Report by Innes Armstrong
Round three of the Solo Northern Series sponsored by Winder Boats & Impact Marine took part at Ogston Sailing Club nestled in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.
The Northern Reps, Justine & Innes decided to make a weekend of it and were welcomed by the club and their commodore Craig Harrison on Friday afternoon. Being able to stay on the club car park in a camper van is a real bonus and the most was made of the weekend’s sunny weather and beautiful location. On Saturday, a hike to the highest point was made to get the best view of the lake and then onto the club to join in the Saturday club racing. In the evening they were joined by Jo & Ian H, Steve D & Jake, Chris G & Joan, Martin H and Isobel (usually found in the front of Martin’s Enterprise) for an impromptu BBQ and a quiet (!) social in the club as the sun went down and the night grew cold.
So on onto the sailing as that was the reason for being there. Sunday dawned with the weather doing exactly what the forecast said it would, the sun was out and what looked like a steady 8/9mph breeze with gusts up to 15 mph was blowing in a North-easterly direction, which we were told wasn’t the best direction for this lake. 17 visitors joined the 9 home boats, quite a turn out and a bit unexpected as the day was to be shared with the Laser/ILCA class, leading to 50+ boats on the water!
It was obvious on the way to the start of the first race that the wind wasn’t going to be as steady as we thought, and we would need all our wits about us to avoid any holes that would appear and take advantage of the shifts.
Photo by Darren Clarke
As the starting sequence commenced, the pin end looked favourite and so it was that Innes Armstrong (Burwain SC) and Ian Hopwood (Bassenthwaite SC) vied for the best position at the pin end. Both sailors nailed it, however Armstrong was able to roll over the top of Hopwood, immediately tacking onto port and led the way up the first beat, he was followed round the first mark by Martin Honnor (Ogston SC) and David Winder (HLSC). Various position changes took place in the frustrating wind which fluctuated massively across the course. Lap two started with Armstrong having a healthy lead over Honnor and Winder, however there was a big wind shift on the right-hand side which allowed Honnor to reach into the mark and over the top of Armstrong and into the lead – a position Honnor managed to hold onto to the finish, closely followed by Armstrong. Andy Carter (L&LSC) managed to sneak through into third place.
All ashore for a well-earned lunch, slightly chaotic as 50+ boats approached the foreshore but the beach masters did a great job in helping out and finding trollies for all the boats.
Race two followed lunch with a starboard bias line, the obvious happened and a general recall was sounded. The Solos went to the back of the queue and after a five-minute wait getting the lasers/ILCAS underway, another Solo start was commenced with a black flag this time. Again, Armstrong favoured the pin end and the port side of the course paid with those starting near the pin benefiting from the wind strength being a little more consistent on the port side of the beat. Armstrong was able to gain a healthy lead staying in the wind whilst others were hindered by holes that were appearing across the course. Armstrong took the win followed by Martin Honnor in 2nd and Chris Brown (Draycote SC) in 3rd managing to pick their way around the holes ahead of the rest of the fleet.
The first two places were then guaranteed – Armstrong & Honnor, but who would star in the next race to take the trophy? Honnor must have felt the pressure as this is a competition he had never won, and being his home club, all eyes were on him!
Race three took place under a black flag and both Honnor and Armstrong made awful (but clean) starts, fortuitously at the right end of the line. First to the windward mark was Alan Bishop (Girton SC) followed by a gaggle of boats including Honnor and Armstrong. Armstrong holding the upper hand over Honnor at this moment. Local knowledge and fluctuating wind enabled Martin to go from fifth to first on the reach to the dam wall with Armstrong trailing in fifth. Martin managed to stay clear of other boats and eek out a lead whilst those behind jostled for position. Line honours were taken by Martin (pardon the pun) followed by Armstrong who’d worked hard to get into second place. Third place was extremely tight with the gun sounding a split second apart for third – Chris Brown and fourth Andy Carter.
Photo by Darren Clarke
So, he’d finally done it! Martin Honnor took victory at his home open meeting for the first time, a well-deserved win, especially with all the banter he’d had to shoulder for one or two years! Armstrong took a hard-fought 2nd and Chris Brown excelled in 3rd place.
The weekend was a fantastic success helped by the great organisation and hospitality of the club and its members, and of course the glorious sunny (if a little fluky) weather.
Photo by Justine Davenport
Left to Right: Innes Armstrong 2nd, Martin Honnor 1st, Chris Brown 3rd