Solo News 6 Nov 2011

What a great day on Sunday. Perhaps we should start after 11 every week if that’s what get you to the line... really good to see everyone honouring the two minutes silence. Thirteen Solos on the start and even more in the laser and Handicap starts. I made it 45 boats racing in the club section plus another 20 or so Toppers in their squad training.  If we could do that every week we’d have some great racing hopefully we can get double figures whenever the weather is kind enough for the senior fleet. The forecast look fair with again with light winds - so should suit everyone (hopefully only light not non-existent).

 

With the topper squad training using the East of the water we had a slightly squashed course with a very short beat from 8 to X, a tight reach from x to 1, short run down to 9 long reach to 6, another sort almost run to 7 and close reach back to 8. A very reaching downwind orientated course compared to our usual longer beats and runs. I suspect that affected the results a bit. The start felt unusually crowded, but being port end biased the fleet did stretch out. It looked as if Frank was going for a port end flyer as he was circling close to the pin. I positioned myself coming down the line below the rest of the fleet hedging my bets slightly. I reckoned it was definitely port end but I didn’t want risk a massive separation from the fleet by going right for the pin. I was happy to just be the leeward-most of the main fleet.  Frank looked a bit late as he didn’t hit the pin on the gun and I was able to cross him. Paul correctly heard the second hoot and dipped back under the line costing him very little but allowing the bias to show so I was able to pull through and tack to clear him. I thought that while I could cross the fleet I would take the chance rather than getting too far one side. When I looked up the beat though I could see the lasers were all being lifted in a curve on port – it looked as if there was simply a bend in the wind so it would pay to tack back onto starboard and head for the inside of the curve. I was just able to cross Paul again and established myself on the left side of the fleet. The bend seemed to remain so that once I had tacked back onto port I was lowly lifted up to X. I didn’t want to get too far left as that would mean coming into the mark on port – not a great problem within the solo fleet as I was clear ahead, but with a close reach next I would have been coming in to X in wind affected by the lasers on the close reach. With that many boats on the water you had to start looking for clear air and planning your lanes to avoid wind shadows. Looking back I could see many close battles and I think there was quite a lot of place changing – I had my hands full staying clear of Paul because he is very fast on the reaches.  After a couple of laps we had caught the back of the laser fleet and so not only did I have to watch Paul but also try to get past supposedly faster boats without being slowed down. That made the reaches difficult – seemed to be able to pass the slower laser upwind or on the runs but they were still faster on the reaches.  Generally my tactics were to see if the laser was going to be faster than me – if so let him through quickly without being slowed down much and then try to use his stern wave for a tow. Talking to Paul after the race he said that he was doing the same – often able to latch onto a laser downwind to try and catch me. It is surprising how much you can gain from that.

 

Results

1. 5215 Gareth

2. 5241 Paul

3. 4647 Mike L

4. 4753 Tony

5. 4071 Peter H

6. 3457 Mervyn

7. 4073 Peter C

8. 3365 Frank

9. 2042 Chris

10. 4252 Roy

11. 3142 Peter R

12. 3861 Dave C

13. 3325 (DNF) Lorraine

 

 

In the B2B we had very crowded starts where finding a clear lane up the first beat with ‘faster’ boats messing up the wind was quite difficult.  Although I felt I was going quite well I think the conditions didn’t suit the Solo with still quite short beat and run with long reaches. Good turnout with Gareth, Tony, Paul, Chris and Peter H all sailing the first B2B with the(Solo) results Gareth (8), Tony (11), Paul (14), Chris (17) and Peter H (21), and in the second B2B Gareth (8), Paul (12), Chris (17), Pater (DNF).  Sometimes the conditions favour us, sometimes they don’t – that’s handicap racing! With the bigger fleets we are getting it will be interesting to see how the handicaps work out. As usual seconds really count – if I had been 8 seconds faster I could have been 4th not 8th.  I can think of lots of places I could have gained a few seconds – in fact I probably lost more than eight seconds with a rather moderate start and first part of the first leg. The times on handicap are very close. One minute corrected time from 1st to 8th in the second B2B.

 

I’m on duty Sunday – see you there

 

Gareth

4215