THE NATIONAL SOLO 60th ANNIVERSARY UK CHAMPIONSHIP SPONSORED BY SUPERSPAR
SUPERSPARS NATIONAL SOLO 60th ANNIVERSARY UK CHAMPIONSHIP
Raceday 1 Sponsored by ROOSTER
Raceday 1 Sponsored by ROOSTER
Plas Heli Commodore Bob Lowe welcomed around 80 Solo sailors to the wonderful new sailing facility in the north of Wales. While the rest of the UK bathed in sunshine, there was little chance of sunburn in Pwllheli, the mountain fog blighting the sky. Sailors rigged and waited on the beach and like a brides vail being lifted at the alter, the fog rose to reveal....grey skies. ROOSTER hikers were on show, pads in place and ready to protect the hamstrings and maximise righting moment but the notion of hiking was a little optimistic. I motored out to the race area and boarded "Banzie" the Committee boat for the week. PRO Mike Butterfield completed his checklist and awaited the fleet to the arena. 6-8 knots across the course from 185, that's just a little westerly of South and a little light for everyone but with a minimum of 5knots, we would be racing.
The line had a slight port bias and there was no pulling the welsh sheep over their eyes, result, general recall. Mike re-callibrated the line by dropping the pin end boat back 50 metres and we were into a black flag start. A large part of the fleet still hit the left pin end but Tom Gillard (Winder Mk1/North ST2K) and Pete Mitchell (Ovington/North P2) who had tacked off at the committee boat would round first and second with Andy Davis, fresh from his win at Merlin week, who had worked the middle of the beat. Tom would be receiving the Presidents Beer Voucher for nailing the first beat. Vanda Jowett, our only female competitor was next around from Ollie Wells. Young Peter Ballentine from Salcombe was next around from sailing legend Tim Law. The course was triangle/sausage, normally with the wind below 8 knots we would be on a windward/leeward course but the swell, or remnants of it allowed some wave action, albeit limited by the presence of Jury boat, and judge David Batty. There were some train crash first beats and with little chance of improvement, it would have been human to have them put down. Up the second beat, since this was where the action was, and with a just about perceptible increase in pressure, Gillard extended his hiking position and his advantage. Ollie Wells was the big mover and was up to second at the top mark, or would have been if he had not panicked and misjudged the lay line, gifting Davis the inside lane. No matter, by the bottom of the sausage and with a shortened course finish in sight, he was in second. Davis looked like he had caught a Jellyfish and dropped to fourth with Pete Mitchell gaining to complete the podium. Jowett finished a very creditable fifth and was revelling in the light winds and awkward chop. Vanda uses a Needlespar Fat Boy Slim/North ST2K and this rig was proving very effective.
The fleet re-grouped, wounds were licked and minds re-focused on race 2.
The breeze had gone west to 200-210 and the pin boat was re-positioned further upwind to sweeten the left side. Clean start under the black flag and this time, like the Referendum vote, a very even split. Mark Lee and Vanda Jowett were hard left while Andy Davis who had started just down from the committee boat and on the line worked the right with Ian Houston and Pete Mitchell. After 15 minutes the leaders rounded with Davis first from Jowett and Kevin Gibb. Guy Lonsdale, Mark Lee and Tim Law completed the top six. The fleet headed off to the wing mark, sails filling and stalling in the light breeze, or "awel" if you are Welsh. Davis extended gradually over the 2 laps to win with Jowett, Lee and Lonsdale, all in a holding pattern while Gibb was spat out of the back. Steve Denison, 7th in race 1 would finish 5th, with Peter Ballentine who was battling with a shredded mainsheet, 6th from Law. Tom Gilllard would add an 8th to his score with Pete Mitchell and Steve Ede completing the top ten. The rescue teams escorted the fleet in to the smooth sandy beach as the veil of fog once again descended over the course. Back on shore and with the results crunched even before the last boat hit the shore it would be usual suspect Andy Davis who would be leading the Championship with a 4-1 scoreline. Vanda Jowett could sell her 5-2 while Tom Gillard sits in third with a 1-8.
Tonight the fleet will celebrate or drown sorrows, with any luck, and if there is any fairness in the lottery of prize draws, Horey, Brown and Bonner will be picking up some amazing prizes from Raceday 1 sponsor ROOSTER. Gillard and Davis collect their free pint for their first beat prowess and there will be some booby prizes for moments of blondness. The forecast for tomorrow is not promising but with the AGM in the social program, excitement and drama are guaranteed. Will Loy President NSCA