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Solo News 18 October


    Our intrepid reporter and barman (who might have had the best position on Sunday) reports the Results as follows
    4647   Mike Lipscombe
    3365   Frank Beanland
    4859   Gareth Griffiths
    4173   Dave Lawton
    4073   Peter Cottrell
    3457   Mervyn Cinnamond
    3649   Robin Pryke
    A turnout of 7 is not bad on a day which was forecast to be void of wind, dull and decidedly chilly.  It didn't disappoint. There was of course an additional urge to get out on the water as this was the last race of the Summer Series and points are needed for that final push in the ranking table.
    Watching from the clubhouse whilst sipping hot tea I considered myself to be in the best place to witness the forthcoming duels. Well from my vantage point it looked doubly dull with not much happening at all.   However news from the front indicated that the final leg was graced by a zephyr of wind which resulted in place changes.  Mike romped home in the lead from a despairing Gareth. Even Frank got past by the width of his forestay.
    Well done all for sticking it out.
    Well I can’t leave it without some comment… First reaction “I wuz robbed”  – leading till the last ten yards then swallowed by the pack who came up with a wind I never got… but I think I have some lessons to learn. I had sailed a good first beat keeping with the shifts in a very light and variable breeze to overtake the handicap fleet and lead at the ?windward? mark. I was able to keep ahead on the second (also windward) leg to start the downwind legs of what was a roughly square course.  From six to three was mostly a reach – with a lot of concentration on the changing zephyrs I stayed ahead of the laser and pulled out a reasonable lead on the pack – the other solos were working their way through the lasers and handicap - great sailing guys – then we started what was basically a run from 3 to 2. I had the leading laser in close company – obviously he didn’t matter as far as handicap went because I had gained two minutes on him and he should be faster, but he was in the way and I started effectively racing him and not paying enough attention to the fleet. I looked back several times as we crept towards mark 2 but I didn’t pay enough attention to what was happening behind me. I had seen that they were starting to close and I expected that either I would get to mark two or the wind would reach me and I would accelerate again.
    I underestimated how much faster one boat can go than another in very light conditions – I have written it here, but I still kept thinking I’ve only got about twenty yards to go I’ll be OK. Even then I concentrated on the boat nearest to me (Dave Lawton) who was threatening to creep right past to leeward of me and I didn’t notice Mike (and Frank) coming well to windward until far too late. Could I have done anything to prevent it – I have to say maybe – I’m not certain because the wind was so different – I was still seeing a zephyr on a dead run alternating gybes when the fleet came up on a reach that became quite shy. It’s possible that I was just stuck in a hole in the wind so no possibility to manoeuvre but I think I should have done more.
    What I think (in 20:20 hindsight) I should have been doing was paying a lot more attention to the fleet and less to the laser close to me and less to the finish. How many times have I written that other boats are great wind indicators… Maybe if I had positioned out to the side Mike was coming from I might have been able to catch the wind he had before he sailed right past, but sometimes in very light winds it just takes time to build up momentum and someone can sail right past. I’d love to hear Mike, Frank or Dave’s view.
    So, well sailed Mike and Frank – great way to get ready for what I think should be a great winter series – we have several winter members and our new home-grown Solo sailors, and Malcolm should have his new boat ready for the winter 5071 – the numbers are certainly going up quickly.
    I’m working on the overall results for the late summer series – it’s very close between Mervyn and Peter for 2nd and 3rd – I’ll have to make sure that my worksheet tallies with Eddies because we’re down to no more than one point either way.
    Next Sunday is the working party, then we’re into the winter season. If anyone is planning to not sail the winter can they let me (or Mervyn or Eddie know) so we can make sure that the berths near our pontoon are available for people who will be sailing. Ideally we’ll make some spaces at the working party for our newer and winter members.  I’ll stay down the bottom as now so I can help winter members who prefer to bring their boats down each week.

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