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Northampton SC Open Meeting Review

Sponsored by Allen A great event last Saturday with 24 entries in some testing conditions. Thanks to Iain Carpenter for the review of the day.

The videos and photos are what I manged to take on my phone which definitely aren't Will Loy standard but you get the idea of what's going on.

NSC Solo Open

On Saturday 1st July a fleet of 24 Solos assembled at Pitsford reservoir with visitors from Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western Areas adding to Midland Area travellers joining the nine home club boats. The entry list was packed with open meeting winners but the forecast of 12-16 knots gusting to 20-24 knots later meant few would be betting against Oli Davenport taking top spot. Martin and his team in the galley kept us well fed all day from bacon baps for breakfast through to tea and cakes (I can recommend the coffee and walnut in particular). Race Officer Mike Webster announced his expectation of fierce competition with his choice of the U flag from the start and the threat of a black flag if necessary. He set his courses down the arm of the reservoir allowing long beats in the full pressure of the Westerly breeze, well away from the calm in the lee of the tall trees protecting the dinghy park.

With the forecast breeze slow to materialise the first race was set with a windward/leeward course. The pin end was favoured and the fleet got away cleanly at the first attempt, Oli making a safe start about two thirds along. The wind was shifting and gusting (all day) but those who played the left side of the beat led at the first mark with Oli D first around closely followed by Martin Honnor leading the chasing pack of Chris Brown, Jamie Morgan and Fergus Barnham.

The fleet spread across the run back allowing for several place changes behind Oli with Jamie, Chris and Fergus following him through the line at the start of lap two. At the start of the third and final lap Chris had worked up to second with Martin third ahead of Fergus then Jamie. Having lead around every mark Oli took the bullet. Jamie was back to second with Martin third followed by Fergus then Chris. Tim Lewis failed to pass through the start/finish line on lap one to pick up a DSQ.

Race two was a windward/leeward again and saw the wind starting to freshen. Again the pin end was favoured with Jarvis Simpson getting the only OCS of the day. Getting onto port tack early paid off at the start of the beat but then getting across to the left side saw Oli first around the mark ahead of Jamie with the chasing pack featuring Charlie Nunn, Tim Lewis, Chris and David Winder who ended the first lap in that order. Fergus was caught out tacking with the kicker on tight and took a swim – a problem for many others during the day. Oli went far left on the second beat and was the last to tack back to the mark opening a big lead from Jamie then Chris. Gary Stuart from the home club, sailing the injured Kev’s boat, also went well left to pull up to fourth with Dave Winder fifth at the start of the third lap. The top four places had not changed by the finish but Jamie had closed down the gap to Oli. Martin had pulled up to fifth from eighth followed by David and Tim.

Over lunch the wind had backed and seemed to drop as the fleet set out for the final two races with a reset inverted “P” course carefully laid. Just before the start sequence could begin, the first of many big squalls announced a reversion to the morning wind direction so up went the AP while the course was re-laid by the hard working support crews. This time the committee boat end of the line was the only place to be resulting in the only general recall of the day. With a reset line the fleet were away cleanly. Once again Oli D was first to the mark, just ahead of Jamie, Fergus, Oli Wells, Martin and Chris and we all took off at speed down the reaches. Oli D again led at every mark with Fergus a strong second after Jamie dropped to fifth on lap two. At the finish Jamie had pulled back to third from Oli Wells, Chris and Martin. During the race the gusts topped out at thirty knots, with some viscous shifts dumping a few in to windward on the beats with five boats retiring.

Fifteen boats came to the line for the final race and this time Jamie was first around the windward mark ahead of Oli, Fergus, David, Chris and Jamie Cuxson. The wing mark saw multiple capsizes as a squall hit the middle of the fleet. The leading pair tacked off early again at the start of the beat only to lose out to the boats that held port tack until crossing back for the line. The order at the start of lap two was Fergus, David, Chris, Jamie M, Jamie C then Oli D. By the windward mark normal service was resumed and Oli was back in front. Jamie led Fergus, David then Chris at the start of the third and final lap. At the finish Chris was back into third from Fergus, Nigel Davies then David.

With four bullets Oli Davenport was the clear and well deserved overall winner. Jamie M was second with 2,2,3,2, Fergus third (4,8,2,4). The very consistent Chris Brown (5,3,5,3) was fourth, Martin Honnor fifth and David Winder sixth. A very special mention goes to Brian Fisher of Notts County SC in his second decade as a Septimus competitor who finished every race having avoided capsizing until the last race.

Race officer Mike Webster set some great courses and ensured everything went very efficiently in spite of what the wind threw at us. The rescue boats did a great job of mark laying as well as rescue. Some very tired and aching sailors had all had a great day on the water.

With four meetings to go in the Midland Area series, Northern raider Marin Honnor looks well placed to defend the tittle he won last year but there is all to play for.

Thanks to all at Northampton SC for putting on a great event.

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