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Northern Area Solo Championships @ Ogston SC

11 & 12 May 2024

Sponsored by Winder Boats, Impact Marine and NSCA

Report by Innes Armstrong

Photo by Phil Hind

Round 2 of the Northern Series took place at Ogston Sailing Club in Derbyshire and this event was given the prestige of being the Northern Area Championships.  Fifteen visitors joined the eight home boats and all were welcomed to glorious sunshine and winds of 5 – 9mph.  The briefing was given by the PRO, explaining the position of the buoys and all the usual details, the intention being to sail a six-race series with 5 to count.  Four races planned for the Saturday and two for the Sunday morning.

So to race 1, the line was set fair and there didn’t appear to be a favoured end, the sailors behaved themselves and got away first time.  The usual suspects of the northern series, Armstrong and Honnor were 1st and 2nd to the windward mark followed by local sailor Russel Short and Steve Denison, with the rest of the fleet battling to find clear air.  As the race continued, Armstrong pulled out a sizable lead only for the wind to die and fill in from the back allowing a raft of boats to swamp Armstrong – going from 1st to 4th in a matter of seconds.  This allowed Short to gain the lead which he held to the finish.  Coming in 2nd was Denison followed by Chris Gillard and Armstrong.

The intention was to hold two races back-to-back in the morning but the wind died to almost nothing and the PRO made the welcomed call to go in for lunch.

Race 2 followed, and the wind played ball, picking back up to slightly stronger the morning’s race.  Using the same course it was again the usual suspects at the front trying to find the clean lane.  Close racing ensued throughout the fleet with all sailors trying hard on the downwind legs to create wind shadows and gain water at the various marks.  Honnor took the win, followed by Andy Carter, Denison then Armstrong.

Race 3 quickly followed, one casualty was caught OSC at the start, Russel Short from the home club.  At the front this time we saw a new face, Richard Instone from Chase SC, who made his way nicely up the first beat to lead at the windward mark, a lead he didn’t relinquish.  Another new face, Ted Garner (Budworth) in his new boat found himself in 2nd followed by Denison and Armstrong.

After three races there were three different race winners and 7 different names with a top three position, would we add any more?

Race 4 started with Armstrong and Instone over the line, and after going back found themselves languishing near the rear of the fleet.  Local sailor Simon Law, in a considerably older boat then the rest of the fleet, found himself at the front and used all his local knowledge to pull away from the rest of the fleet, winning quite considerably.  Coming in 2nd was Gillard followed by Short, Honnor and Davenport in a hard fought 5th.

So after day one and 4 races, we had four different winners.  Steve Denison held the overnight lead with fairly consistent results.

The solo sailors that stayed enjoyed an excellent evening meal, prepared and served by Andrea and Kerry and sponsored by the class association.  We all sat around the table together and had a lovely time mulling over the day’s events. 

Photo by Phil Hind

Sunday dawned and we awoke to a rather grey day and slightly colder temps – warmer tops would be necessary.  The wind had changed direction and so required a start line round the corner and towards the bottom of the lake.  There was all to play for…  two races to go and it could be anyone’s!

Race 5 got underway with a big wind shift just as the gun sounded, this allowed those that started at the pin end to tack and sail in clear air up the first beat.  At the windward mark it was Short followed by Honnor then Armstrong & Dension.  Short managed to keep clear whilst those behind jostled for clear air, allowing Short to pull away and take the win (his second bullet of the series).  Armstrong was 2nd followed by Honnor and Carter.  

It would come down to the last race with the sailors in the mix trying to work out who had what, and where they needed to be.  Russel Short at this stage had the OCS in the back of his mind and Armstrong’s discard was a RTD.

The stage was set for the final race and those that were in the hunt found themselves at the pointy end on the first beat apart from Short who didn’t get a particularly good start.  That left 4 boats in the main battle.  Getting to the windward mark proved tricky – to come in on starboard or port?  Both sides seemed to pay equally well on every lap and so changing places throughout the fleet was the order of the day.  The last beat saw Carter making Honnor do turns just before the finish, thereby Carter taking the finish followed by Gillard, then Honnor and Armstrong.

Nobody could quite work out who’d won the event, so it was left to Sailwave to do the maths, as it turned out, Honnor took 1st overall with Gillard taking 2nd and Armstrong 3rd.

Honnor took home the coveted Northern Trophy for the second year running!

Photo by Justine Davenport

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