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Harken Solo Inland Championship at Rutland Sailing Club - Day 1

by Will Loy 7 Sep 2019 21:07 BST 7-8 September 2019
James Boyce leads on day 1 of the Harken Solo Inlands at Rutland © Will Loy

The rain echoed through the double layered pop up tent, the rustle of autumnal leaves signalling some significant breeze and providing the impetus for me to crawl from my blow up mattress into daylight. The sight of me emerging from the Gore Tex womb feet first clearly alarmed a neighbour's dog enough for it to retreat back to between its masters legs.

46 competitors have made it to Rutland Water to contest the Harken Inland Championship, a number well down on previous years and it would be worrying if not for the fact that this has been a hugely busy season with three major Championships in the last 3 months alone. Hall passes have been cashed in and a few usual suspects are either injured or have prior engagements at other events. This does not diminish this event though and there is some major pedigree here with names such as Davis, Boyce and McCarthy prominent in my personal pecking order.

The forecast for day 1 is 10-12knots from the north which is a very unusual direction for Rutland in September.

Race 1

Pin end favoured and a clean start with Mark Lee nailing the start. Roger Bennett and Grafham Water's Dave Lucas also popped out of the line but Ian Walters will want that start back. The wind direction meant a shorter than normal track and the fleet were tightly bunched as they came into the top mark. Add to that the topography of the venue and the abundant selection of trees covering the windward shoreline and you have a recipe for big shifts. Shane McCarthy made the best of the final shifts to round first with James Boyce sneaking inside of a tardy rounding from Lucas. Andy Davis and Martin Honnor completed the top five with Mark Lee snapping at their heels. I did say in my promotional piece that the corners paid.

Boyce took the lead by the bottom of an uneventful triangle but McCarthy worked back into the lead by the top of lap two. The telling moment came here with Honnor and Boyce getting embroiled in a discussion on mark rounding and what constituted water there of. This allowed McCarthy to squirt out into a comfortable lead and also gave Davis a gap in the door to go through which he took by the bottom of the run. Nation's Cup Champion Boyce was not done yet though and regained his composure to work back up to second by the gun with Davis, Honnor and Lee completing the top five. Dave Lucas did penalty turns for a rule 42 infringement which wiped his previously cheerful smile from his now bemused face but did a good job of recovering to finish sixth.

Race 2

The breeze was holding at 10-12 knots and the fleet were once again away cleanly and Mark Lee again bossing the pin end. Class President Doug Latta was in the second row and diving to leeward of the leaders in a bid to get a clear lane. Boyce and Steve Ede were in good shape while Oli Davenport, Davis and Honnor did their best to work their Solos over the top of them. The shifts, when they came were large which produced a concertina effect of sails as they tacked in unison and at the top mark it was another one of the Grafham posse, Ewan Birkin Walls who led with Davis and Davenport on his transom. Lee was next around from start specialist Latta who clearly found the turbo button after that start. As the old adage applies, 1. Better to make a bad start at the right end than a good start at the wrong end.

The breeze had dropped slightly but Birkin Walls was not to be thwarted, applying adages 2 and 3, "take the tack that takes you closest to the mark", and, "stay between the mark and your competitor" to hold on to the win from Davis and Davenport. Boyce made a pretty miraculous recovery to finish fourth with Mark Lee again fifth. Andy Fox was on the naughty step for a rule 42 infringement but anyone who knows Foxy will acknowledge he has not a clue how to cheat so he must have just been reaching for a pie.

Race 3

Clean away again, forever putting to bed the notion that the Solo class are inept at them. Stephen Graham and McCarthy made the best starts at the pin end and but it was Davenport who led in to the top mark on the starboard lay line, just being denied "first to the mark" bragging rights by Boyce who was totally committed to the port lay line and tacked in a magic pocket just under him. McCarthy, Honnor, Walters, Lee, Lucas and Davis completed the top eight. Sorry to whoever was ninth around, get quicker. The shifts near to the top mark were as erratic as the recent scenes in Parliament and the swings from both sides were as large. The wind pressure had increased and this produced some wide eyed, open mouthed expressions and heroes became zeroes and back in the space of 50 yards. Boyce, McCarthy and Davenport exchanged leads throughout the race with Davis not quite able to bridge the gap to the top three, gambling on a corner was just not going to happen.

