Solo sailors are anything but lonely at Chichester

Solos enjoy the fresh conditions at Chichester YC / Picture by Mark Green
Solos enjoy the fresh conditions at Chichester YC / Picture by Mark Green

A TOTAL of 24 boats were at the start in blustery conditions for Chichester Yacht Club’s Solo open, leading to some sparkling sailing.

Packing three races into a smallish late-afternoon tide race officer Gideon Ewers elected to send the fleet on a triangle sausage course.

In race one Stokes Bay’s Steve Cockrill opened a commanding lead over James Ross from Hamble.

The wing mark gybe claimed some early fallers but it was nothing compared with the carnage at the leeward mark, which led to multiple capsizes, collisions and gear failures – Mark Harper’s boom having decided it had enough and folded in two.

By the start of the second race, the fleet had been reduced to 18 and in a repeat of the opener Cockrill established an early dominance of the fleet progressively extending his lead over Ross and the remainder of the fleet as the race developed finishing in that order with Nick Bonner from Netley taking third.

In race three fatigue began to take its toll with a further six boats electing to head for the beach.

Once the handicapper had done his work the race was a 2000 sweep with Pete and Suzy Harrison taking the spoils.

This time Ross made the right call up the first beat, claiming the top spot at the windward mark and retaining it until halfway up the second beat when a boat-handling blunder allowed Cockrill through to claim his third first of the day.

Bonner took second and Iain McGregor from Salcombe third.

Final rankings: 1 Steve Cockrill, Stokes Bay; 2 James Ross, Hamble River; 3 Nick Bonner, Netley.

Conditions were a good deal quieter for Sunday’s continuation of the Lady Todd series, which kept race officer Andy Conway on his toes.

Series race three, the opening one of the day, for the modern/fast fleet saw Gideon Ewers elect to sail his RS400 singlehanded. He sailed clear of the fleet by the third leg electing to keep the kite in the chute and maintain the on-the-water lead.

But once the handicapper had done his work the race was a 2000 sweep with Pete and Suzy Harrison taking the spoils over Helen and Mark Green with Chris Hodge and Louise Varley in third.

In the classic/medium fleet, Lucy Boreham in her Europe refreshed after grafting away on ARO duty the day before claimed first over Nick and Biddy Colbourne’s GP14 with Ras Turner in his Solo Rascal taking third.

In race four Phil Allen took to the water in his AC before blazing round the course in under 46 minutes – six minutes clear of the next boat.

Ewers, now equipped with a crew, were well clear of the next boat, Hodge and Varley in their 2000 who nabbed second on corrected time over the Harrisons with Allen saving time to claim first.

In the classic/mediums, Porter again showed the fleet the way home and a clean pair of heels – although he was relegated to second on corrected time behind the Colbournes with Turner once again taking third.

A further shortened course for the final race of the day saw Ian Payne lead the classic mediums home, though Roger Millett took the chocs on corrected time in his Solo with Dave Hope securing third.

In the modern/fast fleet, Ewers and Olliff showed the fleet the way home covering the two laps in in a shade under 26 minutes. The Harrisons took first on corrected time with Thompson taking third.

DELL QUAY

The final two races of the Dell Quay Early Helm series saw John Purdy (Solo) clear favourite to win the series but with a serious challenge from Peter King and Jamie Prescott (RS400).

With the wind picking up, a new battle emerged between seasoned competitors Malcolm Buchanan and Roger Puttock in their Solos, led by Rob Corfield and Chris Campbell in their RS400.

With the rest of the fleet tightly bunched as they approached the windward mark the race was still very much open. Roger Francis and Ranjit Verghese (Buzz) crept up on the leaders but following the rounding of Copperas East they had the first of several capsizes which put an end to their challenge.

The clear leaders were spreading out as the race continued with Buchanan winning the first battle against Puttock to win the race on handicap leaving Puttock second and Purdy third. 

The second race was very similar with Corfield and Campbell taking line honours again. However Puttock won the battle of the Solos to take first place on handicap followed by Buchanan second and Purdy third again.

Purdy wins the Early Helm series overall with a best aggregate score from two first-place wins and three third places, putting him clear of Andrew Buchanan who takes second place, followed by Roger Francis and Ranjit Verghese in third place.

A boisterous group of youngsters tested the patience of their coach and race officer Richard Ede in the first DQSC junior race of the 2015 season. However, they settled down to some good racing with the sunny weather providing a manageable wind to test their skills.

Well done to Max Sydenham for attending his first junior event in an Optimist.

Final results: 1 Olivia Moranne (Topper), 2 Lizzie Kies (Pico), 3 Phoebe Pontet (Topper).

BOGNOR

Bognor YC welcomed all-comers to make the most of their new ramp and to try sailing for free at their RYA Push The Boat Out open day.

The new launching facilities are already paying dividends with the club already working on a number of new community initiatives including offering free sailing and club membership opportunities to vulnerable local families through Arun District Council’s Think Family programme, and partnering with Bognor Sea Scouts.

For more information on how you can get involved at Bognor Regis YC this year visit www.brsailingclub.com or for more information on RYA Push The Boat Out see www.rya.org.uk/go/ptbo

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