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Solo National Championship at the WPNSA - Preview

by Will Loy 7 Aug 10:55 BST 8-11 August 2019
Close one design singlehanded racing © Will Loy

With just 24 hours until the 57th edition of the Solo National Championship, first held at Brixham in 1962, we have 63 pre-entries for the event which will be held at WPNSA for the first time ever. That is not to say that the sailors are not familiar with this great venue, we have visited many times to contest the Nigel Pusinelli Trophy but this time it's the main event and that will have some nerves jangling.

While we have no overseas entrants the quality of the field is as rich as Patrick Burns accent and with a forecast of fresh winds, athleticism will be a commodity. With 10 races potentially packed into the four days of racing, I anticipate some aching limbs and that is just after day 1. Fortunately, the modern Solo rig is pretty dynamic so de-powering will be no problem, just take the sail down. Championship Organiser Steve Ede has put a flexible format in place so hopefully we can get plenty of races in.

Our PRO is Paul Kimmens who did a great job at the Pusinelli last month, as an ex Solo sailor he knows how fast these things go in some breeze so calibrating a windward mark distance should be easy, I reckon 1 nautical mile should be about right. The rescue team are as finely practiced as any Tour de France support crew so loved ones can rest easy. I will be aboard one of the ribs and hope to provide some action from top mark to finish so if you want to be a hero there is still time to enter and impress with your downwind expertise.

Be warned though, there are some serious competitors lined up including Charlie Cumbley who will possibly be prowling the dinghy park like a wounded Tiger after losing the Nation's Cup title in Carnac. Cumbley, all 90kg of him will relish the physicality of a big breeze event and I don't believe there is anyone faster downwind. The North Sails sailor will have some work to do with Andy Davis (HD Sails) making a welcome return appearance to the Solos following some time in the Merlin. Davis is bucking the trend and utilising the Super Spar B2 so it will be interesting to see how this rig development matches up to the Selden D+.

Other challenges are sure to appear, Tim Law, Pete Mitchell, Oliver Davenport, are all very much in the frame, Davenport (P&B) will be looking for redemption following a disappointing Nation's Cup while a surprise entrant in the form of Laser Radial National Champion Jon Emmett is most welcome and it may be a baptism of fire if the forecast proves accurate. Richard Lovering (Hyde Sails) has form and won the Pusinelli here in 2018 so will be a strong contender if he can nail the beat. Richie Bailey is a little lighter than Lovering and though the six pack is easy on the eye to any woman, he will need to hike like a ninja to keep up with him.

Shane McCarthy IRL is another with an axe to grind, the delights of Carnac Town made up for his display on the water so pay back is due. Guy Mayger has finely decided to join the party and is probably doing a 100k cycle ride just as a warm up, such is his hunger for success. Peter Crouchesque is physicality, quiet as a mouse but undoubtably courageous when the going gets tough, he is my tip for a podium position. I would go with Cumbley and Lovering just above him but there really is all to play for. Apologies to those sailors I have not mentioned, don't be mad, just impress me on the water.

We will have the brand new NSCA demo boat at WPNSA and are hoping to lend it to one of the local hotshots, I hear there are a few at the home of Olympic sailing. The Solo was a result of a collaboration between the association, Winder Boats, Superspars, Hyde Sails and CB Trailers and we are indebted to them for their generosity.

The demo boat will be available at clubs up and down the country and is intended to incentivise potential owners to buy a new one or one of the excellent second hand Solos that are available.

Salcombe Classic

I understand there will be a few vintage Solos at this prestigious event, Salcombe Gin are very generously providing some of their fabulous Gin to honour these fine examples so it's not too late to get your lovely wooden Solo to Weymouth. Winners so far are:

Dave Goodie 4040
Mike Iszatt 3875
The members of Leigh on Sea
Marc Dieben NED 3769
Floris Eijsink NED 3233
Cees Leen Herder NED 1030

There is a social programme which includes a BBQ, AGM, Class Association Italian Dinner and the Daily Prize draw which includes one of those amazing Milanes Centreboards. I anticipate there will be more than one candidate for the Wally of the Day competition, Mr Burns may have to relinquish his gold jacket, my favourite is Vince Horey who warmed up with a cock up at Carnac when he lost his keys and spent an hour emptying the works van before I found them in his boat.

A word from Doug Latta, President of the NSCA:
"With just a couple of days to go before the fleet arrives at WPNSA, thoughts have been turning not only to the strong forecast which is enough to set even the strongest competitors muscles twitching, but to the renowned camaraderie of the fleet both on and off the water. A group of sailors are already en route for Weymouth to participate in a pre-event training session for those using HD sails. Others plan an early arrival to join a dinner planned at the local hostelry, the Cove. But for most competitors, being amongst the other sailors, taking tips from the top Solo helms, and making plans for future Solo adventures, is more than enough of a draw. Making its debut is the new NSCA Winder demo boat, sporting Hyde sails, covers and toe-straps, Superspars M2 mast and a shiny new CB Coverstore trailer and insured by class insurer Noble Marine - thanks to all those who've helped bring this project to reality. Will has already mentioned the major sponsors of the Nationals, and the fleet awaits the draw for the major prizes like Magic Marine' latest range of equipment, Milanes Centreboard to name but a few - with bated breath. I look forward to seeing you all both on the water, as well as in the bar and at the AGM!"

See you on the water.

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