Credit to Ian Ingram for writing the review and Steve Blake for the on the water pictures.
Carsington Water was the latest venue for the Solo Midlands Area Series. This open was a joint event with the Northern Series so the cream of both series came to compete Sims, Brown, Honnor& Davenport to name a few.
With a strong wind forecast competitors arrived to a good Force4, with the occasional stronger gust.
The race officer for the day explained how he'd heard of the enthusiasm Solos have on start lines, so would be using the U flag from the off.
Not wishing to disappoint the start of the first race was a general recall, resulting in black flags for the rest of the day.
Now one issue with Kevin asking me to write the report is I'm short sighted. However he'd offered reassurance of writing the report from my perspective.
Being from a small lake the long beat and strong winds were not to my advantage so I found myself in the lower half of the fleet. The beauty of racing in the Solo fleet is you will always have competitive racing whichever end of the fleet your at.
Although Carsington is a large lake it is surrounded by hills and the windward mark had been placed under the dam, this resulted in wind bends and shifts.
The first leg showed some local knowledge helped so I kept an eye on them for the next beat only to lose out!! Jon Woodward though had a flyer and was all of a sudden at the front, which seemed to coincide with the shouting levels. Sadly I couldn't see what it was all about! I meanwhile had got in sight of Chris Brown and Jonny Coate, only to be overtaken by 3 boats on the last reach! Oli Davenport won the race, youth, fitness, skill and long legs no doubt helping!
Race 2 started with the black flag from the off, all Solo's behaving so we were clean away. The wind if anything had increased slightly so my lack of youth, fitness, and long legs were not helping! I was however enjoying my battle with Andrew Carter and his identifying orange buoyancy aid and Stuart Norris. It seemed if you went left too early it didn't pay and the right side also could catch you out as it was shifty. The courses of triangle sausage gave opportunities for overtaking so again some good battles were had. Kev Hall is one of my normal opponents and I was pleased in these windy conditions he was behind although on the last lap I couldn't see him and feared he'd had a flyer and was now near the front, dammed eyesight! I later found out he'd retired as today was not his day! Oli won this race so secured the event after two races. Second place however was up for grabs between Honnor, Sims and Alcock.
The third race started with a decrease in wind strength which was good news for my legs. Three races back to back in these conditions is a bit of a struggle. But the drop in wind meant I was nearer the front and racing with Ben Harden in the new demo boat and Jamie Morgan. Martin Honnor clearly also enjoyed the lighter conditions and sprinted away from the start leading through to the finish. I started to get into the rhythm of shifts up the beat and managed to keep in the top 10 despite the wind increasing again.
Overall race results showed Oli Davenport winning, Martin secured second place by winning the last race with Michael Sims taking third spot.
Some competitive racing throughout the fleet meant for a really enjoyable days sailing.
Thanks Ian for the report and thanks to the sponsor Allen and specifically the head of marketing Ben Harden who attended the event and sailed the demo boat.
Ben was also kind enough to support John Webster in handing out the Allen vouchers at the prize giving. He must have enjoyed his first foray in the Solo, from usually sailing a Blaze, as there was talk of joining another event if he has time and the demo boat is available.
See you at the next one!