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Rooster Solo National Championship 2021 - Day 1

by Guy Mayger 23 Aug 14:35 BST 21-27 August 2021
Mount's Bay, Cornwall, UK © Michelle Evans

Day 1 of the Solo Nationals gave the competitors a gentle easing into championship life. Having had the Saturday to fettle and tweak their boats, Sunday morning 11:00am start gave a chance for a few to recover from Saturday's hydration session!

For many of the fleet it's been a long time since we enjoyed the pleasures of Mount's Bay and having to get our brains around gate start for the first time in many a year.

That said, with 98 boats competing I'm sure all the competitors were relieved not to have to endure multiple general recalls!

Harken Race Day

With the wind a 315 degrees there was much discussion about starting early or late out of the gate. For path finder Mark Lee there was no option other than to sail as fast as he could and hope the wind gods were in his favours.

As it happened, those who started late benefited from a slight shift to the North, but as happened throughout the days racing the gentle 6 to 10 knot breeze (light and streaky as confirmed by David Greening in the bar) played with the fleet and being on the right shift at the right time was king.

King at the first windward mark was (young) Alex Butler, who subsequently took an impressive wire to wire win in the challenging breeze.

Behind him, Andy 'Taxi' Davis (champion the last time the Solos were here) held strong to post a second place, proving that minimal sleep can work wonders having only been at the Merlin champs in East Lothain 48 hours earlier.

Keeping the old boys honour, Guy Mayger rolled in a third after a good tussle with Simon Dodds before the line.

Pulling something of a Houdini escape, Tom Gillard crossed the line in fifth having been deep in the fleet after the first windward leg.

Behind the leading group fortunes were mixed to say the least, but with wounds suitably licked, race two got under way.

The breeze held at 315 degrees, but everyone was wary of being caught on the wrong side of a shift. As if anyone needed this confirming, race one winner Butler could only manage a 22nd this time around.

Tom Gillard played the shifting breeze very nicely to take the lead, chased by Ollie Davenport, Mayger, Davis and Paul Ellis (of the Salcombe mafia).

The breeze came and went, possibly a touch more than race one, but equally as shifty.

Going into the second round Nigel Thomas and Michael Gifford joined the party via a right shift which Mayger and Ellis frustratingly missed.

Come the line, upwind finish, Gillard held firm over Davenport ahead of the ever steady Davis.

Enjoying the final right hand shift, Thomas took fourth place with Gifford and Mayger in close attendance.

Obviously early days in the championship, but Taxi holds the lead from Gillard, Mayger, Gifford, Thomas and Lovering.

Mounts Bay, the venue and the club, have laid on an excellent first day with a pleasant sailing breeze and sunshine all the way.

As I type this, the fleet are gently rehydrating awaiting the Harken prize-giving this evening.

Given all that's happened in the last 18 months I think we are all very grateful to be competing and enjoying relative normality.

The fleet owe a huge debt of thanks to those who helped organise the event, notably Steve Ede and the Mounts Bay committee.

PRO Peter Jelliss has promised the fleet that gate stats will be used all week so there is plenty of time to improve!

Harken sponsored gear was presented to some very lucky prize winners at the daily ceremony which took place on the sumptuous veranda of Mounts Bay S.C. We thank the, for the very generous sponsorship.

So after day 1 it is Andy Davis who leads the Championship from Tom Gillard and Guy Mayger and they will be proudly wearing the Rooster podium rash vests (available on the Rooster Sailing website and I would suggest that every club should have a set).

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