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2017 Solo Open Review

John Reed  |  30-May-2017

Bough Beech Sailing Club in the heart of the stunning Kent countryside hosted a solo spring open on the 27th May. The open was quite an event with a morning of strong winds, force 5 and champagne sailing conditions in the afternoon as the wind abated a bit. The Club welcomed 25 entries with nine visitors and we had expert race officers in the form of John Clementson and Guy Marks. Two races back to back in the morning and the afternoon were planned, and our race officers kept the meeting sharp and timely with very little waiting between races.


A 'P' course was set using the length of the reservoir, and in the first race, the fleet got away first time. Mark Stone and Richard Southern showed their tactical knowledge and rounded the windward mark first and second followed by the pack, with the shifting wind it was the shifts that made the most difference. Elliot Marks normally to be found in a Laser but in a borrowed boat for the day was going well until a swim at the leeward mark put paid to his race. Indeed quite a few found the conditions difficult and called it a day after the first race. In the end the pattern was being set for the meeting overall, with Steve Ede 2nd and Tim Lewis 1st. However the Bough Beech contingent were on the pace with John Reed 3rd, Nick Marden 5th, Mark Stones 7th and Richard Southern 8th.


A depleted fleet stayed afloat for the second with 18 boats still on the water and battle ensured. Once again Mark Stones was fastest off the blocks rounding first, again with Richard Southern close behind. It was getting pretty windy by now, the decision was whether to gybe at the bottom mark or tack around. Plenty tacked around but those that did not risked swimming and some did. Three of our nine visitors Steve Ede, Tim Lewis and Jarvis Simpson were to count 1,2,3 but again the Bough Beech contingent were very close, John Reed 4th, Jon Hill 5th, Richard Southern 6th.


Everyone re energised at lunch and were out again for the slightly more moderate conditions, actually champagne sailing. Again it was reading the shifts and getting a good start. Interestingly the  race office commented  afterwards that the mid line sag was noticeable, although it did not feel like that on the line! The best at reading the shifts was Tim Lewis, however the Bough Beech contingent stuck together like a club race and Nick Marden was top Bough Beecher in 5th, with Tim Lewis, Jarvis Simpson and Andrew Boyce filling the other top postions.


The final race was once again a speedy affair, and probably most noted for the inward small cheer that went up when the race officer shortened, not because the racing was not good, it was, but exhaustion was starting to play a part after nearly 4 hours of hard hiking and planning conditions. In fact although Steve Ede had got away the the rest of the fleet were very tightly bunched, with a small distance between first and last, and Andrew Boyce leaping upto third in the last 100 yards having gone the furthest right after the leeward mark.

Congratulations to the winners, Steve Ede (overall), Tim Lewis (First Master), and Nick Marden (First Grand Master)


Solo Open Results


All in all a great days racing, marked out by how close it was, a fact noted by the race officer. After an hours racing the fleet was often only separated by yards at the finish.


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