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Rain and Sun Solo Dinghy Overboom Cover
Rain and Sun Solo Dinghy Overboom Cover

Harken Solo Inland Championship at Rutland Sailing Club - Overall

by Will Loy 9 Sep 12:20 BST 7-8 September 2019

Following a rather chilly night in our tent which, incidentally, carries an optimistic description of '3 man tent', my bulk clearly counts for two of them, my wife and I awoke to the familiar sound of frying bacon. The smokey aroma heightened my nasal senses and triggered the urge to satisfy my sense of taste, giving me a good reason to live another day.

It had been a reasonable night, while my wife had succumbed to maximum bladder sustainability at around 3am my plan to be dehydrated before bed ensured I did not have to go through the arduous process of getting clothed and unzipping the tent to go for a leak.

The dinghy park was already active as the sun did its best to warm the body core, a northerly wind covered Rutland Lake which meant we would be racing.

The club cafe was busier than a leeward mark rounding with some opportunists intent on squeezing in however, the lure of the large full english is strong, a few shouts and angry faces soon saw them relegated to the back of the queue. Davis, Boyce and McCarthy tucked into their plates, sausages, bacon and beans providing the protein of champions. The light wind forecast would not worry these highly honed 75kg athletes. Meanwhile, Foxy munched on his Ryvita, eyes wet from tears as the last piece of bacon made it's exit down Taxi's throat.

Steve Watson, our 'On water jury' was waiting for me on the slipway, busily calibrating his equipment and furling his jury flag and once he had affixed his trusty A4 clipboard to the steering wheel of the generously large rib, we were away.

I was to be dropped onto the Committee boat, hoping for the money shot of the fleet in perfect line as the start gun sounded but first to negotiate my transition from rib. Now requiring one or two hip replacements, even the simplest of manoeuvres has taken on 'extreme sport' significance to me so I drew on all my Bear Grylls skills to navigate a successful boarding. The Committee boat lurched fiercely to starboard with the crew of five swiftly shifting their weight collectively to the port side to counteract my additional ballast and I was aboard. My dignity took another hit and I promised myself to start the diet on Monday.

Race 4

PRO John Fothergill stood aloft, surveying the racecourse with arm outstretched, the compass reading 330. With marks laid we were into the start sequence, however it was obvious with all of the 46 entries at the pin end, that there had been a shift to the left. The AP with 20 seconds to go avoided lots of shouts and banging noises and the course was reset accordingly with the wind now at 290. General recall with the pin still drawing Solos to it like iron shavings to a magnet. Race 4 finally got away under the black flag with all sailors shy of the line. By this stage there was only around 2knots but the PRO could see some breeze building and the windward mark layer was recording 6 knots so off they went. I de-activated my Fujifilm S1, any hope of catching the action would have been fruitless at this point and my video would have been perceived to have been shot in slow mo, but without the dramatic splashes.

Looking up ahead I could just make out an almost imperceptible change in speed, a glint of gold standing out like the Spinnaker Tower against a backdrop of green fields. 5787 appeared to be foiling while it's counterparts were still stationary. Davis, second overnight had hooked into the new breeze and was already a country mile ahead of his rivals. At the top mark of this 2 lap windward leeward race he led by about a minute with fellow HD powered Shane McCarthy in second and Jarvis Simpson third. Other runners included Dave Lucas, Mark Lee, Nigel Thomas and Ian Walters while Stephen Graham lost ground as he looked for a gap in the starboard lay line queue.

The run was as exciting as chewing on polystyrene for your author but with 45 Solos providing a significant wind shadow, must have kept Davis's heart pounding loud. He held at the leeward gate but the peloton was moving in and with the breeze holding at 5 knots, there was still much to do if he was to add another Inland title to his already bursting belt. As with most beats, the leader got the shifts first and as with most Champions, Davis took the right tacks and extended on McCarthy and Lucas to round the last windward mark with an almost unassailable lead. I took the opportunity to joke with Davis that if he lost, an interview would be amusing for everyone else anyway... and then the wind died.

The commentators curse had struck with Davis halfway down the run and becalmed while the fleet munched up the distance, bringing the new breeze with them. Davis sat motionless, if he had a Hamlet he surely would have lit it and contemplated life but he is a Champion for good reason and while many may have attempted to throw in a gybe or two in an attempt to initiate forward momentum, he calmly waited as the fleet bore down. With a rampaging Graham and Thomas just a few metres away Davis finally got the breeze and defended his position to take the bullet. Dee and Lucas completed the top five.

With Davenport and Boyce recording discards and the breeze and forecast deemed insufficient to race, this result would secure the Harken Inland Championship for Andy Davis with overnight leader James Boyce 2nd and Shane McCarthy 3rd. Oliver Davenport would be 4th and first under 25 with Martin Honnor 5th and first veteran. John Dixon was a very creditable 19th and first Septimus with Malcolm Buchanan 22nd and first Grand Master and Sue Taylor first lady in 33rd.

