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Solo Open at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Chris Mayhew 12 Oct 06:48 BST 9 October 2021

23 Solos from 7 clubs across the East of England travelled to Royal Harwich Yacht Club for the annual Solo Open. This year was to be a light year in what seems to be an alternating light or windy conditions each year.

OOD Dr Chris Brown briefed all competitors, both Solos and Lasers (the event being shared) that there would be a postponement until the wind had swung and settled. The plan was 4 races back-to-back. Competitors caught up on the season's trials and tribulations with coffee in the sunshine as the windy duly swung to the gentle sea breeze.

Race 1 saw a gentle 5-6 knot breeze at the start against the flood tide. With this combination and a single lap windward-leeward starting was going to be at a premium! The Solos did not disappoint - numerous boats were over, but all returned to play catchup after an individual recall. A "benefit" of starting next to the committee boat was that you could cringe as you heard your number being read out!

At the front it was all close with the pin end in slightly less tide the in-shore boats took a late port arrival to the mark which made for a busy first mark. Down the run the left side in the tide was beneficial with the fleet spanning out after a few altercations at the top mark. Matthew Frary from Norfolk Broads Yacht club took line honours from Mark Maskell from Blackwater Sailing Club ahead of David Youngs in third from Brightlingsea Sailing Club. Brightlingsea Sailing Club were the by far the strongest visiting club bringing a total of nine boats up the coast to Woolverstone for the day - thank you to all for making the trip up and we hope to see you all again.

For Race 2 the OOD adopted a longer beat then a zig zag downwind course, the wind steady as in race 1 but with a little swing to the right. The start was again closely contested. Vince Horey from King George Sailing Club was now starting to get a reputation of wanting to get away a little early following his premature start and prompt return. Again, Vince showed good speed to get back towards the front end but with short races and a good fleet it was not a winning move. The beat looked good initially on the right with a slight bend, but still the inshore paid and those boats popped out in front. As the wind dropped a little the broad reach was looking good for Chris Mayhew and Matthew Frary who took the channel tide before gybing inshort but the direct line from Godfrey Clark who picked up a little puff to take the lead was the fastest line. At the finish it was Clark that took the bullet, chased closely by consistent Maskell with another second place followed by Phil Sturmer in third from Team Brightlingsea.

Race 3 had an adjusted sausage and triangle, with the breeze restoring itself. Vince, not to disappoint started in a consistent fashion, returning for starting practice! The racing was getting closer, but consistent Maskell was getting into his stride taking a clear win from Frary and Clark.

The final race with the tide now on the turn left the beat to be explored a little more, but still inshore seemed to pay. This race was a sausage followed by a triangle and Maskell was again setting the scene. Frary, Mayhew and Horey were all in the mix with Horey showing what was possible when you are not over the line! It finished with an impressive win for Maskell to take the event discarding a second. Horey took second and Frary took the inside to take Mayhew before the line for third.

Complements go to OOD Dr Chris Brown and his team, who didn't have the easiest conditions but made the best of it and minimised any waiting around. The competitors enjoyed the refreshments afterwards before the prize-giving on the lawn.

The Solos discussed their next meeting, possibly the End of Seasons at Draycote on Saturday 30th October - the day before the Royal Harwich Winter Series begins.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st5779Mark MaskellBlackwater Sailing Club‑22114
2nd5953Matthew FraryNorfolk Broads Yacht Club1‑4236
3rd4801Godfrey ClarkFishers Green Sailing Club713‑1111
4th4921Chris MayhewRoyal Harwich Yacht Club‑1256415
5th5850Vincent HoreyKing George Sailing Club87‑11217
6th5922Piers LambertBrightlingsea Sailing Club685‑1019
7th5819Phil SturmerBrightlingsea Sailing Club‑14310720
8th5796Andy BinesBrightlingsea Sailing Club4‑117920
9th5829Simon DavisRoyal Harwich Yacht Club‑13124521
10th5406Jarvis SimpsonBrightlingsea Sailing Club‑969823
11th5535David YoungsBrightlingsea Sailing Club3‑1781324
12th5863Robert LaurieHarlow Blackwater Sailing Club59‑121226
13th5904Patrick OversPaxton Lakes Sailing Club1113‑14630
14th5745Robin PageBrightlingsea Sailing Club101417‑1841
15th5137Derek MayhewRoyal Harwich Yacht Club1610‑181541
16th4325Jack KnightHunts Sailing Club151513‑1743
17th4360Trevor WhitingNorfolk Broads Yacht Club‑1816151445
18th5314Tony TyeArdleigh Sailing Club17‑19191652
19th5888Geoff GrittonBrightlingsea Sailing Club‑1918161953
20th4151Jonathan HuntRoyal Harwich Yacht Club202020(DNC)60
21st5938James GoodfellowBrightlingsea Sailing Club(DNC)DNCDNCDNC72
21st5665Paul AldridgeBrightlingsea Sailing Club(DNC)DNCDNCDNC72
21st5496Alan HallRoyal Harwich Yacht Club(DNC)DNCDNCDNC72

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