Monday, September 21, 2015

Despite the WPNSA fears that no-one would turn up a fantastic fleet of 48 National Solos’ arrived at the home of British sailing to contest the Nigel Pusinelli Trophy. 6 races over two days with racing taking place in the harbour which to be truthful, was still a mighty long way out. 
PRO Jim Gollop assembled the sailors for the briefing and, at the NSCAs instruction reminded the fleet of the need for rule 42 observance, a warning that was heeded by all during the days racing. Conditions on the water were relatively benign with between 9 and 12 knots throughout the day and a flat sea state…Well it was from the comfort of the committee boat. Cloud and sun were constant combatants to each other, the cloud just about winning on countback.
The harbour was filled with Topper and GBR laser training squads, this really is the home of sailing.

Race 1

To the surprise and relish of the race team the fleet were away first time, a true line, perfect length and managed with impeccable time keeping is the norm at Weymouth, they have not slacked in the years since 2012.
Andy Tunnicliffe rounded the top mark with a small lead over a pack containing Alex Corby, Chris Brown, Andrew Wilde and Chris Goldhawk. The first leg was point seven of a mile long and it took 12 minutes for the first boat to reach it. The triangle was rather long and laborious, just not quite enough pressure to get the Solo on the plane. Wilde broke through up the second beat, hooking into more pressure up the right. Graham Williamson and Tunnicliffe were working the puffs of breeze down the run but Wilde was able to extend. There was much place changing down the two reaches of the third lap, the biggest improver, Steve Denison who found enough puffs to move him up to 3rd. So the finishing order was Wilde, Tunnicliffe, Denison, Brown and the fast finishing Vince Horey.

Race 2

Race 2 was away but only after the initial sequence was aborted due to a large swing to the left, nothing like the last general election then. I was personally relieved as there were no boats at the committee end to film! Chris Brown rounded mark 1 first with Tunniicliffe and Nigel Davies biting at his transom. By the bottom mark Davies had the narrowest of leads, he had sunk low and the fleet had gone high as each sailor in turn tried to protect their pressure. Davies consolidated while Ollie Wells, Race 1 winner Wilde, Dave Mitchell and Mark Lee all improved. The marker boat at the top was indicating 11 knots and the lighter helms were fully powered up as they worked through the increasing chop. Davies extended to win by 100 yrds from Wilde who was having a good day at the office and Wells who had made big gains from his mark 1 rounding. Tunnicliffe finished fourth with Mitchell fifth.

Race 3

The committee boat anometer was recording 12 knots and the fleet were away with just one casualty, Chris Cleaves. Tunnicliffe nailed the pin end and after a small hike to the left, one tacked the beat. Those on the right were dead after five minutes but to be truthful, left had paid all day. The fleet filed around the top mark, Tunnicliffe, Brown, Ian Hopwood, who was relishing the increase in breeze, and the luckless Cleaves. He looked like he was enjoying himself and I was not going to spoil his moment of glory. There was not quite enough pressure to work the waves and the top three consolidated over the subsequent laps to finish Tunnicliffe, Brown, Hopwood, Cleaves OCS, Jonathon Swain, Dave Mitchell.

The fleet sailed the 1.5 miles to shore, a beat all the way as Topper and GBR laser coaching sessions continued. Practice Practice Practice!

At the end of day 1 and Andy Tunnicliffe leads from Chris Brown, Jonathon Swain, Andrew Wilde and Nigel Davies. 
The fleet piled into The Cove pub to re hydrate and carb load for Sundays racing. More of the same with extra wind maybe.

Will Loy

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