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Solo News 15 Nov 2009


    What a gorgeous sailing day - and what a contrast to Saturday!
    First week of our mini-series saw the best turnout for a long time. (and that's without several regulars). If you weren't there you missed a quite warm and very sunny autumn day with a sunny force three. 15 boats out for the first race - we could still do with a few more of the new members keeping Peter Renn company but it was good to see Martin Mitchell back with us finishing a very respectable mid fleet and Glen Cole taking a turn in another club boat.
    I think the mini-series is going to give some great racing all through the fleet. Put a note in your diaries for 20 Dec. Plenty of time to practice before then of course. As they keep saying on "Strictly" we'll expect this standard every week now...
    Rob Wilder (Tamesis) joined us and he assures us Joe Macaughlin (not sure about that spelling) will be down next month as well. Hopefully word will spread that this is a great little series.
    Results for the class race are on the web site. For the mini-series Rob is in the lead with two firsts and a second with Gareth just behind two seconds and a first followed by Malcolm with three thirds. Rob and I are having to look over our shoulder at Malcolm who is revelling in his new boat. In the second back to back he was first at the windward mark. We'll all have to up our game a bit if he gets much quicker!
    I'm not sure what was happening mid-fleet but up at the sharp end it was very hard to overtake - bit like formula 1 - possible to catch up but very hard to get past. Rob Wilder made the best start, Gareth chased hard for the first couple of laps but towards the end had to work to stay clear of Malcolm. Much the same in first the Back to Back race Rob just crossed everyone off the start and never looked back. It’s a lot easier to stay ahead than it is to get ahead. The second back to back was much closer with Rob, Gareth and Malcolm all coming off the line going well. Up the first beat Rob went further right while Gareth and Malcolm went left which paid handsomely at the end with Malcolm squeezing ahead of Gareth who had water over Rob. 1,2,3 within two lengths of each other at the end of the beat. The order stayed the same down the reach but then on the run Malcolm got squeezed by Gareth blanketing him and going to windward while Rob dived to leeward looking to get inside at X. Gareth just managed to get clear ahead to call no water with Rob having water of Malcolm. Again three boats abreast for most of the run. The second beat was a tactical battle with Rob ducking and diving as Gareth covered but tried to keep half an eye on Malcolm. Very tense but the order stayed the same. On the final run Gareth pulled away but no changes behind.
    I think starting the B2B first was good, the RS's were just catching us at the end but in both races the first Solo was not caught so generally we kept the clear air and were able to concentrate more on our class battle.
    Nationally the class continues to go from strength to strength. More new Solos built last year than almost any other class. See the latest Yachts and Yachting review of classes – the Solo is amongst the fastest growing. Of course we don’t need to know that – we already know what a great boat the Solo is!
    Training thoughts for this week...
    Take the time to get on the water at least 10 minutes before the start so you can assess the line and watch for wind shifts. How can you know if you are starting on a heading shift or a freeing shift if you haven’t been checking the wind before the start? Also take the time to do a couple of short betas so you know how much control line tension is needed. The race starts well before the start – you have to hit the line with the boat correctly set up, with full speed on and knowing which way you plan to go. You can’t do that if you leave the jetty with only a couple of minutes to go.