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Solent Forts Race 2017

by Richard Golden 25 Jun 2017 10:27 BST 17 June 2017
Nathaniel Ward & Caleb Cooper during the Solent Forts Race 2017 © Matt Welsh

The Solent Forts Race is a long-distance event for sports catamarans set in the Eastern Solent and run by Hayling Ferry Sailing Club from their base at Langstone Harbour entrance. The race utilises a multi-leg format with boats returning after every leg to a turning mark laid off the Club's slipway.

The 2017 edition of this event was held on Sunday 17th June with a practice race on the Saturday and the Club's 'Band-on-the-Beach' summer party on Saturday evening. The weekend was sponsored by Harken and Wildwind.

Both days were hot and sunny with a sea breeze providing what one of the competitors described as 'champagne sailing' on Saturday.

The start of the Solent Forts Race on Sunday was delayed until 12:30 for the sea breeze which eventually kicked in shortly after midday on the hottest day of the year so far. The first leg to Spitbank Fort saw the fleet reaching along the coast towards Portsmouth in a building breeze. The first three boats were F18s led by Simon Northrop and Josh O'Brian followed by Tim Neal and Bob Fry with Grant Piggott and Simon Farren in third.

The second leg to No Man's Land Fort saw the F18 of Nick Barnes and Stuart Smith move up to third with the first two places unchanged. With the breeze now dropping and the flow into the harbour mouth increasing the backmarkers were struggling to get out of the harbour mouth against the tide to start leg three (to East Winner Cardinal), and a couple of boats retired.

With the wind continuing to drop the Race Officer shortened the course after leg 3. The winning boat completed the three legs of the course in 3hrs 51minutes, sailing a distance (measured directly between marks) of approximately 20 nautical miles.

Overall Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmCrewClub
1F18GBR51Simon NorthropJosh O'BrianMinnis Bay
2F18GBR1577Tim NealBob FryParkstone YC
3F18GBR514Nick BarnesStuart SmithBrightlingsea
4F18GBR957Grant PiggottSimon FarrenWeston
5F182688Matt IlstonTerry HuntHayling Ferry
DNFF1663Megan SmithDavid NickallsGWSC/Marconi
DNFF18GBR29Ghislain MelaineMax McCarrollWYL
DNFF18GBR519Andy ChapmanMark TaylorHayling Ferry
DSQF18GBR1588Nathaniel WardCaleb CooperWeston

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