What the Judge Saw...

Hail Seizure! The Solos engaged a water born judge for the first day of the Inland Championships held at Rutland SC on 9/10 Sept 2017. It was said to be the likely better day weather-wise of the two so I off I went in a nice Rutland 6m RIB along with event reporter and photographer for the day, Jo. This RIB had massive 100mm bungs instead of the usual elephant nose bailers and when opened water spouted in an impressive stream. Difficult to bail the boat single handed with kill cord considerations etc. So much of the day was spent paddling. It started as a sunny day and I thought about summer kit. We wondered about photo angles in the bright sun. However, the weather Emperor was in a changeable mood and a heavy rainstorm developed and soon the Judge and Jo were backs to the wind trying to keep the rain out of motley kit. Especially Jo’s who had eclectically borrowed a variety of pieces. Jo clearly knew the Solo fleet sailor characters but less about sailing itself. Race 1 got underway and our focus was on trying to get action shots using an i-phone whilst demonstrating the “Panda Car” approach to Rule 42 management. I am often impressed that the visible presence of the flag on the back of the boat, (usually blue and white Juliet), focusses the sailors’ minds and a heavy handed yellow flag and whistle is not required to achieve the objective: a felt fair competition amongst the fleet. So no yellows required but a few marginal actions by some competitors which the judges call ‘yellow light areas ’and those boats get put onto a mental list of boats to watch. I may even have a brief chat to various yellow lit boats just like the real Pandas and offer a friendly warning following the principle of giving the appropriate benefit of the doubt to the competitor. However, a faulty brake light at 4am can cause all sorts of trouble I understand and there may be an analogy somewhere to R42 Blues and twos. On the other hand, self policing of other rules of RRS was seemingly ineffective by the fleet. I saw at least one heavy audible thump of a boat trying to mount the one in front as they rounded the mark. No “Protest” or voluntary turn by anybody in that crowded vicinity. On a different occasion, a boat noticeably hit the mark while the R42 Panda was nearby. No penalty taken even though I would imagine that the competitor was aware of the contact. Like the faulty brake light, such a situation could escalate into a more dramatic outcome as knowingly braking a rule (pun intended) might lead to a Rule 2 charge. It seems I inadvertently complimented Jo’s partner, Ian Hopwood, for a very competent manoeuvre in the race. He didn’t mount the boat in front having lost the mark room battle.
Jo withdrew to dry land as planned. Perhaps she was going to have a word with the Emperor? Race 2 was started amidst the Emperor’s next fit of fickleness. During the race the wind backed substantially which effective turned legs into arms and probably made the race boring and very lucky for some, disastrous for others. A race best was forgotten. A request for redress​ was held, that in itself was useful to explore the issues around course fairness and race management. The rules that are brought into play under the Emperor’s undemocratic weather decrees are 32 and 34, neither of which obligate the race committee to take action and give plenty of scope for discretion. The Protest Committee’s decision is open to appeal and I should not discuss it until after the appeal window of 15 days has expired. Race 3 was subject to Hail Seizure which reduced visibility to a small distance, the water tower disappearing from my sight as the RIB filled with water from rain, hail and reverse gear. Eventually, the Emperor’s most vicious squall passed over without using a Solo mast or the judge’s flag pole as a lightning rod. Cold bodies all over the Rutland Water, the race was started after a significant course change and it turned into a competitive race and quite good to watch. New yellow lights emerged between a particularly close battle in the first triangle and my benefit mentality was sorely tested. Finally, another yellow light persistently glowed and the time came to flash the flag. It is my practice to record the observations and the World Sailing R42 interpretations that I consider infringed and I am happy to discuss them with the unfortunate flagged ones. Apparently, Mr Hopwood recalls such a conversation. I am not going to forgive the Emperor for the weather tantrums, but nevertheless, I had a fun day and I hope I contributed to your fun day too. Steve Watson

Nation's Cup 2016

The Nation’s Cup 2016


Medemblik : Holland 22-24 April

Medemblik has always been the center of regatta sailing in the Netherlands. It is the home port and main venue to many international events such as the Breitling Regatta and European or World Championships in various classes, but also to events for the bigger yachts such as the 24 Hour Regatta. The sheltered harbour, the picturesque and inviting city centre as well as the world class Regatta Committees have all contributed to Medembliks success as harbour town! Next to the sailing there's a general purpose marina, and a restaurant.

So the venue is superb, the Dutch people are incredibly welcoming and the scenery is beautiful.


The Nation's Cup is being held as part of the Spring Championship

10 Championship races over three days

Awesome after-race hospitality

Easy travel from the UK

Strong UK representation

Plenty of sightseeing for non sailing partners

And a chance to become Nation’s Cup Champion

Further Details to Follow:

Andy Davis From HD Sails Provides Tips on the Nationals Venue 2015

Really happy that we're going back to North Berwick, certainly one of my favourite venues!NorthBerwick
The sailing club ELYC (East Lothian Yacht Club) are a friendly bunch and put great efforts in to making you feel welcome.
The town has plenty of places to eat, probably why I like it. It also now has a Greggs so we'll be able to stuff our faces with plenty of sausage rolls!

