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Allen Solo Midland Series Round 2 at South Staffordshire Sailing Club

by Jonny Coate 8 May 11:11 BST 4 May 2024

South Staffs SC welcomed visitors from across the region for round 2 of the Allen Solo Midland Series at the weekend. Nine local boats were joined by thirteen visitors from as far as Northampton, Budworth, and Ogston making up a healthy turnout of 22 boats.

The forecast light winds from the south would present a tricky day for all, as the sailors would have to pick their way through the gusts and shifts South Staffs is well known for.

Race one got away cleanly first time under the management of OOD John Billington and AOOD Mike Owen. At the first mark it was Martin Honnor (Ogston SC), Jonny Coate (South Staffs SC), and Samuel Bailey (South Staffs SC) making up the top 3. Honnor immediately picked up some breeze on the first downwind leg to extend his lead. Over the remainder of the first lap, Coate managed to reel him in resulting in a tacking duel up the first leg of lap 2. However, while the battle for first place continued, Lark ace Bailey showing great speed in a borrowed boat was catching the leaders, prompting Coate to protect his second place and the race finished in that order.

With the breeze clocking right a little over lunch, the start line was moved closer to the club and a new course set. Race two started with an individual recall, nobody went back and the fleet continued their race to the first mark. Again it was Honnor, Coate, Bailey in that order at the first mark, with Neil Wilkinson and Jamie Cuxson (both Shustoke SC) chasing close behind. At the end of the first lap Honnor was informed by the race committee that he was one of the early starters, so he retired to the clubhouse to watch the rest of the race with a cup of tea.

Coate now in the lead, but not for long as near the top of the next beat the breeze died right off, only to fill in from the far left leaving him to watch Bailey, Wilkinson and Cuxson reaching in at speed on the port lay line. Bailey did a great job protecting his lead for the rest of the race, while the other three had a good battle. Ultimately Coate managed to claw his way back to second with Wilkinson third and Cuxson fourth.

So going into the final race the battle for the Robin Harper trophy was open to anyone counting a 1,2, or 3 in their scoreline so far. Again the race started with an extra hoot and flag x-ray hoisted. This time it was clear Coate and Honnor were the offenders at the pin end and both returned, effectively ruling themselves out for the overall win. Honnor put in a great effort to pull back to fourth, but ultimately ran out of runway to improve on that. With Bailey also well out of touch of the top three, all he could do was hope that Wilkinson, locked in a fierce battle with Cuxson for the lead, did not win race three. Wilkinson kept a cool head though, and did the business, taking the win by a couple of boat lengths from Cuxson, and with it the title. Andy Bownes (Barnt Green SC) rounded out the top three.

In the end the top three were all tied on four points each, with Wilkinson taking the trophy having won the last race, Bailey second counting his race two win, and Coate third with no race wins to help his case.

The first lady prize was won by Anna Nankervis (Shropshire SC), and first youth was won by her son Ben Nankervis. Special mention must be made of their family with three generations racing, as local legend and Anna's father Tony Hotchkiss (South Staffs SC) also raced, as well as Anna's husband Lee.

Next up is round 3 of the Allen Solo Midland Series at Northampton SC on 25th May.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st5210Neil WilkinsonShustoke SC‑8314
2nd513Samuel BaileySouth Staffs SC31‑64
3rd5130Jonny CoateSouth Staffs SC22‑74
4th5880Martin HonnorOgston SC1(OCS)45
5th5704Jamie CuxsonShustoke Sailing Club‑6426
6th5401Andy BownesBarnt Green SC4(OCS)37
7th4792Gareth WilkinsonChelmarsh SC‑55510
8th5654Graham EllisBudworth Sailing Club77‑1114
9th5644Paul BottomleySouth Staffs SC96‑1315
10th5736Iain CarpenterNorthampton SC‑118917
11th5355Lee NankervisShropshire sailing club‑1211819
12th5671Simon DippleShustoke SC109‑1219
13th5138Anna NankervisShropshire sailing club‑17101424
14th4437Tony HotchkissSouth Staffs SC1313‑1626
15th4521Martin WarburtonSouth Staffs SC‑15121527
16th5675Maria Elvira FrancoNorthampton SC‑18181028
17th5610Chris BellSouth Staffs SC1416‑1730
18th5302Michael DaviesSouth Staffs SC1614(DNF)30
19th4300Ben NankervisShropshire sailing club1915‑2034
20th5740Mike CosseyShustoke Sailing Club2017(DNF)37
21st5908Graham BowerSouth Staffs SC‑21191837
22nd3405Mark BieganskiSouth Staffs SC‑22201939

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