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Solo Western Area Championships at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club

by Toby Peacock 14 Jun 08:10 BST 12 June 2021
Solo Western Area Championships at Chew Valley Lake © Jon Elmes

Nineteen Solos from six clubs took part in the Solo Western Area Championships at Chew Valley Lake on Saturday 12th June. This was the first Western Area event in what seems an eternity and it was lovely to see so many returning friends and new faces.

The forecast was for a light westerly breeze and plenty of sunshine, and whilst on average this was true it masks the wide variety of wind on offer for Race 1. We launched in 5kts, started in 10kts and finished in 2kts. A minute before the start the wind swung 45 degrees making starting on starboard surprisingly tricky. Stephen Penfold was most awake to this getting off to a port flyer and setting the early pace.

A few more wild swing later Rob Mitchel and Alex Corby found themselves comfortably ahead, whilst those at the back were comfortably behind. Nick Martindale, possibly the only sailor to have switched from singlehanded to double handed sailing during the pandemic, showed why he is the defending Western Area series champion pulling through on the last beat to take the win from Alex in second. Rob went the wrong way up the final beat to allow Stephen to take third and Ian Bartlett from South Cerney was the first visitor in fifth.

The snakes and ladders of the wildly variable wind strung the fleet out and the tail enders found themselves having to beat up the final run at one point before being towed back to the club for a tasty lunch.

At this point racing in the afternoon looked unlikely but as luck would have it the breeze started to fill in over lunch and became if not steady then steadier. Race 2 got under way in 10-12kts easing slightly as the race progressed. Gary Molton, formerly of Chew and now of Teign Corinthian showed a mastery of the light conditions to lead throughout. Rob Mitchell again played the shifts and puffs right to take second and Nick consolidated his win in the first race with a third. Chris Meredith put a disappointing first race behind him to take fourth and Dave Oakey took a well deserved fifth.

So after two races only Nick and Rob had shown any consistency with everyone else posting a result they would hope to discard.

Race three got under way to the best wind of the day, but as before it eased in the second half. Nick got away cleanly and wasn't seen again. Toby Peacock rounded the windward mark second but was unable to keep the baying pack behind him on the reaches. The second beat was puffy and shifty and Malcolm Davies of Teign Corinthian in a woody and Andy Scott with a Dacron sail made the most of the fluctuating wind to finish second and third. Rob Mitchell again finished fourth and Chris Meredith fifth.

Overall Nick showed a remarkable consistency in the challenging conditions to take a well earned win, with Rob second and Alex taking third on countback. Only five points separated third to eleventh in what was a high scoring series.

The vibrancy and choice within the class was demonstrated by the fact there were at least five different hull designs, seven different sails and four masts competing, nearly all which recorded at least one top five result.

Many thanks to the RO Andy Jones for getting three races under way in challenging conditions, to everyone who helped organise and run the day and to all the visitors for braving the forecast and the ongoing pandemic to come and play with us. Thankfully the wait for the next event (Dittisham 3rd July) isn't so long!

Overall Results:

PosHelmClubR1R2R3Total Pts
1Nick MartindaleCVLSC13152
2Rob MitchellCVLSC424106
3Alex CorbyCVLSC2714239
4Chris MeredithCVLSC945189
5Ian BartlettSouth Cerney SC56122311
6Stephen PenfoldCVLSC39102212
7Nicholas FisherCVLSC61562712
8Malcolm DaviesTeign Corinthian YC111422713
9Gary MoltonTeign Corinthian YC151132914
10Andy ScottCVLSC131132714
11Tim WadeLymington Town SC71673014
12Shaun WelshTorpoint Mosquito SC81082616
13Dave OakeyCVLSC125OCS1717
14John SteelsStarcross YC148113319
15Toby PeacockCVLSC171393922
16Vernon PerkinsSouth Cerney SC1018164426
17Ken ComrieCVLSC1612DNF2828
18John EllisCVLSC1819155233
19Damian Gardner‑ThorpeCVLSC1917175334

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