Please select your home edition
Edition
Sailingfast 2018 2 728x90

Solo Open at West Kirby Sailing Club

by Philip Barnes 24 Jun 08:29 BST 22 June 2024
West Kirby Solo Open winners (l-r) Philip Barnes 3rd, Innes Armstrong 1st, Andy Carter 2nd © Justine Davenport

Sponsored by Winder Boats and Impact Marine

Arriving at the Club, everyone was excited at the prospect of sailing on the sea with West Kirby hosting the only northern sea event of the 2024 series.

A perfect forecast NW f4 decreasing 3 and sunny day was promised making it certain we would be racing on the sea. Unpacking the boats it was quite cold and breezier than forecast with a chilly 17kts North Westerly blowing in from the Irish Sea and those with shorts and T shirts quickly putting on jackets to keep warm. Kite surfers and wing foilers were flying across the marine lake making the most of the conditions.

We rigged the Solos and lined up for launching, but there was no water to sail on, the committee boat launched onto the sand, still high and dry.

In the clubhouse we were greeted to the usual excellent hospitality of the West Kirby team with delicious sticky buns and doughnuts with coffee as we registered to race. Included with the race entry was a picnic lunch ready for 3 back to back races.

At the briefing, the OOD urged us to be sensible at the start without requiring general recalls as time was tight for the tide not being quite as high as in previous years, but at 8.2m would be enough for three 30 to 40 minute races.

At 10.35, the water magically arrived at the slip way and we launched reaching to the start line whilst checking the strength of tide flowing into the estuary.

Race 1 was biased to the committee boat and favoured an early tack into the moorings to stay out of the foul tide. The course for races 1 and 2 was Olympic sausage, triangle. The wind had dropped to around 12kts for nice full power sailing and steady direction with the main challenge keeping boat speed through the waves and occasional lulls. Innes Armstrong and Martin Honnor got off to an early lead. Approaching the windward mark Philip Barnes, John Dixon and Phil Proctor were closing on the leaders. The club lead rescue boat led us around reminding us it was "sausage not triangle" and the downwind leg saw plenty of place changing. Up the next beat the wind started to ease and Armstrong held the lead, Barnes passed Honnor on the beat and the race finished Armstrong 1st, Barnes 2nd, Honnor 3rd and Dixon 4th. By now it was much warmer with champagne sailing out on the very picturesque estuary.

For the second race the wind had clocked right 5 to 10 degrees and the current eased to almost slack water. With a strong right hand bias and little tide holding us back it was no surprise to have a general recall. The OOD repositioned the pin upwind for a better bias and the fleet got away to a clean 'U' flag start. This time there was no real tidal gain for the boats that went right and actually sailed into less pressure. Armstrong got off to a great start and took the middle of the beat. Barnes and Chris Gillard went left and looked very good but overstood the windward mark. Andy Carter nailed the lay line to take 2nd at the mark followed by Gillard who hit the mark, allowing Barnes back into 3rd. Only just behind in 5th was Justine Davenport who was on fire, sailing very fast and consistently pushing for 4th place. Justine said that Innes had let her use a more recent sail instead of the not so new white dacron sail. Perhaps, with a new sail Justine will be beating Innes! The race positions held to the finish with Armstrong taking the bullet and hence winning the day. Carter took second ahead of Barnes, Gillard and Davenport.

For race 3, the wind had dropped to around 7 to 8kts and the OOD had limited time for the race to get the fleet back ashore before being marooned in the cruiser moorings as the tide went out. The beat was reduced in length and this time a windward leeward course. A very tactical beat and run saw Armstrong sail to another perfect victory - congrats Innes. Behind it was a repeat of race 2 with the same contenders in 2, 3, 4 and 5.

As we approached the finish of the last race, Chris Gillard was calling me (Barnes), I wondered what I had done wrong.... then I realised he was calling; "looks like you are writing the report". Perhaps that was why he was holding back towards the end of the race so he did not take 3rd to write the report.

We all sailed in and there was actually plenty of water to sail right to the jetty to be greeted by a small army of helpers holding our trollies identified by the tally numbers - thank you.