Getting down to the business end, the sailing area is superb. It has plenty of scenery so when your not doing so well it can take your mind off it.
When the wind blows from the east large waves build enough to lose half a solo in the troughs. This makes for good surfing conditions so make sure your well practiced as good wave sailing can give you a good edge.
North Berwick is on the south side of a wide estuary, the Firth of Forth. The coast faces due north, and prevailing gradient winds are from the west or south-west, while easterlies are the next most common direction!
Although North Berwick faces north, the sea breeze comes from the east. The sea breeze will develop depending on the strength of the opposing gradient wind, a westerly or south-westerly morning wind of up to a Force 3 is likely to give way to a sea breeze around noon. A stronger westerly is more likely to persist!
The tide floods east-west and ebbs in the opposite direction. Only occasionally does it run at more than a knot and is stronger the further from the shore you are.
The main tactical questions you need to ask yourself is, when the tide is ebbing and the sea breeze is in, the tide is with you on a beat, so do you go right for the wind as the sea breeze veers through the afternoon or left to the stronger tide? Or, in a westerly wind with a flooding tide helping you, do you go left to the convergence that exists near the shore or right into the stronger flow? The answer varies from day to day and from hour to hour!

There is plenty of space up at the boat park but down on the shore it will be congested. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get out to the race course. Since returning this year the sand has washed away in the bay compared to when we were there last. Large rocks have appeared so keep right close to the harbour wall on your way out. Once you go round the corner of the harbour keep about 25- 50 metres from the harbour and spit, don't stray to far left as again there are large rocks. It's certainly worth taking a look at the beach at low tide and work out where your going to sail out and come back!

Hope you have a good week and look forward to seeing you there.


North Berwick Preview

For those of you attending the Nationals this year & who haven’t visited before you are in for a real treat. A beautiful bustling Scottish Seaside Town surrounded by magnificent countryside awaits. For those of you who have been there I hope that the following will serve as useful reminders!
The journey up from the South is pretty straightforward, Sat Nav wanted to take us across country from Carlisle but we found it much easier continuing North on the M6/M74 & going across Country from Abington, Junction 13 M74. Travel time for Cheshire was 4 ½ hours no traffic.
On arrival in North Berwick we followed the signs for ELYC Parking& were directed onto the beachfront area, some 5 minutes walk from the club, which is where you will be parked for the event & where we (or rather you all) will launch from.
Cars then have to be moved & parked in the town. Whilst in the main there are lots of places which are free, securing a place in Summer may well prove tricky for those arriving later on. There are a number of free public car parks in the town, including the station & plenty of places along the beaches without timed restrictions, though vehicles over 7’6” are prohibited from here.
There is lots of accommodation in the town along with Tantallon Caravan & Campsite
which has areas for tents, motorhomes, rents statics & even has Wigwams!

The site is well catered for being a brisk 20-25 minute walk from the club & just 15 minutes from the Town’s Tescos!


East Lothian YC barThe clubhouse is right in the harbour 2 minutes from the main drag, & has good facilities. On the first floor is the most important Bar & on the second floor is the café. There looked to be a good variety of things on the menu, all homemade including fresh cream cake! I am advised that a marquee will be set up for the nationals to accommodate us all but you would need to check with the club on that! Launching is across from the club where the Dinghies will be parked, a jetty makes for easy access to a sandy beach launching directly into the sea reminding me very much of Mounts Bay. The trolley dollies are certainly going to be earning their beer!
Both of the beaches which stretch for miles are great for families & are dog friendly. Golden sands abound & on one beach there is a small Lido which retains sea water when the tide goes out & is great for paddling in. Away from the beach you can keep the kids entertained with a couple of putting greens & playground’s, an expanse of playing fields & a tennis club for the more energetic. The main train line to Edinburgh runs from the town & it takes just 20 minutes to get to the centre. A real shame that our Nationals don’t have a ‘rest’ day as it would be a real opportunity to explore the area with the family!

Facilities in the town are more than adequate for a week’s stay though, meaning you need never venture far if you don’t want to! Tesco’s is a 15 minute walk from the centre, & on the High Street there is a Nisa Local & Co-op along with a Butchers & Bakery all of whom open on a Sunday. None of us will starve as there are a variety of cafes & Deli’s great for lunch & for dinner there are

  • Thai Curry House
  • Indian Restaurant
  • Turkish Kebab Shop
  • Chinese
  • 2 Italians
  • 3 Pubs
  • 2 Bistros

Sadly Brownie will be disappointed as there are no Golden Arches! A famous place for lunch is in the Harbour itself being ‘The Lobster Shack’ which serves local fish & Lobster which is on the menu at nearly every establishment I looked at!
And with the thought of Garda in my head, the local ‘Gelateria Alandas’ serves up a Fab array of amazing flavours for your delight. Having been to visit this weekend I am really looking forward to my week there in August! The sumptuous East Lothian Y.C. bar which will be busy in the first week of August