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Solo Class racing at the Dell Quay Sailing Club Easter Mini Regatta

by Mark Harper 5 Apr 20:51 BST 2-3 April 2021
Solo racing in the Dell Quay Easter Mini Regatta © Peter Binning

The Easter weekend saw the return of organised Racing at DQSC for the Solo class in Chichester Harbour. Prior to the weekend a number of Solos had been out practising in the breezy and cold north-east wind.

With a spring tide weekend, Dell Quay at the top end of the harbour has an excellent sailing area just south of the Fishbourne area being reasonably open and unobstructed.

Class racing for the Solo class was keenly anticipated and recently appointed fleet DQSC captain Roger Puttock had motivated the fleet, and we had an excellent entry of 10 boats.

Day 1

Race 1
Wind over tide and 13-15 knots of wind from the north east set the scene. With a clean start the fleet got away with a beat to the Fishbourne race mark via thge 'Hook' racing mark. Race one went to Bill Dawber with Mark Harper closely behind, and followed in third place by Simon Verrall.

Race 2
Not everybody had read the script for the 2nd race start, but leading the way and first home was the Solo fleet captain Roger Puttock, with Simon second and an excellent third by John Purdy.

Race 3
The tide was on the ebb which made the beat to Fishborne a little more tricky and judging the mark rounding was important. A very close race between Roger, Mark and Simon finishing in that order. So, at the end of day one, Roger was clear overall leader - two points ahead of Mark, with Simon one point behind in third slot - so all to play for the next day...

Day 2

Race 4
Again, wind over tide and 12-15 knots of wind from the north, but slightly colder. A slight change and adjustment in the course with an inflatable mark deployed and Fishbourne race mark used as a 'spreader mark' to ease congestion around the first mark. Hook was now the new gybe mark, which proved interesting for some competitors....Harper took the race win with Roger Puttock second and an excellent third place by Graham Dalton in his beautiful preserved classic wooden Solo.

Race 5 With the points difference now very close between Roger, Mark and Simon, it was all to play for in the last race of the Mini Regatta. Race 5 went to Mark, with Simon a close second and Roger in third place - Race 6 was going down to the wire...

Race 6 One of the closest races of the weekend between Mark and Roger with typical match racing tactics being deployed, and with the tide now ebbing fast, short tacking up the West Bank was the order of the day, with Roger and Mark having an excellent tacking dual, putting in more than a dozen tacks on their way to the last windward race mark. To the spectator it was looking more like an episode of 'Strictly Come Dancing'.

Downwind was no different, with literally one boat length between them, so smooth gybing and maintaining position was critical on the fast downwind legs to the finish club line. First was Harper with Puttock second followed by Verrall.

A fifth position in the final race by John Purdy secured him fourth place overall.

Thanks to all who volunteered for race duties both on and off the water, over the two days, in the keen NE winds.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
15836Mark Harper‑2‑521115
24561Roger Puttock‑5112‑326
35608Simon Verrall‑323‑42310
45262John Purdy‑736‑74518
54707Richard Bridgmont44‑555‑818
65168Stephen Holcroft6(DNS)46‑9420
74811Fred Hilgers8(DNF)7(RET)8629
84395Graham Dalton(DNC)(DNC)DNC36.5DNC31.5
95867Bill Dawber1(DNS)(DNS)RETDNCDNC34
105432Nicki Buchanan(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNS6.5735.5

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