The prize giving was held with early afternoon sunshine glistening over the lake, the wind had not arrived so a good decision. Harken had generously provided a huge bounty of goods and since most of the fleet use Harken fittings, the prizes were very well received.

The Salcombe Gin Classic Award went to Alan Greenaway, a Rutland Sailing Club member who races Solo 3693. This is a Tony Thresher example, all wood of course with many of the features that were once cutting edge in the eighties/nineties. Alan finished 37th overall, 24th being his best race and in front of many modern FRP versions.

Thanks also to Rutland Sailing Club, the PRO John Fothergill and team, the catering team who provided some great food, especially the large breakfasts and to the NSCA Committee for organising the event and to Steve Watson for his On Water Jury expertise. There is just the EOS to go now at Grafham Water on Saturday 12th October with a new North Sail up for grabs. You have to be there to win it then you can all have a well earned rest with loved ones until 2020.

Thanks to Noble Marine our class insurance partner and Magic Marine, our clothing partner, both who support the class and make it so special.

See you on the water.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubPlateCategoryR1R2R3R4Pts
1st5787Andy DavisSouth Staffs SCN 32‑416
2nd5115James BoycePapercourt SCN 242‑138
3rd5808Shane MacCarthyGreystones SCN 1‑93610
4th5840Oliver DavenportNorthamptonNYouth731‑1411
5th5658Martin HonnorOgston SCNVeteran475‑1016
6th5827Ewan Birkin‑WallsGrafham Water SCN ‑1219919
7th5586Ian WaltersGrafham Water SCNVeteran‑1666719
8th5741Stephen GrahamBurwain Sailing ClubNVeteran‑13117220
9th5804Steve EdeArdleigh Veteran‑988420
10th5835Dave Lucas YVeteran610‑11521
11th5130Mark LeeLymington Town SC Veteran5512‑1722
12th5487Roger BennettSilver Wing SCN 11‑20131135
13th6000Doug LattaHISC / Portchester SCYVeteran81317‑1938
14th5745Andy FoxLeigh and Lowton Sailing ClubNVeteran151510‑3940
15th5408Tony KingBassenthwaite SCY 141414‑2542
16th5406Jarvis SimpsonBrightlingsea Sailing ClubYVeteran‑351916843
17th5796Andy HylandLymington Town SCYVeteran10‑24151843
18th5670Nigel ThomasHill Head SCNVeteran‑361734354
19th5514John DixonWest Kirby SCYSeptimus‑2316202056
20th5232Ian AyresRollesby BroadYVeteran24‑39261262
21st4944Simon LawFrensham Pond Sailing ClubY 202618‑3564
22nd5570Malcolm BuchananLymington Town SCYGrand Master21‑34212264
23rd4679Mark FullerPapercourtY 18‑35193067
24th4592Bryan TaylorFrensham Pond SCYGrand Master‑3212273170
25th5259Roger WilsonRollesby Broad Sailing Club Veteran252322‑2970
26th5721Graham WilsonNorthamptonYGrand Master‑3425331573
27th5700Adrian LawFPSCYVeteran27‑30252173
28th5399Ian FirthNotts County Sailing ClubYGrand Master2229‑302677
29th5842john websterCarsingtonNSeptimus292131‑4481
30th5786John SteelsStarcross YCYGrand Master1727‑413882
31st5778Shaun WelshLymington Town SCYVeteran331832‑4183
32nd5617stephen RestallElton SCYGrand Master262829‑3483
33rd4970Sue TaylorSilver wingsY ‑3838242385
34th5731Vernon PerkinsSouth Cerney Sailing ClubYVeteran283228‑3688
35th4730John BrookerFrensham  37(DNF)421695
36th5560Charles StimpsonSpinnakerYGrand Master‑4322383797
37th3693Alan GreenawayRutland sailing clubY 39‑40352498
38th5649Steven BishopGirton SCN 1933(DNC)DNC99
39th5352Mike WilkieDesborough Sailing ClubYSeptimus31‑44402899
40th5819Phil SturmerRBYCYVeteran‑4031363299
41st5138Patrick OversPaxton Lakes SCNVeteran30‑373733100
42nd4454Stas LlanickyPapercourt SCN 423623‑43101
43rd4551Bill HutchingsTonbridgeYGrand Master‑44414327111
44th4669Alan FullerPapercourt SCYGrand Master‑45423942123
45th5044Al FraserGrafham Water SCYGrand Master4143(RET)45129
46th5838Michael WildeSpinnaker Sailing Club Septimus4645(RET)40131

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