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Midland Area Championship sponsored by Allen

The setting this year was Carsington Water in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside. My weekend started on Friday morning for a training session which was sponsored by the NSCA with trainer Ollie Davenport.

6 Solos took part, which is a nice number for the trainer as Ollie got to spend quality time which each of the sailors, and we all got huge amounts from one of the inform Solo sailors this year. Not everyone would be good in this role but time was taken, around his new Winder 1, to explain sail settings and to answer any number of questions about boat set up. Once on the water Ollie has a way of first deciphering what he sees could be improved and then taking the time to come alongside in the rib and explain what he has seen. With his calm and gentle demeanour, he outlines what he thinks you may want to try, giving pointers for improvement without criticism.

As with all of the training sessions I’ve attended, which the NSCA provides for its members, we all got a lot out of the day and came off the water eager for the final debrief and to watch the videos taken of the day. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn from the experts if anyone is in two minds about attending training. I have also helped out on training days driving the rib and can say I get as much out of that as taking part.

With a few staying over for the next two days of sailing we were looking for some comfort food and a top up of fluids spent on the day.

A special mention to Sam, who helps coordinate activities at the club, for doing a fantastic job all weekend, and informed us about all the local watering holes. He even rang one of them for us to see what time they finished serving food.

After a hearty meal and a few pints of the premium ales we headed back to the club as Carsington have a Friday night BBQ and get together for members.

We were greeted with a warm welcome and settled in for an evening of chatting and banter. John and Kim were attending the bar, and in another show of exemplary service, brought the drinks out to us on the veranda without needing to ever request for a top up. On the face of it this was great but as Paul and I had started on the Jack Daniels and Jane the Kraken Rum, I had no idea how messy it was going to get!

It was a beautiful warm summer evening with amazing views and good company. Maria had the right idea and after a few drinks said she was heading to her campsite, and with one of the Carsington members heading home at the same time kindly gave her a lift up the road.

Suffice to say it turned into was a late night/morning and while, after a few hours’ sleep, I didn’t have headache I did skipped breakfast.

Saturday morning saw the bustle of Solo sailors setting up on the shore of the lake in the usual spot so I headed down to say hello and take the cover off the boat.

The wind wasn’t picking up as forecast so had a feeling it was going to be a tough day with the sun beating down and patches of breeze dancing across the water outside of the moored keelboats in the bay.

Changed and ready for the briefing from the PRO Adrian Stoggall who ran through the usual points in the SI’s and the proceeded to warn the fleet that ‘as he knew what we were like’ he would be using the ‘U’ flag from the get go……swiftly followed by a black flag if we didn’t behave.

Once on the water it was clear from the slow run down to starting area it was going to be one for those who liked the winds light and shifty. Certainly not my favourite and I was already drinking my water stash and wondered if a can of Red Bull might have suited me better for breakfast.

Once on the water I felt Ok and took comfort in feeling much better than one of my drinking buddies, Paul Bottomley, who was clearly feel groggy.

An early caveat in that I don’t remember much regarding the details of the races from 1 – 5 on both days. So, apologies in advance for the lack of sailing commentary. I was trying to concentrate and wasn’t particularly in the thick of the racing at the pointy end of the fleet. What I do remember is that here were huge gains and losses to be had depending on which way you went up the beat, left, right or middle. I usually chose one of the beats incorrectly and lost more than I gained. What I can say is there was a fair share of frustration and, in what I can only call Victor Meldrew fashion, shouts of ‘I don’t believe it!’ (Or words to that effect) coming from various members of the fleet in every race. One of the races on the Sunday I remember Jasper and I sailing the furthest left and when the inevitable wind shift came, we were practically broad reaching into the windward mark. Language Japer! Consistency would be the name of the game to have any chance at the title this year, and with such a strong fleet of title and open meeting winning sailors, it proved to be no mean feat. The overall results speak for themselves with a different winner in all six races. Only the overall top five sailors managed manged to count, with one discard, results inside the top 10. They say the cream always rises to the top and the racing, from what I could see, was a testament to the top sailors in the solo fleet.

The forecast showed the potential of stronger winds on Sunday but this didn’t materialise until race six. One of the leeward marks was interesting however. As you will see from the results there were a few OCS registered within the fleet. A reminder that the ‘U’ flag is not a round the end of the start line, as some tried to do. This flag immediately disqualifies a boat that is over the line after the 1-minute signal sounds with no course for redress. If these boats are identified, they tend to be told to stop sailing the race by a notice board at the top mark.

Overall results:

1st Jasper Barnham - Snettisham Beach

2nd Martin Honner – Ogston SC

3rd Jamie Morgan – Rutland SC

4th Oliver Davenport – Northampton SC

5th Jonathan Woodward – South Staffs SC

This year’s Midland Area Champion is Jasper Barnham, who barely put a foot wrong all weekend and showed real class with all counted results in the top 5.

A well-earned and deserving champion….well done Jasper!

In his winners speech he thanked Carsington and all the staff who couldn’t do enough to help and support the visitors all weekend. PRO Adrian Stoggall and team of Henry Wright and Nick. Safety Boat Crew of Murray, Dick Dalton and Dave Currier.

John Webster who helped with all the arrangements and get everything in order. And finally, a special mention to Debbie who was assisted by Lily in the galley looked after everyone’s dietary needs all weekend. Thanks to our main sponsor Allen who have given exceptional support and prizes for every event this year, not forgetting CB Boat Trailer and Cover Store and Jackson Composite Repairs whose contributions will be raffled for qualifiers at the end of the season.

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