What a great day. Thank you to all the volunteers at West Kirby who put in so much effort from the car park manager, sandwich maker, registration team, PRO Mike De St Paer and team, rescue and mark layer teams and trolley team. Also a special good luck to Alan Leyland following his surgery and to getting back on the water soon.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st5813Innes ArmstrongBurwain‑1112
2nd5615Andy CarterWest Kirby‑8224
3rd5685Philip BarnesBudworth2‑335
4th6041Chris GillardSheffield Viking‑5448
5th5880Martin HonnorOgston37(RET)10
6th581Justine DavenportBurwain‑145510
7th5514John DixonWest Kirby4‑10711
8th5312Stuart NorrisShropshire‑116612
9th5968Nick HornsbyHollingworth79‑1016
10th5712Tony SampsonBudworth‑108816
11th5888Phil ProctorChester6‑151117
12th5592Bob MosedaleWest Kirby‑1311920
13th5979John ColegraveYorkshire Dales913‑1422
14th5662Chris GoslingWest Kirby‑12121224
15th4516Keith Patrick‑WardWest Kirby‑15141327

Related Articles

Hollingworth Lake Solo Open
Racing in the Rochdale rain Eighteen Solos and five Phantoms turned up for the joint open at a very overcast Hollingworth Lake... a good turnout! After a clear up in the dinghy park on Saturday there was plenty of room for both fleets. Posted on 10 Jul
Salcombe Yacht Club Summer Series Race 2
Bue skies, blue seas, great breeze and a strongly flooding tide Races 2 of the Salcombe YC Summer Series took place on 22nd June. The competitors were favoured by what the over 60s call classic Salcombe conditions. That is to say blue skies, blue seas, a strongly flooding tide and a Force 3-5 South Westerly wind. Posted on 25 Jun
Scottish Solo Travellers at Helensburgh
The forecast was for lots of wind from the west, and it proved to be accurate Once again the Scottish Solo fleet travelled to Helensburgh for the latest in the HD Sails travellers series. As well as a warm welcome from the club there are several Solos here and the race management is excellent. Posted on 19 Jun
Solo class Vintage Championships and open meeting
Leigh-on-Sea saw many boats from all different builders performing to their limits Well well well, it doesn't seem like a year has gone by since the last Vintage Solo Championships at the Leigh-on-Sea Sailing Club was held, but it is. Posted on 12 Jun
Bough Beech & Chipstead Interclub Competition R1
Encouraging greater interclub participation between two of Kent's leading clubs This year it was decided to try and encourage greater interclub participation between two of Kent's leading sailing clubs by introducing a competition between Bough Beech and Chipstead as part of their annual Solo open meetings. Posted on 9 Jun
Salcombe Yacht Club Sailing Club Series Race 6
A fleet of 14 in the handicap fleet and 16 in the Solo fleet The fleet of fourteen competitors including eight Salcombe Yawls started cleanly in a light easterly breeze and a slack high tide on a long beat to Yalton. The early leader was Yawl 172 chased by John and Katie Meadowcroft in their Merlin Rocket. Posted on 4 Jun
Yorkshire Dales Solo Open
Fresh breeze and bright sunshine as the northerly wind blew over the fells The first weekend in June dawned with a fresh breeze and bright sunshine, and as usual Grimwith Reservoir was treating us to cooler-than-normal temperatures as the northerly wind blew over the fells of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. Posted on 4 Jun
Ardleigh Solo Open
Strong wind forecast puts off a few There was a disappointing turnout for Ardleigh Sailing Club's Solo open meeting on 1st June, the forecast strong winds no doubt discouraging both visitors and local sailors. Posted on 3 Jun
Solo at Torpoint Mosquito
Western Series Round 3 Round 3 of the Solo Western Series headed to Torpoint Mosquito Sailing Club, with seven visitors joining the local fleet, so nineteen Solos competed overall. Posted on 2 Jun
Solos at Northampton
15 visitors from every point of the compass join 6 home boats for Midland Area Series Round 3 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. Posted on 1 Jun