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National Solo End of Season Championship at King George Sailing Club

by Will Loy, NSCA Publicity 30 Oct 2018 17:59 GMT 27 October 2018
National Solo End of Season Championship at King George Reservoir © Will Loy

So to the finale of the North Sails Super Series with the EOS or End of Season Championship if you are not a fan of acronyms. The location would be King George Sailing Club and the 36 entries were treated to a nice unstable breeze from the North and wind chill temperatures which would not be out of place in the back of your freezer.

With an Industrial back drop which could have inspired a Lowry match stick painting, smoke from the nearby chimney tops swirled over the reservoir and gave nothing away to the sailors who searched for a tactical edge over the opposition.

Race 1 top mark and Tom Gillard continued to show the form that won him the Harken Inland Championship last month, rounding first from Steve Ede and local hero Vince Horey. Gillard lost out to Ede and Horey down the run to the gate, the bends in the breeze favouring those who went high early. Up the next beat and it was Guy Mayger and those that went right who made the largest gains, rounding the top mark with a huge lead from Gillard. Horey and Ede were the unlucky victims,free falling down the pack as the topography twisted the wind like a knife in the back. Chris Brown was up to third from Mark Maskell and Fraser Hayden with the fleet enjoying some nice planing angles into the leeward mark. Gillard asserted over the next two laps to take the bullet from Mayger and Brown.

The breeze was holding at 12-15mph though Gillard's hiking style suggested it was plenty windy enough if you are 76kg.

Race 2 start was away after one general recall, the fleet a little too keen, clearly wanting to get on and off the water before their vital organs failed, the cold wind beginning to really bite.

A nice even spread along the snugly laid start line and with the breeze oscillating with the timing of a dubstep riff, I had no idea which end would be favoured.

Race 2 top mark and Gillard had a nice lead into the top mark from Paul Rayson and Martin Honnor. Pete Mitchell, Mike Dray and Horey were in the mix and the fleet bore down on the leeward gate, bow waves across the course indicating an increase in pressure. With "the Ride of the Valkyries" filling my head as I imagined how to edit such a vista the fleet set off once again towards the very eye of the wind. Gillard held a comfortable lead and seemed set for the win after completing the triangle but there was chaos behind when one of the leeward mark sunk leaving the mid to back end of the fleet to round the left hand gate mark instead. Some even chose to round this to starboard which really flummoxed those watching. For a moment I swear I saw the PRO put a flare gun to his head but fortunately it was just my imagination. There were frantic race team rib movements as a spare buoy was sought but alas, the carnage was irreparable and the race was abandoned, much to the frustration of the leading bunch no doubt. As an aside, I have since found out that a number of unexploded WW2 bombs remain at the bottom of the reservoir necessitating in the use of old tyres to hold the marks in place. You would not want to drop a concrete or metal anchor onto a 74 year old buzzbomb.

Race 2 was re-sailed immediately, albeit over a short two lap circuit and Gillard made no mistakes, taking the win from Brown who had led at the top mark with Nigel Davies and Mayger third and fourth. Honnor had capsized at some point after his tiller extension failed and would have rued the abandonment and Vernon Perkins was among those who also took a dip, granted, he did so after the race.

Race 3 was away first time, the numbing effects clearly having an effect on watches and reflexes and the fleet headed up to the first mark with thoughts of summer sailing buried deep under thermals and drysuits.

Fraser Hayden took the honour of first to the mark from Ede and Gillard with Ewen Birkin Walls and Mike Dray hard on their transoms.

At this point, the cold and my requirement to get back to Portsmouth to catch the ferry meant an end to my coverage but the end result was pretty much the same. A third bullet for Gillard, much to the frustration of his Dad who was feeling the early effects of hypothermia as he waited to pack the boat up, a second for Hayden which would secure him third overall and third on the water for Paul Rayson. Chris Brown would be second overall with a 3-2 and such was the severity of the weather that he has now jetted off to the Maldives to recover.

Pete Mitchell had done enough before this event to secure the North Sails Super Series and had retired to the hot showers well before end of play. My apologies to him as I did an entire interview with him on his season and successes without pushing the record button, amateur!

Full Super Series results to follow in my final report for the year.

Special thanks to North Sails who provided us with a brand new sail for one lucky qualifier which was Terry Palmer. Ironically Class President Doug Latta had employed Terry's wife to pick the winning ticket out of the hat!

Congratulations to EOS winner Tom Gillard and to King George Sailing Club for their efforts in providing a great days racing and hot food and tea to assist in recovery.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st5675 Thomas GillardShefield Viking‑1112
2nd5777No MacsChris BrownRYA32‑55
3rd5381 Fraser HaydenPapercourt4‑2226
4th5691 Guy MaygerFeltham SC24‑66
5th5181BearhunterPaul RaysonFishers Green‑25639
6th5782 Nigel DaviesDraycote‑183912
7th5730Allen FittingsVince HoreyKGSC85(RET)13
8th5779PaladinMark MaskellBlackwater510(DNC)15
9th5561 Tim LewisRYA79‑2216
10th5796 Andy HylandLymington Town‑1211718
11th5804 Steve EdeArdley9‑241019
12th5597 Jonny WellsEssex Yacht Club‑2881422
13th6000 Doug LattaPorchester SC / HISC1012(RET)22
14th5738 Ewan Birkin‑WallsGrafham Water19‑23423
15th5524 Kev HallNorthampton SC15‑21823
16th5406PatronusJarvis SimpsonBrightlingsea ‑14131124
17th5664 Dave LucasGrafham Water SC1115‑1726
18th4801Gybe TalkinGodfrey ClarkFishers Green‑17161329
19th5134 Robert LaurieHarlow Blackwater‑26141529
20th5750 David MitchellWarsash247(RET)31
21st5670 Nigel ThomasHill Head21‑321233
22nd5747 Rodger LumbeySalcolme Yacht22(RET)1840
23rd5776 Tim WadeSpinnaker20‑302141
24th4454 Stas LawickiPapercourt‑34261642
25th5790 Peter MitchellWarsash6(DNC)DNC43
26th4932Sacre BlueMike DrayLittleton1627(RET)43
27th5130 Mark LeeLymington Town2320(DNC)43
28th5570RattlerMalcolm BuchananLymington Town‑32251944
29th5291 E RogersSpinnaker2917(RET)46
30th5658 Martin HonnorOgston SC13RET(DNC)48
31st5695 Ian IngramEarlswood‑3118RET49
32nd5724Beer CraftTerry PalmerUpper Thames3019(DNC)49
33rd3803 Alan RobertsEssex Yacht Club‑33312051
34th5138Off His TrolleyPatrick OversCaxton Lakes SC‑36292352
35th5736 Iain CarpenterNorthampton2728(RET)55
36th5731 Vernon PerkinsSouth Cerney35(DNC)DNC72

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