The 2016 Solo Open Meeting was sailed in a considerable variety of weather, mostly windy (around 15kts), sometimes sunny, sometimes intensely rainy and with one or two rumbles of thunder and flashes of lightning... thankfully over Esher to the south. With such a variety of weather passing over its no surprise that the wind was distinctly shifty and consistency was hard to sustain for most competitors. Indeed... with different race winners in all 4 races it's fair to say that most sailors had at least 1 race where things didn't go quite to plan and the race officer had a few anxious moments as square lines and beats became distinctly biased for periods of time. But in general going right and taking shifts to get back to the centre seemed to pay on most beats.
20 boats had entered but with the breezy conditions some didn't make it off the pontoon for the first start. Three boats pushed the start line early and none returned but after that all starts were cleanly executed. Local sailor Mike Dray took the line honours in the first race but took an arbitration penalty following a rather too close tack to another boat at the top mark. The first race also resulted in some loud shouting at the first leeward mark as one boat really pushed their luck on a late overlap and found itself crowded out and unable to round. Shortly afterwards the culprit was seen retuning to shore never to reappear. A strong case of wounded pride maybe?
Highlight of the second race was an almighty squall with the aforementioned thunder and lightning skirting the reservoir. In the consequent lull and strong left hand shift, eventual overall winner Jarvis Simpson was able to round the last leeward mark and pretty much lay the top mark on port.
Post lunch the wind was a tad lighter and the back had stuck, necessitating a rotation of the sausage triangle course. The racing proceeded with two new winners in Vince Horey and Ian MacGregor. Vince lost his chance to win the meeting in the last race with a spectacular wipeout in a big gust right on the leeward mark when well positioned and it was the consistency of Jarvis that won the day.
Here is a flickr album containing all the photos from the day. You may take copies for private personal use, and for use on official Class Association publicity material and websites, but all other rights are reserved. Photos © Jim Champ