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Allen Brothers

Solo Midland Area Series Round 3 at Northampton Sailing Club

by Iain Carpenter 1 Jun 06:56 BST 25 May 2024
Race 3 start during the Solo Midland Area Series at Northampton © Marino Phocas

The third round of the Allen and CB Coverstore sponsored Solo Midland Area Series took place at Pitsford Reservoir attracting a very competitive fleet with fifteen visitors from every point of the compass joining six home boats. Early forecasts of very light winds proved wrong and the Easterly breeze steadily strengthened from force 2-3 to a force 4 as the day progressed and the sun appeared.

Race one saw a large wind shift just after the line was set resulting in a big bunch of likely leaders at that end of the line who somehow all managed to get away cleanly. Those that went right seeking a reversal of the shift lost out heavily to those that went left. At the first mark Olly Davenport was just ahead of a pack lead by Chris Brown and Martin Honnor with Nigel Davies, Jonathon Swain and Neil Wilkinson also in contention. After the two short reaches the fleet spread out down the longer run with Olly slowly building an unchallenged lead he held to the finish. Martin and Chris battled for second place with Martin holding on to finish ahead. Nigel was fourth and Jonathon fifth.

The line was reset for race two with less pin end bias, spreading the fleet much more evenly. Another clean start saw most of the fleet tacking off on the first header but Olly Saunders held on starboard for longer and rounded the windward mark first ahead of Olly D and Jonathon Swain with Martin and Simon Maskell close behind. Positions didn’t change until the next windward mark when the two Ollys swapped places. Olly D took his second win with Jonathon second, Martin third and Simon fourth. Olly Saunders finished fifth after a tricky final beat.

As the fleet headed in for a quick lunch, Olly Davenport was in a strong position with two bullets. Martin (2 & 3) and Jonathon (5 & 2) were leading the challenge but with the wind shifts proving difficult to predict all was still to play for.

Race 3 started promptly with a late wind shift shift creating a committee boat bias keeping most of the main contenders at that end. Jonathon and the Barnham family duo, Jasper and son Fergus, started near the middle of the line. With the wind shifting back, Olly, Martin and most others starting at the committee boat end tacked onto port and headed right. Those that delayed tacking onto port and keeping more to the left were rewarded with a wind that kept on lifting them all the way up the beat. Jonathon was first to the mark followed by Chris and Mike Cossey, who had tacked on to port last, rounded in third place. The Barnhams, in very close company, filled the next two places.

Olly D led a big pack of boats coming in from the right, rounding in around 10th place. The wind really dropped for the last run making things very tense for the whole fleet. Jonathon led Chris around every buoy all the way to the finish. Jasper was third, ahead of Fergus, following the established theme of the day, some lunchtime tuning and the stronger winds bringing them both into contention. Mike finished a delighted fifth ahead of Olly D who had worked through to sixth. As the wind filled in at strength after the leaders finished, the remainder of the fleet really compressed leaving Martin back in ninth place.

Going into the last race, which would bring the discard into play, things were looking very interesting. Olly D and Jonathon were both on 8 points, Chris was on 11 points and Martin on 14. The small pin end bias was back and the fleet spread evenly with Olly D, Martin and Jonathon all towards the pin end. Getting the shifts right proved crucial and those three were all pretty close until Jonathon’s halyard slipped dropping his main close to the windward mark. It was soon up again, but seeing the number and quality of those now in front of him, he decided that he was very unlikely to improve on fifth so retired to prepare for an early get away. Martin rounded first with Olly close behind, Fergus was round in third with Simon, Nigel and Jasper all very close. Martin held off Olly until the end of the first run but once ahead Olly stayed there to record his third bullet and wrap up the overall first. Martin’s second confirmed his second overall. Fergus held onto third to finish fifth overall (one point ahead of Jasper!). Simon was fourth with Nigel fifth.

There were lots of prizes awarded thanks to our sponsors. A spot prize for being right in the middle of the fleet went to Andrew Bownes of Barnt Green SC. Tim Wade, who had made the trip all the way from Lymington Town SC, was first Septimus. Chris Brown was first Veteran and fourth overall. Jonathon Swain from Carsington SC was third overall. Martin Honnor from Ogston SC was second overall and first Grand Master. The overall winner, Oliver Davenport from the home club, thanked the race team of Isaac Marsh and Mile Odell who, together with the hard working safety boat crews and admin team, all helped to make this a very enjoyable event with lots of very close competition all through the fleet.

With a different winner from each of the three events this year, the Midland Series is shaping up to be very hotly contested. Martin Honnor is showing his determination to retain his crown attending every meeting and scoring 4,4,2. With another six events and five to count there is still plenty to play for. The next event will be at Trimpley Sailing Club on Saturday 29 June, followed by Shustoke on Sunday 14 July.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st6080Oliver DavenportNorthampton SC11‑613
2nd5880Martin HonnorOgston SC23‑927
3rd6055Jonathon SwainCarsington SC521(RET)8
4th6074Chris BrownDraycote SC362‑811
5th6011Fergus BarnhamNorthampton SC‑1184315
6th5887Jasper BarnhamSnettisham Beach‑973616
7th6037Simon MaskellHunts SC84‑10416
8th6108Nigel DaviesDraycote SC49(RET)518
9th6049Olly SaundersShustoke SC135‑18927
10th5210Neil WilkinsonRYA61011‑1627
11th5401Andrew BownesBarnt Green7137‑1427
12th6067Chris BunnLady Yacht Club‑121212731
13th5736Iain CarpenterNorthampton SC14‑1681032
14th5740Mike CosseyShustoke SC‑191951236
15th5704Jamie CuxsonShustoke SC‑1511141338
16th5713Duncan PeaceRYA1015‑171540
17th6066Tim WadeLymington Town SC‑1614151140
18th5721Graham WilsonNorthampton SC‑1818131748
19th6056Peter WarneNorthampton SC171716(RET)50
20th5675Maria E. FrancoNorthampton SC‑2020191857
21st3407David LucasTrimpley SC212120(RET)62

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