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Crewing To Win by Saskia Clark
Crewing To Win by Saskia Clark

SORC Solent Shakedown Weekend - Inshore Series Race 1 & 2

by George Isted & Nigel Colley 19 Apr 2018 11:25 BST 14-15 April 2018
SORC Solent Shakedown Weekend - Inshore Series Race 1 & 2 © Tony White

A good entry of 24 boats was a great start to the 2018 SORC season. Both Classes 1 and 2 were well represented and keenly contested. The scene is set for some very close competition in 2018 amongst the seasoned soloists, and a good number of new faces are appearing on the scene.

Class 2 as seen by George Isted on the Contessa 32 "Concerto"

Top marks to SORC and the race management team for arranging two good courses in the conditions presented. A tough weekend on the body and mind as it was the first sail and races of the season for Concerto. My lack of preparation and practice showed on Saturday when I found Concerto's spinnaker downhaul was not rigged correctly which caused a slow spinnaker launch after the start, poor tacking and more spinnaker issues on Sunday that will not be repeated.

Sunday's race was the more enjoyable of the two and Concerto had a much better start although she is not at her best when reaching, without the code 0 being used on the second leg she would be much further down the rankings. With a spring tide calling the lay-lines into marks was critical as we crossed the Solent as it was easy to loose ground by over-shooting the windward marks or getting it wrong and having to crawl up-tide to marks that were in the main tidal stream.

Generally speaking Concerto did pretty well on this front only over-standing a little too much on the third mark. Reaching past Cowes, up-tide and with a southerly breeze was, as it often is, a slightly painful process when absolute concentration on the fickle winds to keep the sails trimmed can result in gains. The wind seemed to ease off considerably for the final long run into the finish which was disappointing as I had caught on Maeva considerably but she sailed away from me again. That all said I'm still pretty happy with two second places in class even if the overall results are not so great.

Very well done to Frederic for his dominating performance this weekend on Maeva, I look forward to redressing this at the next outing.

Class 1 from the cockpit of Nigel Colley's Sun Fast 3200 R2 "Fastrak XI"

I was very much looking forward to this weekend and getting back into solo racing after a long hard winter, interrupted by competing in the Sydney Hobart fully crewed and in the JOG Cherbourg race double-handed - both in Sun Fast 3600s.

The fog and windlass start to Saturday morning was frustrating, but once the wind filled in a little we were off. I mediocre start on Fastrak was compensated by a quick spinnaker hoist and clear air to pull out in front of the fleet with the 3600s but with David Cowell's J105 "Jester", Chris Rustom's "Ding Dong" and Sam White in his 3200 "Mzungu" in hot pursuit all the way to the leeward mark. A conservative but safe drop and rounding, just behind the above mentioned boats was followed by a beat against a foul tide, short tacking up the mainland shore towards Beaulieu River (3E).

"Fastrak" kept in touch with the larger 3600s and eked out a narrow lead on "Jester" and "Mzungu", and called a good layline out from the beach, to the windward mark out in the foul tide. The final light airs run, with a couple of well executed gybes thrown in, to the finish at Charles Stanley, just before Yarmouth, was good for "Fastrak" as we kept the breeze and closed right up into the 3600's "Bellino" and "Game On" and extended our lead over the chasing pack to win Class 1 and take second overall behind my fellow French friend, Frederic Waniart, in "Maeva". (My French claim is a tenuous link through my paternal Grand Parents and is not backed up by my non-existent language skills!). I was well pleased to have good opening race to the season and to upset last seasons 3600 dominance, so enjoy it whilst I can!

Sunday's race in a tricky SSE wind back up the Solent from Lymington against a strong foul tide was actually very enjoyable. The various zig zags across the Solent had us having to work out upwind laylines, launching of the Code Zeros and a couple of downwind spinnaker legs, so lots of sail changing and packing to keep us busy. "Fastrak" was harried closely by her close sisterships "Roxanne" and "Mzungu" on the first two legs before managing to break free on the beat to the Island shore, only to have fleet compression after going round Gurnard into a strong foul tide and a very fickle and variable wind - stay out in more pressure, or go in for less tide? "Fastrak" got the jump on "Jester" but "Roxanne" got ther jump on both of us and managed to hang on the 3600s to take both the Class 1 and Overall win. On "Fastrak" we only just kept "Jester" at bay by six seconds on handicap to take fourth in Class 1 and Overall! There is clearly going to be some very close and exciting racing this season!

See event photo gallery

Race 1 Results - Class 1:

1st Fastrak XI Sun Fast 3200 R2 Nigel Colley
2nd Jester J105 David Cowell
3rd Mzungu Sun Fast 3200 Sam White
4th Juliet J106 Jerry Freeman
5th Game On Sun Fast 3600 Ian Hoddle

Race 1 Results - Class 2:

1st Maeva Super Arlequin Frederic Waniart
2nd Concerto Contessa 32 George Isted
3rd Panache Contessa 32 Alice Butcher
4th Amylou Maxi 1100 Gary Heward
5th Oi Oi Parker 275 Paul Reymond

Race 2 Results - Class 1:

1st Roxanne Sun Fast 3200 Simon Mitchell
2nd Bellino Sun Fast 3600 Rob Craigie
3rd Game On Sun Fast 3600 Ian Hoddle
4th Fastrak XI Sun Fast 3200 R2 Nigel Colley
5th Jester J105 David Cowell

Race 2 Results - Class 2:

1st Maeva Super Arlequin Frederic Waniart
2nd Concerto Contessa 32 George Isted
3rd Amylou Maxi 1100 Gary Heward
4th Pyxis X332 Kirsteen Donaldson
5th Panache Contessa 32 Alice Butcher

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