Wednesday, February 22, 2017

This Saturday sees the season opener for the National Solo fleet as we contest the Noble Marine Winter Championship.

Draycote Water Sailing Club is a very popular venue for the National Solo and dare I say it, with a promising forecast and unseasonably mild temperatures, a large fleet is anticipated.

It is another big season and with this event forming part of the North Sails Super Series, and all the usual suspects primed for action, the allure of the class has never been stronger. New boat sales are the envy of many UK single handed classes and with Winder Boats, Ovington Boats, Boatyard at Beer, P+B/Poulson, Sailboats.co.uk and Kevan Gosling Dinghycraft, all producing very fast and attractive Solos, there is choice aplenty. Add to this a strong second hand market for those wanting to get into the class and a N.S.C.A membership of approximately 900 sailors and you have some idea of the difficulties newer classes have in breaking into this sector of the sport.

I continue to meet sailors from other classes, both established and new, who seem bemused by the National Solos grip in the UK. How does a dinghy, whose lines were created over 60 years ago, comparatively heavy at 70kgs and with a stayed aluminium mast still appeal to the modern sailor?

I could drone on for hours about the steady controlled development of the hull, materials and layup and the investment and support our professional builders have given. I could also elaborate on the role the sailmakers have played in rig innovation and the knowledge the pro sailors have openly shared with our members. I could also expand on the importance of grass root support from club sailors across the UK, who have stuck with the class in the face of some very strong alternate choices.

I would say that the sheer volume of choice that has diluted so many classes, increasing the size of menagerie fleets at the expense of one design class racing, is the one most important reason we race the National Solo. It seems ironic to me that while designers continue to chuck out the latest super fast, super light single hander they are just continuing to add more water to the broth. Fortunately, with a history spanning over 6 decades and a committee of National Solo sailors we have a stable base, a product that still provides close competitive one design racing for lightweights, middleweights and heavyweights and a membership who choose quality of racing over fast food sailing.

Dinghy sailing may be in decline but the National Solo seems to be bucking that trend and any single handed sailors confused by the dearth of choice could do worse than to try the Solo, there are a lot of us out there.

I will be filming the event this Saturday so if you want to be part of the action, see you on the Water.

Thanks to Noble Marine for sponsoring the NSCA . Noble Marine are also our National Championship title sponsor and protect our Solos 24/7.

North Sails are our Super Series sponsor, the more qualifying events you do, the better chance of winning a new North sail.

Will Loy President NSCA

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