Solos Have a Blast at Sutton Bingham
Three visitors joined the home boats for the Sutton Bingham Solo Western Series event on Saturday 10 June. On arrival at the reservoir the wind was blowing a nice 15mph from the SSW with occasional gusts... but this was just the prelude as the wind continued to build throughout the day taking its toll on all the sailors. The event was held jointly with the RS Aero Class.
Having seen the Aeros crammed down at the pin end five minutes earlier for their start, Vernon Perkins from South Cerney SC decided to try a port tack flyer from the same place for Race 1. It paid off. He crossed everyone and was looking good all the way up the first beat until Richard Frost just managed to slip inside at the windward mark. After three laps of knife-edge runs and gybes, full on shifty beats and a sprinkling of capsizes, it was Frost first at the finish. Andrew Thompson from Bristol Corinthian YC picked his way through the carnage to take second and Perkins rounded off the top three.
After lunch, for races two and three, Race Officer, Jo Mahy introduced a few more gybe marks into the leeward legs to spice things up for the spectators and give some short speedy reaches for the sailors. This worked a treat.
Race 2 saw John Steels from Starcross YC put huge pressure on local Sailor Frost all the way, until rather surprisingly, a gust on the penultimate lap tripped Steels up during a tack resulting in a swim. He recovered to finish second, with Frost first and Thompson third. Perkins, who had executed a couple of hull inspections during the race, decided enough was enough and headed for the clubhouse...and “then there were three!”
Race 3 saw Thompson pick out a great couple shifts just after the start to take the lead up the first beat. Frost & Steels, however, slipped by blasting down the slalom reaches and runs. Despite having a slightly shorter course, with the wind still building, the RO rightly surmised that the sailors were all but spent and shortened the last race to 35 minutes. Frost took first, Steels second and Thompson third, which in the end were also the same podium positions for the overall event.
Competitors thanked Sutton Bingham for well organised event and a thoroughly enjoyable and exhilarating days sailing.