So, at the gun it was Davenport who took the bullet with Boyce second, McCarthy third, Davis fourth and Honnor fifth.

James Boyce is our overnight leader with a 1 point lead over Andy Davis and he is 2 points clear of Oli Davenport in 3rd.

Martin Honnor is first Veteran in fifth with John Dixon (Septimus) a creditable 17tt with Brian Taylor (Grand Master) 21st. Sue Taylor is our first and only lady in 35th. The forecast for day 2 is not particularly good, the light winds could spring a few surprises if racing takes place.

Results after Day 1:

PosSail NoHelmClubCATEGORYR1R2R3Pts
1st5115James BoycePapercourt SC 2428
2nd5787Andy DavisSouth Staffs SC 3249
3rd5840Oliver DavenportNorthampton 73111
4th5808Shane MacCarthyGreystones SC 19313
5th5658Martin HonnorOgston SCVeteran47516
6th5827Ewan Birkin‑WallsGrafham Water SC 121922
7th5130Mark LeeLymington Town SCVeteran551222
8th5804Steve EdeArdleighVeteran98825
9th5835Dave Lucas Veteran6101127
10th5586Ian WaltersGrafham Water SCVeteran166628
11th5741Stephen GrahamBurwain Sailing ClubVeteran1311731
12th6000Doug LattaHISC / Portchester SCVeteran8131738
13th5745Andy FoxLeigh and Lowton Sailing ClubVeteran15151040
14th5408Tony KingBassenthwaite SC 14141442
15th5487Roger BennettSilver Wing SC 11201344
16th5796Andy HylandLymington Town SCVeteran10241549
17th5514John DixonWest Kirby SCSeptimus23162059
18th4944Simon LawFrensham Pond Sailing Club 20261864
19th5406Jarvis SimpsonBrightlingsea Sailing ClubVeteran35191670
20th5259Roger WilsonRollesby Broad Sailing ClubVeteran25232270
21st4592Bryan TaylorFrensham Pond SCGrand Master32122771
22nd4679Mark FullerPapercourt 18351972
23rd5570Malcolm BuchananLymington Town SCGrand Master21342176
24th5842john websterCarsingtonSeptimus29213181
25th5399Ian FirthNotts County Sailing ClubGrand Master22293081
26th5700Adrian LawFPSCVeteran27302582
27th5778Shaun WelshLymington Town SCVeteran33183283
28th5617stephen RestallElton SCGrand Master26282983
29th5786John SteelsStarcross YCGrand Master17274185
30th5670Nigel ThomasHill Head SCVeteran36173487
31st5731Vernon PerkinsSouth Cerney Sailing ClubVeteran28322888
32nd5232Ian AyresRollesby BroadVeteran24392689
33rd5721Graham WilsonNorthamptonGrand Master34253392
34th5649Steven BishopGirton SC 1933DNC99
35th4970Sue TaylorSilver wings 383824100
36th4454Stas LlanickyPapercourt SC 423623101
37th5560Charles StimpsonSpinnakerGrand Master432238103
38th5138Patrick OversPaxton Lakes SCVeteran303737104
39th5819Phil SturmerRBYCVeteran403136107
40th3693Alan GreenawayRutland sailing club 394035114
41st5352Mike WilkieDesborough Sailing ClubSeptimus314440115
42nd4730John BrookerFrensham 37DNF42126
43rd4669Alan FullerPapercourt SCGrand Master454239126
44th4551Bill HutchingsTonbridgeGrand Master444143128
45th5044Al FraserGrafham Water SCGrand Master4143RET131
46th5838Michael WildeSpinnaker Sailing ClubSeptimus4645RET138

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