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Hyde Sails 2022 One Design LEADERBOARD

Superspars Solo Inland Championship at Northampton Sailing Club - Preview

by Will Loy 31 Oct 2023 14:18 GMT 4-5 November 2023
Ian Hopwood relishes big breeze © Will Loy

Solos from across the UK will travel to Northampton's Pitsford Reservoir this weekend (Nov 4-5) to contest the penultimate major event on the Solo calendar, the illustrious Inland Championship.

This event was canned in September due to light winds but with Storm Ciaran forecast to hit the UK on Thursday, there seems a good chance that the breeze will have abated enough to provide great conditions by Saturday.

Superspars are sponsoring the Championship, fitting maybe as the strong favourite could be Oliver Davenport who is leading the North Sails Super Series in his Winder/Superspars M2/P&B Solo and has an almost unassailable lead. A big thank you to Superspars, you have had a great year so far and the M2 is proving very capable. A new Superspars M2 is up for grabs so a great reason to enter.

Former Inland Champion Chris Brown will be keen to show that the 2021 title was not just luck and I would place him firmly in the top three come Sunday afternoon. Martin Honnor is showing good form north of the country and relishes the physicality of a good blast.

Hard to say if the Grafham posse will arrive but if they do, Walters, Birkin Walls, team Lucas should all feature during the weekend and young Harry Lucas is making alarming progress up the rankings. His dad must be both proud and gutted, such is the cruel nature of old age.

Dave Winder and Steve Denison are both capable of top five results and obviously their equipment is on-point, I understand Dave's Winder's Solo hull is something to behold so I will be taking plenty of photos. Another to watch is Hopwood who will be rubbing his hands together at the thought of the barometer dropping. It may give him a chance to capsize and recover so to show others just how to do it.

Torpoint Mosquito have a death of talent, some of them are great sailors and some are great drinkers, getting the balance right is the key. They will though be easy to recognise, they all wear the same clothes apart from the elusive Shaun Welsh whose Thai inspired apparel seems to get more daring each time I see him. That said, maybe they just don't want him in their team. Charlie Nunn is the stand-out improver and will enjoy employing his God given leverage on the upwind legs. He gets a new Gingerboats Solo next season to go with the M2/P&B rig.

There is a strong Committee presence in the South, President Mayger, Vice President Davis and Hon Treasurer Cranford Smith are based at Hayling, Lymington and Salcombe so the journey up to Northampton may be too far but the allure of big breeze certainly offsets the petrol costs, lets hope we see if these guys can remember how to sail on proper flat water that doesn't keep shifting in and out.

The East is represented by Steve Ede, a sailor with more experience than many and is back on form, another with the M2/HD rig.

Should Tom Gillard attend, he will be sure to feature and I would relish seeing him and Davenport lock horns though Jamie Morgan will want to stake a claim and has the drive and commitment of an F1 driver.

This event is the penultimate qualifier for the North Sails Super Series and next weekend (Nov 11) will be the EOS finale which will take place at Draycote Water.

It promises to be an exciting 2 weekends for the Solo class before we wrap up for the winter so get your combi out and make the effort to join us.

See you on the water.

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