Rooster Solo Nationals Day 3

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

I arrived at the sailing club promptly at 9.30am and made my way down to the water's edge and along the short cobbled walkway to the water taxi. By the time I reached my destination I had successfully removed the last semblances of a sausage from between my discoloured teeth. I gave on-the-water judge Steve Watson a confident smile of acknowledgement and wondered if he too had faced a similar problem with his breakfast.

We transferred from taxi to support RIB with the grace only two overweight old men can do and applauded our achievement with an understated nod to each other. Once we had regained our breath we headed out to the race arena, albeit only after a lengthy delay as we waited impatiently for yet another RIB transfer. One begins to wonder if they are trying to loose us over the side.

The forecast was a beautiful sight for the competitors, 15-20 mph from 095-110 and sunshine all day. In truth we probably had 15 knots at its strongest but between races 6-7 it dropped to 7 knots

Race 5 was away at the prescribed time of 11am with Tom Gillard as Pathfinder, a rather ironic twist given the fact that yesterday everybody followed him and was disqualified. I wondered if the 97 other competitors wished him well as he headed out right. The sea state was lovely and bumpy allowing all the fleet to power up and punch through, round and over the chop towards the bright orange windward mark.

At the top it was Paul Ellis who had been first out of the gate from fellow Salcombe cohort Iain Magregor with Andy Davis and Michael Hicks (Salcombe) close behind. Dave Lucas from Grafham was upholding the pond sailors honour with yet another Salcombe boy, Tim Law, in sixth.

PRO Peter Jelliss had signalled a sausage/triangle/sausage course and fortunately the fleet had cared to actually read the instructions this time. I dwelled for a moment, contemplating tomorrow's fry up and the accompanying sausages.

Ellis continued to lead but had Davis all over him like a rash vest. The beats were long and hard but Paul Ellis held his nerve and the lead to claim the bullet from Davis.

At this point I am unsure of the finishing order as I understand that a number of competitors had misread the SIs and rounded the starboard mark before finishing. I did see Olli Davenport correct himself, losing a hatful of places which would sting. I will verify all finishing positions once the results are in.

Race 6 continued in a similar vain, Ellis getting out early along with half of Salcombe, the other half always go the opposite way to Iain Magregor but this time they would be wrong.

The sausage/triangle course was arduous for the competitors but the athletes amongst them were revelling in the conditions and it was Olli Davenport who took the win despite some strong moves from Tom Gillard and Paul Ellis.

At this point my reporting, which is usually as accurate as an Omega is beginning to let me down. I use my video/audio at each mark rounding to corroborate my memories of the day but my camera decided to shoot all the video in slow motion which rendered the audio useless. My back up is the results table and that is still in the ether, possibly subject to a protest hearing regarding race 3.

With that in the upper part of my mind, and relying on a fading memory, dodgy eyesight and a big dollop of artistic license...

Race 6 was won by Davenport with Gillard and one other Salcombe sailor completing the podium, Tim Law.

Race 7 started after a lengthy delay - the PRO, maybe feeling under scrutiny from 98 sailors, was keen to ensure a fair beat. With Solos pointing above the windward mark he had no choice but to AP the start sequence.

One hour later and we finally got a start with the Pathfinder releasing what remained of the fleet. I was relieved as my supply of crisps had been devoured much earlier. The jury on the other hand, realising he had left his lunch at home, was still busy trying to find something edible in the bottom of his kit bag.

I looked out to sea, licking the final residue of prawn cocktail from my weathered lips. Davis led from the start, popping out of the gate maybe 30 seconds in and finding the correct path into the mark. Ellis, who is surprisingly leftist for a Salcombe sailor, was on his tail and these too were never headed.

I will now await the correct information before putting my reputation at risk as a reporter, I would hate to heap credit on a sailor who maybe has not done as well as I thought. I will say that Davis will be satisfied with his day's work, Ellis likewise and Davenport will feel some sort of redemption for his win.

The fleet are out somewhere tonight while I languish in my lavish apartment just outside the back end of Penzance.

Today's race day sponsors are Super Spars and Fernhurst Books so some lucky winners will be taking home some new spars and others, reading material. I would suggest sticking some SIs in there too.



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