SOLING UK NATIONALS 7-9 July 2017
Rutland Sailing Club (RSC)
Sailed: 8, Discards: 1, To Count: 7, Entries: 7, Scoring System: Appendix A
|Rank||Sail No.||Helm||Crew Names||Club||R1||R2||R3||R4||R5||R6||R7||R8||∑||NET|
Report – 2017 Soling UK National Championship by Gary Richardson
The British Soling Championships kicked off on Friday 8th July with 7 Solings on the start line. This event turned out to be an ‘International Affair’ with representatives from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Germany, Argentina, France, Australia and the United States all taking part! There was also a fairly large number of youth sailors mixed in with the ‘experienced’ sailors that have been around for a little longer than the Soling yacht itself, that as most will know, has now been around for more than 50 years!
Friday saw winds out of the WNW direction at around 5 to 10 knots oscillating up to 20 degrees. A course was set in a sausage/triangle/sausage format and a start line that was remarkably square to the median wind direction, making it pretty difficult to figure out the line bias at the ‘gun’! First out of the gate on race 1 was GBR155 (Gary Richardson, Karl Sloane and Stewart Lee) and never lost the lead through to the finish. USA853 (Matias Collins, Estanislao Bosch and Francois Gombeaud) was second after making their way past GBR47 (Rob Morris, Dominic Burk and Titus Treneman), GBR161 (Hamish Loudon, Robert Mountain and John Dinnie) and GBR144 (Matthias Noebels, Andy Ritchies and David Guite) who were 3rd, 4th and 5th respectfully. GBR129 (Joe Ironside, Harry Gilchrist and Paul Tully) and GBR127 (Steffi Brown, Joe Briars and Gareth Larkin) both crewed by young local (and very keen!) sailors brought up the rear by some margin.
The boats then came in for lunch, which was quite alien for some of the non-British participants, who had to have it explained that the British were very partial to a cup of tea in the early afternoon. This gave an opportunity early on for some handy hints to be passed on to the local boats by the more experienced Soling sailors, making a big difference to them for races 2 and 3 and an even bigger difference to them in the subsequent races on Saturday and Sunday, as more tips and tricks (and a bit of gear) were passed on. Lovely to see this attitude from all of the more experienced Soling sailors!
Races 2 and 3 on Friday were in very similar conditions to race 1 with the results very similar too. GBR155 winning all three races on Friday with USA853 in close attendance.
Saturday’s races were a little more of a ‘mixed bag’ with only 2 out of the 7 boats not getting disqualified from a race for not sailing the proper course! The conditions were a couple of knots breezier than the previous day and the first course, sausage/triangle/sausage, was set. USA853 got a great start and built a good lead on the first beat and subsequent run, unfortunately they omitted to go through the start finish ‘gate’ on the 2nd windward leg per the sailing instructions, and were disqualified, leaving GBR155 with a gift of a 1st place closely followed by GBR47 and GBR161.
The ‘favour’ was returned on the second race though! After a ‘tangle’ on the start line, USA853 found themselves well down the pack and contemplating a hard race attempting to regain places! But the ‘pegging was levelled’ when 4 of the 7 boats omitting to go around the windward spreader mark that was prescribed for the windward/leeward course that the race officer had set. 3 of the boat crews admitted to forgetting about the requirement to go around the spreader mark and the crew on GBR155 admitted to not realising that the course had been changed to windward/leeward! One can draw one’s own conclusion as to which was the bigger mistake but the end result was the same, GBR161, USA853 and GBR127 registered the 1, 2, 3 in that order.
Saturday’s 3rd race was won quite emphatically by the international crew on USA853 with GBR155 second and the young crew from Southampton on GBR47 coming in third.
The fourth race was once again being dominated by USA853 until the second run when GBR155 managed to close in and pass them with a tight gybing duel as they approached the leeward mark. The favour was, once again, returned by USA853 as the boats approached the leeward mark for the third and final time. A gybing duel ensued and USA853 this time came from behind to become the victor and managing to hang on to the lead across the line after the subsequent tacking duel on the short beat to the finish. This race was applauded by both the officials on the committee boat and the spectators ashore! GBR144 managed a steadily improving and creditable 3rd.
The morning of the final day arrived with very little wind and the race officer (who had done a fine job throughout the event) managed the expectations of the fleet by explaining that we may not get enough breeze to complete either of the 2 scheduled races, but that we should go out on the course and hope for the best. After about an hour of postponements due to lack of wind and up to 180 degree shifts, the wind did fill in at around 6 knots and steadied enough to lay a course and get a race underway. GBR155 once again ‘got out of the blocks’ expediently and managed to build a big lead on the first beat. They held the lead for the subsequent run and second beat only to have their sizable lead cut to about a boat length on the second (and final) run as the wind died and the rest of the fleet brought new wind down the course, but they managed to hold on for the race and the series win.