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Musto 2017 728x90 Surefooted

Musto Skiff UK GP Circuit Round 3 at Lee-on-the-Solent Sailing Club

by Josh Belben 16 Jun 07:11 BST 11-12 June 2022
Mark Cooper during the Lee-on-the-Solent Musto Skiff Open © Gary Taw

"Frightening, too very frightening!" summed it up well on Friday night by Mr Pelley...

The Southern Musto Skiff sailors gathered at Lee on the Solent Sailing Club for the third round of the UK GP Circuit with a windy and sunny weekend of sailing ahead.


The breeze was up, and the sun was out as racing began. Fifteen Musto Skiff sailors (with the Stokes crowd sending it down the coast from the shelter of the Bay) and four B14 sailors gathered.

Bruce Keen got off to a flying start on the pin end with the rest of the fleet following suit. With an extremely strong tide with wind, the conditions were just about manageable (just!). The fleet worked their way over the swell to the top mark with Bruce, Dan Vincent and Richard Pelley rounding up the top three. That Stokes blast down was clearly a good warm up! Once turning the corner, it was full power Musto sailing. "Top gun, jet fighter stuff" (as legend quotes). Those downwind rides that are unforgettable.

No surprise capsizes were on a high with Mr Pelley starting off on a superman gybe hoist. Followed later down the run with Josh Belben putting it in on the gybe. As the race progressed, Bruce and Vincent had a great battle, while Josh and Andy Gould battled it out for 3rd spot. Andy went full send mode on the rack while Josh sailed on the side of caution. As the race progressed, it turned out to be a four lapper and an hour long. Survival of the fittest? Andy made a solid jump into third going down the last run, when Bruce sadly capsized at the final hurdle, gifting Vincent the win and Andy with second. Bruce got over the line in 3rd, and Josh in 4th.

Further down the field, Guy Rivington had a huge pitchpole, and as a result, snapped his mast in half. Word on the street, was no one got away without a bit of swimming. (Not all hero's wear capes, as Andy Gould very kindly offered up his spare mast so Guy could get back out racing the next day.

Meanwhile, Steve Wright's kite sock fell overboard, and he went fishing to get it back in the boat but insists this was "great practise". After a dramatic four lapper, the fleet were sent ashore and told to prep for four races on Sunday.

The club put on a great evening meal (so I hear), and the sailors got some well-earned rest with Mr Pelley putting on some fresh pants for day 2, ready to head out in glamour conditions on Sunday.


With 12-14 knots at the start of race 2, Guy came out firing (clearly made a tactical choice to pitchpole and use Andy's spare mast) showing good boat speed off the line, sailing over Josh and battling the reigning World Champion. Sam Barker also came out the blocks fast. Sadly, Guy couldn't put this speed into a whole race performance with Bruce, Sam and Vincent rounding out the top three.

The battle for third overall continued throughout the whole day with a building breeze. Another great two races followed with the swell building up again. Bruce was so comfortable between races he decided to get a head start on his work emails before Monday morning, pulling out his phone (although he insists, he was checking the wind).

Going into the final race, first and second was settled and whoever beat who would take third. (Josh thinks). Sam put his foot down and was leading round the top mark with Guy back at the top in second. Guy seized up and couldn't pull the kite up for one last time (sounds like a gym membership is on the birthday list) and sadly dropped back, while Sam sadly over did the downwind lay line, giving Bruce the lead with Josh in second. Meanwhile, a yacht decided to join in and cause mayhem for the sailors downwind leaving a graveyard of boats, which Mr Pelley nicely started off only gybe dropping this time. The top two sailors then got away and off to the finish. Giving Josh third place, Vincent second, and Bruce winning, showing his dominance (even as a now part time Musto sailor). Top four Stokes lock out with Andy Gould in 4th! (Sorry couldn't resist).

Another great day sailing and brilliant prep for the World Championships next week. Huge thanks to Lee-on-the-Solent for putting on some great racing and a super friendly club.

Also, a massive thanks to Croydex for sponsoring Josh's Worlds campaign. If you fancy getting your bathrooms fitted out with some seriously well-designed products (guess what department I work in)... you know where to go!

See you all in Kiel!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st623Bruce KEENStokes Bay‑312115
2nd622Dan VINCENTStokes Bay13‑52511
3rd375Joshua BELBENStokes Bay‑4434213
4th584Andrew GOULDEmsworth SC25‑65416
5th432Sam BARKERCastle Cove621‑9817
6th516Richard PELLEYStokes Bay5643‑1018
7th627Ben SCHOOLINGStokes Bay(DNC)776727
8th469Nathan STANIERStokes Bay8‑11107328
9th90Jamie FREEMANBrightlingsea7‑1088932
10th588Andy WHITTLEStokes Bay9(RET)1311639
11th631Mark COOPESBurghfield1089‑121239
12th216Guy RIVINGTONStokes Bay(RET)911101343
13th547Serega SAMUSNo Club(DNS)1212131148
14th543Stephen WRIGHTStokes Bay(DNS)1314DNCDNC59

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