Noble Marine Winter Championship 2017
Draycote Water S.C. 25th February
After some careful consideration the NSCA committee decided to go ahead with the event, despite a rather menacing forecast of 22-33 knot winds.
33 entries reflected the support for the decision and with the race briefing done, the intrepid fleet rigged and screamed out onto the race course. PRO John Rhode, ably assisted by ex Solo legend Chris Avery and a team of young enthusiastic youths, set a triangle/sausage course with the sneaky white spreader mark in place which would be the undoing of a few who did not read the SI,s.
The fleet were away first time and battled up the course in the increasing breeze. A steady force 5 with a dash of force 7 for good measure. Some of the more ‘worldly’ sailors chose to head back into shore, hip and knee replacements still intact. At the top mark it was Paul Childs who was borrowing his father’s Solo for the day who rounded first, the 110 kg sailor, based at Hayling Island S.C. clearly enjoying the challenge and he set off for the gybe mark with Mike Sims and Charlie Cumbley in pursuit. Childs lead quickly evaporated as a squall took him by surprise and sent him swimming. He got back up to third before a nose dive and hypothermia got the better of him. It was at this point he realised his choice of hikers, two rash vests and a spray top were no match for the water temperature and he retired to the shower. Up front it was a race long tussle between Sims and Cumbley who was sailing his new Winder Mk 2 for the first time. Cumbley took the lead up the beat but Sims reclaimed top spot and they set off on a lip trembling plane to the gybe mark, which was handily placed in front of the clubhouse for maximum pressure. Sims chose to tack around and Cumbley, having seen the manoeuvre and sensing a chance tried the Hollywood pass and fell in to windward. Sims took the fully deserved bullet with Cumbley recovering to second from Andy Davis and Ian Hopwood.
PRO John Rhode reconfigured the course as the wind tracked left, not unusual at Draycote when the wind is coming from left of the clubhouse. Cumbley and Shane McCarthy were close to the pin end but Ian Hopwood nailed it while Sims chose to hold back a little. The wind strength had abated and those watching on from the comfortable caress of the bar must have been gutted. Cumbley was headed and tacked into a nice left hander which saw him first to the top mark from Hopwood, Davis and Martin Frary who was revelling in the breeze. Sims was stranded out to the right but still rounded in the top six. Cumbley had his angry game face on and made no mistakes, pulling away from the fleet who were guilty of more in fighting than the Labour Party. Watching these sailors, at the near top of their game reminded me of how I used to enjoy such conditions…I was then brought back to reality as a wave exploded on to my media rib. Cumbley first by a mile from Frary and Davis. Sims finished fourth which would prove crucial in the overall results.
In a replay of race 2, Cumbley nailed the pin and having tacked onto port was already in a commanding position with the fleet beneath him. The wind, while a world away from the violence of race 1 was still throwing punches like a blind boxer. With the Solo rig on max tension and simple fatigue a distant memory from the pain that was being felt now, there was still work to be done. Cumbley screamed down the second leg with McCarthy, Davis and Ollie Davenport a way back but hopeful of another Cumbley swim. Sims and Chris Brown were next and the plane down to the wing mark must have been exhilarating. Cumbley made no mistakes and completed the three lap race with an unassailable lead. GP World champion 2016 Mcarthy finished second from the consistent Davis in third with Brown and Sims completing the top five. Cumbley retained his Noble Marine Winter Championship title and with his sights firmly set on the National Solo UK Championship (Royal Torbay July 9-14) has set down a marker. Mike Sims will be buoyed by his bullet in race 1 and seems stronger to me in his strength and resolve this year. Andy Davis admitted to not being fully prepped for this event and will no doubt be race ready well before July. It was great to see Shane McCarthy on the water and he is good eye candy for the girls, we really need more of those at Solo social events! Special mention to Colin Mather who completed all three races and this sort of spirit is what makes the class so resilient. Well done Oliver Davenport, first junior and 7th overall, Nigel Davies, first Vet and 11th overall and Roger Lumby, 1st GM and 15th overall.
Full results on the Draycote Water website.
Special thanks to Noble Marine who are our class sponsor and to the team at Draycote who ran a faultless event in some extreme conditions.
Next stop is the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show then the Spring Championship at Oxford S.C. April 29.
See you on the water. Will Loy President NSCA