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National Solo Spring Championship at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Will Loy 8 Apr 2019 15:09 BST 6 April 2019

Draycote Water Sailing Club are this year celebrating their 50th anniversary and a number of Solos just shy of that number arrived to contest the second North Sails Super Series event of 2019.

With a nice breeze from the east, an unusual direction for Draycote which nullified any local knowledge advantage, the fleet arrived at the start area ready for battle. Three races were planned back to back, allowing for the Scottish contingent time to get home before midnight and Shane Macarthy the chance to make it back to Ireland, the fleet are full of amazingly committed sailors.

Race 1

This would be my first proper outing in Top Drive, a beautifully refurbished wooden Solo which was displayed at the Dinghy Show and my first 'major' event for a number of years, following back surgery. As media man I had surreptitiously placed a Go Pro on Andy Davis's boat so viewers would get a good feel of how to race a Solo hard. Unfortunately for me, Taxi chose to start just below me and the damning footage highlighted my inept starting technique. In my defence, the kitchen timer I had taped to my deck was clearly designed for drier conditions and was rendered useless after just one splash. Like a gunslinger in the old wild west, pulling the trigger a second too late is a killer. The breeze was building to a fresh F3 with the stronger gusts coming out of the right, and it was a front three of Cumbley, Davenport and Davis that rounded the top mark with the fleet on their tails. The sausage did what it's intention is, reducing the distance from the back runners to the leaders and while it may make for closer racing, does disadvantage the sailors who got the first beat right.

Charlie Cumbley took the lead with Andy Davis clipping at his heels but was unable to break through despite some fast off wind speed. Davis is developing a Superspars M2/HD sails rig with super light battens and is sure to improve as the season progresses. Oliver Davenport held third, the P&B works JP Solo showing it is right on the pace. Local sailor Nigel Davies took fourth from one of the talented Grafham team, Ewan Birkin Walls. Unfortunately the only wooden boat on the water was T boned midway up one of the beats and while the damage was above the waterline, the tears really stung my eyes.

Race 2

After a short on the water break, I assume giving time for the PRO to find some more flags to add to the five or six they were already flying, the fleet recommenced battle. I had taken time to study the wind patterns and seeing a dark patch of breeze elected to go right, a decision which saw me racing with the front third of the fleet. How often do we choose a strategy only to find ourselves going in completely the opposite direction? Cumbley and Davis were once again at the front, while Davenport, Chris Brown, team Grafham's Ian Walters and Littleton sailor Mike Dray were making impressive progress. I did my best to get in the way of the stars as they ploughed through my substantial wake. Cumbley held Davis at bay, the angles on the triangle not quite right for overtaking and by the gun the front three were a replication of race 1 while Walters, Dray and Brown completed the top five.

Race 3

Another totally pants start from your author soon saw me rolling the dice and going to an opposing corner from the fleet, further expanding the distance from the leader. Cumbley was in imperious form, the lighter conditions clearly not slowing the 92kg sailor in any way. Hyde Sails sailor Richard Lovering finally found some form to get into second while Davis, Walls and Ian Hopwood tussled like puppies with a toy for third.

Charlie Cumbley was not to be denied and completed the clean sweep and with it claimed his seventh Spring Championship title in 12 years. Davis would be second and has clearly sparked the interest of the fleet in the Superspars M2 rig. Davenport's third has once again highlighted his talent and the muscle bulk he has gained will surely improve his chances when the breeze is on. Walls and Walters completed the talented top five but there could have been any number of helms filling those positions, such were the size and angle of the shifts on the water and the deep talent amongst the fleet.

Chris Brown was 1st veteran, Dave Mitchell 1st Grand Master and John Webster 1st Septimus.

Thanks to Draycote Water for the on-water management and the NSCA wish you well in your 50th anniversary year.

Thanks to our sponsors, North Sails, who support the Super Series, Magic Marine, our clothing partner and Noble Marine, our Insurance partner for your continued involvement with the NSCA.

Now our thoughts turn to Medemblik for the Spring Cup, Wales and the Western Area Championship then Weymouth for the Nigel Pusinelli Trophy, the Nation's Cup in Carnac and the National Championship, also at WPNSA. Cumbley continues to hold the position of favourite but there are some awfully talented and hungry sailors who want his titles.

The NSCA will be providing some great media coverage of these events with on-off the water video so enter now and be part of the action.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st5705Charlie CumbleyWarsash SC‑1112
2nd5787Andy DaviesBlithfield SC22‑34
3rd5840Oliver DavenportNorthampton SC33‑106
4th5827Ewan Birkin‑WallsGrafham Water SC5‑849
5th5586Ian WaltersGrafham Water SC64‑710
6th4932Mike DrayLittleton SC85(DNS)13
7th5831Richard LoveringHayling Island SC13(RET)215
8th5808Shane MacCarthyGreystones SC‑2810616
9th5804Steve EdeArdleigh SC97‑1816
10th5645Ian HopwoodNantwich SC‑1812517
11th5843Chris BrownRYA126‑2018
12th5782Nigel DaviesDraycote Water SC416(RET)20
13th5658Martin HonorOgston SC119‑1520
14th5685Philip BarnesBudworth SC715(RET)22
15th5750David MitchellWarsash SC15‑32823
16th5613Stuart GibsonClyde CC1013(RET)23
17th5393Simon DerhamLittleton SC1411(DNS)25
18th5763Steve DenisonRYA17‑261128
19th5683Jamie HolmesSpinnaker SC‑32171330
20th5850Vince HoreyKing George SC24‑30933
21st5745Andy FoxLeigh & Lowton SC21‑271233
22nd5796Andy HylandLymington Town SC1618‑2134
23rd5130Mark LeeLymington Town SC23‑311437
24th5561Tim LewisIsland Barn SC‑25142438
25th5529Nick HornsbyHollingworth Lake SC2020(RET)40
26th5487Roger BennettSilver Wing SC‑34221941
27th5842John WebsterCarsington SC19‑232241
28th5779Mark MaskellBlackwater SC‑35251742
29th5469Guy LonsdaleSouth Cerney SC‑30192342
30th5670Nigel ThomasHill Head SC‑29281644
31st5259Roger WilsonRollesby Broad SC22‑292749
32nd5724Terry PalmerNorwich26‑372652
33rd5786John SteelsStarcross YC‑37243054
34th5778Shaun WelshLymington Town SC27‑352855
35th5731Vernon PerkinsSouth Cerney SC‑42332558
36th3847Will LoyLymington Town SC4121(RET)62
37th5747Roger LumbySalcombe SC36‑392965
38th5501Nick PatrickOgston SC‑40343165
39th6000Doug LattaHayling Island SC3136(DNS)67
40th5318Bob SuggittBarnt Green SC3338(DNS)71
41st4767Richard BluntBarnt Green SC‑45413273
42nd5044Alastair FraserGrafham Water SC‑46423375
43rd5649Steven BishopGirton SC3843(RET)81
44th4946Patrick BurnsRYA4340(RET)83
45th5723Alan BishopGirton SC39(RET)DNS86
46th4860Jeremy AtkinsDraycote Water SC44(RET)DNS91

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