making the visitors so welcome and Class Captain Adrian Griffin for helping to organise such an enjoyable event.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st5651Charlie CumbleyTeign Corinthian YC‑73115
2nd5364Daniel EllisYealm YC2‑4327
3rd5599Tim LawSYC3‑10238
4th5676Simon DobsonSYC12‑969
5th5573Chris CleavesSYC91‑16717
6th5665Iain McGregorSYC‑2354817
7th5649Godfrey ClarkeFishers Green SC496‑1719
8th5332Roger LumbySYC‑12128424
9th5361Nick JacksonSYC‑11771024
10th5601Simon YatesSYC61110‑1327
11th4748Jon ClarkeDittisham8811(DNC)27
12th5466Paul PlayleIsland Barn SC‑171413532
13th5617David GreeningSYC‑26205934
14th5598Billy JagoSYC136‑211635
15th5444Graham Cranford SmithSYC‑1916141141
16th4372Ken ComrieCVLSC101518(DNC)43
17th5494John SteelsStarcross YC14‑21201246
18th5416Tony SampsonSouth Caernarvonshire YC‑2019121849
19th5428Simon GibbensSYC51729(DNC)51
20th5535Tim Jackson 18‑22191552
21st5614Mike RoundSouth Cerney15‑26152454
22nd5220Andrew BourneSYC‑2218221959
23rd4803Will LoyGurnard YC24‑30241462
24th5303Andy SavellSYC1613(DNC)DNC64
25th4612Peter SturgessSYC2123‑272266
26th5282Vernon PerkinsSouth Cerney‑2724252069
27th5331Andrew SquireSYC(DNC)DNC172173
28th4789Jayne MorrisSYC‑2825262374
29th5003Paul BottomleySouth Staffs SC29‑32232678
30th4772Nick FisherSYC‑3131302586
31st5453Bruce HattersleySYC2528(DNC)DNC88
32nd5088Tristram SquireSYC332728(DNC)88
33rd5177Graham NurserSYC‑3229312888
34th5306Adrian GriffinSYC30(DNC)322789

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