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Solo Open at Maidenhead Sailing Club

by Jennifer Heward-Craig 26 Apr 2017 08:09 BST 23 April 2017

The wind was a fickle mistress at Maidenhead Sailing Club at Sunday's Solo Open, playing hide and seek throughout the day with sailors and race crew alike. The nineteen competitors, some backing up from competing at Burghfield the day before, spent most of the day chasing the fluky conditions, with those who could handle the lighter winds coming out on top.

After a postponement, Race 1 started well, with Tim Lewis (5561) barely ahead of the rest of the fleet, but by the second lap, he was clearly in front. Steve Jones (4741) took a contrary line across the top of the lake, positioning himself amongst the frontrunners, who had followed Lewis below the island. There followed a hard fought battle: Lewis and Richard Willetts (5726) changed lead a number of times, but with Willetts dropping off to fifth in the final lap, Lewis took first, with Andrew Boyce (5666) second. Local sailor Jon Hirsh (5189) – despite his back-of-the-fleet start – crossed third.

Post lunch, and the rumouredly southwesterly wind picked up to a Force 2. That meant some speed, but no direction, and the race crew moved from one end of the lake to the other in search of a decent beating start, only to move back when the wind shifted again. The first start was too tight, with sailors pushed over the line in the final seconds. One general recall later, and the boats got away cleanly. Lewis, Hirsh and Richard Ball (5595) broke away from the rest of the fleet early, and by the second lap, the fight for first place was between Lewis and Hirsh. Near the second windward mark, Lewis got into difficulties, giving Hirsh the lead, which he kept to the finish line. Lewis – troubles notwithstanding – was a close second, with Ball a distant third.

Starting the third race was a protracted affair. The constant shift of the wind meant that wherever the committee boat positioned itself, the bias was at the pin end. After the first general recall, the black flag went up, but, with the wind frisky, a second general recall had all but two of the boats returning to the start. The third start was clean, if not a little hesitant. By the first mark, Lewis was ahead again, closely harried by Willetts, Hirsh, and Ball. By the third mark, the fleet was strung out across the lake. Clean air on the high side of the lake gave Willetts a boost, bringing him to within a couple of boat lengths of Lewis. From there on, it was a battle for the top positions: Lewis v Willetts; Ball v Hirsh; Boyce v Chris Nash (4684). The wind died away, and Lewis's light weather skills gave him the final edge. He finished first, ahead of Willetts, with Hirsh just getting in ahead of Ball.

Once all the results were in, Lewis's nett total of 2pts edged out Hirsh's 4pts. With three sailors on a nett of 7pts, Willetts second in the last race gave him third overall.

With Godfrey Clarke out injured, this year's series could be anybody's!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st5561Tim LewisIsland Barn SC1‑212
2nd5189Jon HirshMaidenhead SC‑3134
3rd5726Richard WillettsBurghfield SC5‑627
4th5666Andrew BoycePapercourt SC2‑557
5th5595Richard BallChipstead SC‑11347
6th5146Adam MeekingsMaidenhead SC4‑7711
7th4741Steve JonesLittleton SC74‑911
8th4684Chris NashMaidenhead SC8‑15614
9th4629Kevin HastingsMaidenhead SC68(BFD)14
10th4618Sacha MayhewMaidenhead SC‑109817
11th5168Jonathan OtterPapercourt SC9‑131019
12th5585James GladwynMaidenhead SC‑12101222
13th4454Stas LawickiPapercourt SC13‑161124
14th1483Joanne BarnesMaidenhead SC‑16111425
15th5265Rob TrendChipstead SC1412‑1526
16th5000Mark SavillMaidenhead SC‑15141327
17th5274Geoff BatchelderMaidenhead SC‑17171633
18th834Paul FletcherMaidenhead SC18‑191735
19th3897Denise FergusonMaidenhead SC(DNC)18BFD38

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