Magic Marine Solo Nationals Day 1
Friday, July 27, 2018
104 National Solos arrived at Hayling Island Sailing Club to contest the 2018 National Championship and were rewarded with blistering sunshine and a warm welcome from Commodore Nick Peters and the H.I.S.C. members. With 12 races planned over the 6 days of competition there was some optimism that the forecast of daily sea breezes generated by the continued heat of a summer reminiscent of 1976 would come true. Saturday was measurement day and, thanks to a measurement team, assisted by club members, ran as smooth as a Mercedes tyre change. In fact, almost a third of the fleet, many club boats amongst them went through the procedure on Friday so the mood in the dinghy park was relaxed.
PRO Paul Carpenter, our race officer in 2013 assembled the competitors for an 11.30 briefing, reminding them to tally and that on water judging would be in operation. With factor 50 applied, 100 if your ginger and laden with refreshments, the fleet set out at 12.45 into a building southerly breeze. A nice Hayling Bay chop and 30 degrees, what’s not to like. With personal flotation device tied in a seamanlike manner to my kitbag my rib powered out through the sizeable chop, details of my forthcoming lower back operation obviously falling silent to my driver.
There was some drama which is good for me as I feel obliged to entertain you with something other than the tedium of the bare facts. Firstly Stuart Godwin, H.I.S.C. member and winner of three races at the 2013 event was in trouble at the pin end with 10 minutes to go. A broken outhaul and no spare string aboard. With buoyancy aid freed from my kitbag, my 4mm dyneema was finally given a job suited to its breaking strain. Stuart even managed to catch his rudder as it came free and floated off toward the shore. We then witnessed the pin end boat wrap the pin end around it’s propeller much to the distain of the officials on the committee boat.
With a line approximately 500 metres long and a tiny starboard line bias, the fleet were slightly early resulting in a recall under the U flag. The second attempt was successful under the black flag with one casualty. The 0.75 mile beat saw a split with the majority of the fleet choosing the right quadrant of the course. To be honest, from my position on the Jury/media rib it was nigh on impossible to identify who went where but I believe that Charlie Cumbley (North P2/Winder), defending National Champion and winner here in 2013 started a third of the way down the line and played the right. This information is useless to the average reader but some competitors may well base their weeks tactics on this one nugget.
Oliver Davenport rounded second with Richard Lovering third. Close on their transoms were Tim Law and Ellie Cumpsty who is clearly an accomplished sailor and not at all intimidated by the boys. Gareth Henshall and Robert Bellfield were next around and these newcomers deserve a mention for their efforts.
The breeze had built to a fabulous force 3 and the fleet blasted around the sausage, triangle course, champagne sailing at it’s very best. Cumbley would hold for a comfortable win and setting a marker for his rivals but Davenport was greeted by silence, BFD so Lovering was promoted to second with Law third, Cumpsty and Pete Mitchell completing the top five.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and Davenport took it on the chin, sure to come back swinging.
With the PRO keen to get back to the bar there was no hanging around and we were straight into race 2 which was a carbon copy of Race 1, recall and one BFD on the second successful attempt. I feel slightly guilty as, at the earlier briefing I had welcomed our only overseas competitor, Hans Duetz from the Netherlands, reminding him he had the weight of a nation on his shoulders. Maybe no surprise then that he was too punchy and BFD!
This time it was Davenport who would be looking to claim the President’s ‘First to the Mark’ beer voucher with Cumbley second and Micheal Hicks third. Cumpsty, which is such an unusual name that my spell correct wants to keep calling her crumpets was fourth from Pete Mitchell who is looking leaner than the pork chops they serve in the club restaurant.
The PRO had extended the length of beat to 0.9 and it was certainly testing the fleets supreme fitness levels. Cumbley and ‘Crumpets’ had moved into first and second but up the second beat Davenport was back up to second with Mitchell, Hicks and Henshall in close pursuit. I believe Cumpsty capsized up the beat but Tim Law reported that he had never seen someone right the Solo so quickly.
At the gun it was Cumbley from a fast finishing Mitchell with Davenport, Hicks and Henshall filling the top five places. Cumpsty’s seventh would see her fourth overall overnight with Law two points ahead of her in third. Pete Mitchell and all have much to do to stop the Cumbley train who continues to dominate.
So, with the fleet home and refreshed it was time for the Early Bird Raceday Draw and Magic Marine, our title sponsor provided us with a fantastic array of top quality sailing gear. In this draw you have to be there to win or the name is re-drawn. It was then, somewhat ironic that for the top prize, Magic Marine Hikers, club Commodore Nick Peter’s name was called out but met with silence! Therefore Jarvis Simpson was a very welcome winner and I look forward to interviewing him this week, with a forecast of more sea breezes, hikers are a must. Other winners included Mark Lee, Bill Hutchings, Patrick Hamilton, James Boyce and Neil Davison. A huge thank you to Magic Marine for your continued support of the National Solo Class.
Tomorrow will be the start of the Allen improver of the day award and also Hyde Sails will be giving away some awesome kitbags and a big discount on a new Hyde mainsail.
The leading three will be in the Magic Marine rash vests as will Graham Cranford Smith who leads the Plate Series.
Thanks to Noble Marine and Magic Marine who are our Insurance and Clothing partners, we are stronger with the support you give us.