Oxford sailing Club are all set to welcome a large National Solo fleet to contest the 2017 Spring Championship this Saturday 29th April.
With three back to back races planned (wheels up 11.am)on the generous racetrack of Farmoor reservoir and no midges to battle with after a late spring cold snap, all looks set for another drama filled, action packed regatta.
My 8 month old black Labrador Bob has had several growth spurts in the last few months and the National Solo boat builders have seen equally active increases in new build enquires since the proposed alteration changes were put to bed.
Below is a list of National Championships and the newest build that attended, a pretty fair guide of the peaks and troughs of the National Solo. As the newer builds feed down to the grass root club level sailor there will naturally be a water bed and this has been reached. Spoilers may wish to spin the below the information as showing a long awaited decline in National Solo popularity. What is significant is that we have already surpassed the total builds from July 15 to 16 and it is still only April.
What is equally warming is the continued attendance at our open meeting events across the UK with averages in the high twenties, assisted in no part by the efforts of the area reps who acquire lucrative sponsorship with the promise of decent prizes and 15 seconds of fame in event reports.
5342 Nationals 12 Andy Davis 5446
Nationals 13 Ian Pinnell +104 5544
Nationals 14 Steve Cockerill +98 5628
Nationals 15 Chris Turner +84 5682
Nationals 16 James Rowland +54
5737 April 17 +55 with 3 months to go.
5735 is owned by Solo legend Richard Willetts, not too shabby a builder himself as founder of Runnymede Dinghies back in the late 70s-early 80s. I remember competing at some of my early events and competing against many of Richard's Solos, Panhgalactic Gurgle Blaster among them. Pretty sure 5735 is an FRP since Richard hung up his building boots? 5737 is owned by P+B and is being campaigned by newly appointed P+B jockey Oliver Davenport.
Usually found on the tiller extension of a Laser, Oliver is finding his feet in the Solo and may well be a factor at this Spring event. P+B also have Oli Wells performing tricks in his P+B /JP Solo and the team are showing promise with some great results already in 2017.
So, going into the event there should be some strong competition with Andy Davis- HD Sails, Mike Sims P+B, Tom Lonsdale and Lawrence Creaser- North Sails and maybe a surprise visit from Andy Tunnicliffe - Impact Marine. Of course there will also be around another 60+ competitors also making a claim for the title.
I do not want to stymie the event with talk of a great forecast so I will just direct you to XC Weather and Windguru to make up your own mind whether it is worth packing your Solo up for a road trip. Put it this way though, I live on the Isle of Wight and if my car is fixed in time I will be there with the boat!
This event is leg 2 of the NORTH SAILS SUPER SERIES, to be in with a chance of winning a brand new North mainsail, just compete in no less than 4 events, the more you do though, the more prize draw tickets you earn.
Noble Marine our our class sponsor and continue to keep us all on the water.
Look out for the report early next week as I will then be on the way to Medemblik, Holland to report on the 2017 Nation's Cup, sponsored by Magic Marine, with over 60 pre entries, another great example of why we are such a great class.
Will Loy President NSCA