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Harken Solo Inland Championship at Rutland Sailing Club - Day 1

by Jo Catterall 10 Sep 2017 11:04 BST 9-10 September 2017
Andy Davis wins the 2017 Harken Solo Inlands © Will Loy

I've been asked to step in and write a Solo report for the Inland Championship, sponsored by Harken. Being new to this and not a sailor please accept my apologies now if the report is not quite as expected!

So, whilst the day dawned bright and fair it's hard to believe that sat here writing this I'm listening to the thunder and torrential downpours that have ensued throughout the day.

There were 73 boats in the park so as you can imagine plenty of "boat chat" going on, tactics been discussed, which sail to use and where the rig should be, (I believe that just about sums up the average boat park chat?).

I was privileged enough to be invited out on the judges rib to take some photos of the fleet in the absence of Class President Will Loy. Not being a sailor and about 5'4" Mark Lee, who had arrived directly from Holland (where he had won the spoils and is the new Champion) kindly lent me his waterproof trousers. I would think he is nearly 6 foot! The club sorted the life vest, which was colour coordinated, and so I set out in what I anticipate will be a new fashion trend for the fleet!

Boarding the rib Steve Watson the "on water jury" clearly saw I was not experienced, offering his hand so I did not collapse in a heap and off we set. After a few issues trying to keep the judges flag up, Steve suggested I had a go tying it up with the red rope and in doing so pulled this plug thing out of the boat and the water poured in! Fortunately I was of the mind to realise it was wrong and shoved it back in very quickly! Steve hadn't realised the rope he wanted me to use was attached to the plug! He had a wry laugh out loud, I think his thoughts when giving his instructions were along the lines of 'stupid woman!... until he realised his error.

I would urge anyone with the chance to go out with our judge should. He was very considerate & I learnt a lot!

As we sat with the fleet before the first race it was clear that there was a squall about to descend. Never mind hurricane Irma this was hurricane Rutland. I quickly took some pictures and then got my phone away, hood up & waited for it to hit. A couple of boats headed for the sanctuary of the beach meanwhile as my photos show Chris Brown was seen praying and Steve Ede looking up for divine intervention! Religious lot this Solo Committee! The rescue crew bobbed over to ask "what's the associations policy regarding lightening". Wow I'd thought I was just on a little jaunt till then. After a ten minute abandonment, rain pounding down on us, the start sequence commenced. How anyone could see what they were doing was impressive! And they were off, first time too, quite unusual for our guys, perhaps they were worried about been heckled!

Race 1

Mike Sims led from start to finish but not without a fight, the Burwain boys Innes Armstrong and Stephen Graham were in the mix chasing hard as was Mr Lee but to be fair Sims was well away. However a great sail by Taxi from way back saw him move supremely into second.

Results were 1st Sims, 2nd Taxi, 3rd Armstrong. I'm sorry if I've missed anyone who was in the mix out, you must realise I'm a SWAG (sailing wives and girlfriends) so normally see this from dry land!

As Race 1 finished I was whisked back to shore to join the SWAGs, walk the dog, as the next squall was on its way in.

Race 2

Delayed as the wind fluctuated 30 degrees finally started with a port end bias. Can you tell a sailor has helped me with this? Thank you Mr Fisher. During the race the wind backed to make the beat a single tack leg. Martin Honnor commented "slightly biased beat which I benefitted from", 4th round the windward mark.

The sailing was very exciting - 1st Taxi, 2nd Armstrong (he's from Burwain don't you know) 3rd the Irish God Shane MacCarthy.

Race 3

Race 3 preceded by another huge thunderstorm, rain and hail hit the course which had to be rejigged as the wind backed again, many commented to me it that it was a hard day for Race Officer.

1st Sims, his second bullet, 2nd, Olli Wells who finally made an effort! however, the sail of the day sits with Mitchell (veteran - love you Dave) finishing 3rd. As quoted "not bad for an old bloke "

The leaders are; 1st Taxi, 2nd Sims, 3rd Honnor.

So all to play for tomorrow. As for the judge, not too busy in the first, a couple of infringements but only politely pointed out to the folks that didn't do turns for hitting the mark or other competitors (naughty! you know who you are) but all in all I think everyone had a good day. Certainly the wine and beer hit the spot!