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Tuning to Win by Ian Pinnell
Tuning to Win by Ian Pinnell

Solo Open at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Chris Mayhew 16 Oct 2018 12:06 BST 13 October 2018

Whilst many Solo helms decided to sit out Storm Callum at home, a lucky ten Solo helms braved yet another storm forecast to travel to sunny Suffolk. Whilst everyone was checking the various wind apps, delighted with the array of scary colours indicating unsailable conditions, it was actually very sailable. A few helms were smugly snapping photos of the sunny river Orwell to send back home to those that they left in the pouring rain!

With a very relaxed 1pm start to accommodate the best of the flooding tide OOD Dr Chris Brown organised both the Laser and Solo fleet initially in a short warm up windward-leeward course to begin the 4 race series. With the windward mark quite tricky to see in the dazzling October sunshine the fleet buzzed the start line in a nice 15 knots-17 knots, and the leeward mark close to the lee shore.

The pin end was favoured, and chosen by local helm Chris Mayhew who popped out and headed uptide inshore, managing enough boat speed to tack and cross the fleet to reach the windward mark first. Second at the windward was Robert Lawrie from Harlow Blackwater SC, closely followed by Jarvis Simpson from Brightlingsea. Down the run Mayhew extended with a direct course to the leeward mark, but closing up was Tim Lewis from Island Barn taking a direct route with Lawrie putting in a later gybe. With helms in short sleeves enjoying a refreshing spray on a beautiful October afternoon the hectic, Mayhew was first, with Lewis launching into second ahead of Laurie and Simpson.

Everyone caught their breath, but not long race 2 was off on the same windward-leeward, but this time the windward mark was on the other bank, barely to be seen in the sunshine. The tide still flooding meant the pin was still favourite and Mayhew again escaped left, but after tacking and crossing on port again it was looking good. With the longer beat the fleet spread out and Laurie looked to have gone too far left, but came in with a cracking lift to round first, followed by Mayhew, Simpson and Lewis. With the wind on the increase care was taken for the gybes, especially with the leeward mark near the lee shore. Trevor Whiting from Wroxham and Derek Mayhew from Royal Harwich were having a good battle in sixth and seventh which at one stage looked a little damp as they checked their self-bailers for weed. The wind still fresh saw a continuing fight between Laurie and Mayhew with Mayhew sealing the win from Laurie, Lewis and Simpson. Doug Latta the furthest traveller from HISC/Portchester SC and fresh in his Presidency of the Solo Class was putting in another consistent 5th.

In Race 3 the OOD introduced some nice reaches and a triangular course, the high tide allowing the sailors to make the best of the strengthening breeze. The beat a little bit longer, crossing the tide. The fleet all started very closely, but Simpson was seeking an advantage – unfortunately he was over the line, but luckily returned to give himself a handicap. With less tide in this race the beats were more even with lots more tacking on the shifts. The wind was still shifting considerably at the top mark and only the brave arrived on the lay line. Lewis rounded first with a close pack or Laurie, Mayhew and Simpson. The reaches were fast with lots of close racing, the first reach across the tide slightly closer. Two laps again saw lots of place changing with Lewis taking the bullet from Mayhew, Laurie, and an improving Roger Wilson from Rollesby Broad SC in 4th.

Race 4 was again a triangle in the most wind of the day. Another close start began and this time with the tide ebbing in places was all to play for. The shifts kept everyone alert and Laurie got away nicely to dominate the final race. The following pack was close throughout enjoying some nice physical reaches with everyone questioning that it was October and they were hot on a breezy day! Wilson put in an impressive result to improve consistently during the day to finish 2nd ahead of Mayhew and Lewis.

The fleet returned ashore to enjoy the remainder of the sunshine and a cold beer in the clubhouse.

This concluded the 2018 Solo Sea Series and a thoroughly enjoyable day. Next time hopefully without the threat of Storm Callum it might encourage a few more sailors to enjoy the great racing and conditions in this neck of the East Coast – you are all more than welcome – put it in your diary next year!

Overall Results:

PosSail No / HelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st4921 Chris MayhewRoyal Harwich YC11234
2nd5134 Robert LaurieHarlow Blackwater SC32316
3rd5561 Tim LewisIsland Barn SC23146
4th5259 Roger WilsonRollesby Broad SC664212
5th5406 Jarvis SimpsonBrightlingsea SC446513
6th6000 Doug LattaPortchester/HISC555615
7th5137 Derek MayhewRoyal Harwich YC77DNC721
8th4360 Trevor WhitingNorfolk Broads YC887DNC23
9th4664 Mark BenbowRoyal Harwich YCDNCRTDDNCDNC 
10th5345 Ewen StampRoyal Harwich YCDNCDNCDNCDNC 

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