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Solo Western Area series at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club

by Toby Peacock 14 Jun 17:56 BST 11 June 2022
Solo Western Area series at Chew Valley Lake © Tom Skailes

Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club welcomed visitors from Teign Corinthian, Salcombe, South Cerney, Lymington and Torpoint Mosquito to its annual Solo open on 11th June. The forecast had predicted a rather grey, blustery day but as the sixteen Solos rigged a sunny 12-15kts was showing Chew at its finest and promised an outstanding days sailing.

Race 1 got under way and Chris Goldhawk (Chew) quickly worked his way to the front very closely followed by Roger Guess (Salcombe) with locals Rob Higgins and Jason Rickards (both more usually found in skiffs) showing that good sailors can turn their hands to any boat in leading the chasing pack. Well, almost. Jason attacked the run like he was in his Musto, only to learn that the Solo doesn't have a sixth gear when you heat up and thus slipped down the ranks.

By the finish Chris just held off Roger, followed by Rob and Toby Peacock (Chew) recovered from a premature start to snatch fourth and the fast finishing Malcolm Davies (Teign Corinthian) in fifth.

After a delicious curry we headed out for two back to back races and I, for one, was surprised to discover the wind had ratcheted up a notch. The committee boat end looked favoured for the start of race 2 until moments before the start a wind shift meant the bulk of the fleet found themselves the wrong end of the line and with little room for manoeuvre. Those who were able to tack off first made the most of the shift but at the top mark it was still tightly bunched with Rob leading from Chris, Roger and Toby.

A very wet and exciting reach ensued and I'm sure I wasn't the only one wondering whether discretion should be the better part of valour as the gybe mark approached. Alas, vanity got the better or not just me, but race leader Rob. Chris took the lead which he never relinquished, Rob was back up and racing in fourth with Roger and Malcolm showing extraordinary downwind speed to take second and third.

The third and final race is a difficult one for me to report on as I capsized on the warning signal and snapped my tiller. However, bar room chat was that in the really-now-quite-stiff breeze Jason was lying second and well clear of third on the final gybe, only to join the capsize fun. Roger's tiller also broke, leaving Chris to take his third bullet. Behind him Rob picked up a second and Ian Bartlett (South Cerney) picked up his best result of the day in third. Half the fleet failed to finish (or start) the final race, testament to how the wind had risen through the day.

So, with three wins Chris showed a level of consistency unmatched, Roger pushed him all the way for a very worthy second and Rob learning fast to take third.

Many thanks to the race team led by Andy Jones for a spectacular day's racing, and to all who travelled from around the south west. The Solo Western Area series now moves on to Torpoint Mosquito on 9th July.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoNameClubR1R2R3Points
15362Chris GoldhawkCVLSC‑1112
25851Roger GuessSalcombe YC22‑84
35793Rob HigginsCVLSC3‑425
45902Ian BartlettSouth Cerney SC‑12538
54654Malcolm DaviesTeign Corinthian YC53‑78
65353Jason RickardsCVLSC7‑8411
76030Adrian GriffinSalcombe YC‑106511
85905Steve MitchellTorpoint Mosquito‑137613
95976Toby PeacockCVLSC410(DNC)14
105843Simon ChapmanCVLSC119(DNC)20
115200Nigel AppletonCVLSC6(DNC)DNC23
126025John EllisCVLSC8(DNC)DNC25
135479Bill ChardCVLSC9(DNC)DNC26
145844Nick FisherTorpoint Mosquito14(DNC)DNC31
155701Damian Gardner‑ThorpeCVLSC(DNC)DNSDNS34
155629Tim WadeLymington Town SC(DNS)DNSDNS34

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