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Wessex Resins 2019 - Pro-Set - 728x90

Solo Open at Dell Quay Sailing Club

by Simon Verrall 5 Oct 16:07 BST 3 October 2020
Dell Quay Solo Open © Becki Dicker

The Dell Quay Solo Open has always been a firm favourite amongst the Solo travellers, and this year was no exception. Open meetings have been in short supply this year, and with entries limited to 25 boats the event was quickly booked up attracting visitors from far and wide.

For those of you not familiar with Dell Quay, it's one of the south coast's most scenic settings for dinghy racing. Situated at the top of Chichester Harbour the club has an active fleet of Solo dinghies, and a reputation for delivering 'Champagne Sailing', lively racing and decent cake. But would this year live up to expectations?

The answer was a resounding 'yes'. And 'yes' again. Lots of work took place behind the scenes to ensure the Open Meeting could even take place at all. I wouldn't normally start a race report with a thank you to the club, but this year it deserves a special mention. Great work DQ.

Right then. Let's talk about the sailing. And let's start with the wind. The forecasters all week had been predicting a decent breeze, but come Saturday morning there was barely anything, and what breeze there was included substantial amounts of rain.

Race one was delayed a little, but Race Officer Martin Jones got the fleet away as soon as possible in a 5 knot south westerly breeze. The fleet split up, with half of the competitors heading up the left of the course (I'm pretty sure that this should have worked) with the other half heading out to the right. Full credit to Sue Taylor from Silver Wing for showing the rest of us how to get to the windward mark efficiently in the light conditions. The win eventually went to Tim Lewis with Roger Bennett close on his heels. Andy Hyland taking third and Guy Mayger fourth.

With the wind dropping, and changing direction like a fiddler's elbow, the committee boat had their work cut out to set a course for race two. For a short while, there was no air at all. Then it came in from the north. For about 5 minutes. And then nothing again. Just two dozen Solos drifting in the October sunshine, accompanied by laughter and banter from Soloists making up for lost time, having not spoken to each other enough this year.

Race two eventually got going with similar conditions to the first race. Racing was close and competitive with places changing hands throughout the fleet. Roger Bennett took the line chased by Tim Lewis, Nigel Thomas and Andy Highland.

With everything to play for, the wind eventually made a decent appearance for race three. It felt good to stretch the legs, and the sun came out too. Almost the 'Champagne Sailing' conditions that we'd been promised by the organisers. The top order shifted around a little but Roger Bennett took his second win of the day. Local sailor Ian Barnett took second, Fraser Haydn took third and Nigel Thomas fourth - with Dell Quay's very own Roger Puttock in fifth.

The verdict? A great day of sailing, lots of happy sailors, some great racing, a friendly atmosphere and tea and cake on the club balcony afterwards. What's not to like about that? See you all again in May for the next Dell Quay Solo Open. 'Champagne Sailing' guaranteed.

Overall Results:

1. Roger Bennett - Silver Wing Sailing Club
2. Tim Lewis - Silver Wing Sailing Club
3. Nigel Thomas - Hill Head Sailing Club
4. Andy Highland - Lymington Town Sailing Club
5. Fraser Haydn - Papercourt Sailing Club

First Lady: Sue Taylor
First Master: Roger Bennett
First Grand Master: Andy Highland
First Septimus: Michael Foster
First Dell Quay boat: Roger Puttock

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