Solo Open at Torpoint Mosquito Sailing Club
by Sal Erskine-Furniss
9 July 2022
The inaugural Solo open at Torpoint Mosquito Sailing Club was held on what was one of hottest days of the year so far. The light wind forecast had unfortunately seen some prospective visitors sending apologies but perennial travellers Ian Bartlett and Vernon Perkins made the longest trip from South Cerney.
The assembled sailors pondered the light breeze coming from the north as boats were rigged and tea, coffee, savouries and cakes provided by the mosquito crew were consumed. After the race briefing the fleet of 18 solos launched in very light conditions and were herded around the ballast pond into St John’s lake by the police patrol launch. With the committee boat in position, now it was time to wait for the wind to settle. Richard Woods the race officer waited for the sea breeze to fill in from the SW and after a fairly short delay the postponement was lowered and the first of three windward/leeward races was away. F2 conditions dictated short courses of 4 laps which kept racing intense, close and very competitive.
The beat provided wind shifts and bends with a little bit of tide coming into play, whilst the leeward mark rounding caused many big gains or losses across the fleet. Malcolm Davies from Teign Corinthian took the lead early on and controlled the race from there to the line. Charlie Nunn decided to tactically handicap himself by missing the gate at the start of the second lap whilst fighting for 3rd (this feat was later repeated by Geoff Holden in race three). There was close racing all the way down the fleet - Ian Bartlett remarked that I had appeared to have attached myself to him with some invisible elastic, although he was just ahead of me over the line and I just kept my nose in front of a fast finishing Steve Roberts. So Malcolm Davies first, the brand new grey and orange solo of Geoff Holden second with Steve Mitchell in third.
The wind had clocked a little more to the south, so the windward mark was repositioned and then we were away again. Steve Roberts had a great start leading at the windward mark, however Malcolm Davies passed him on the first run - a position he wasn’t prepared to give up. Meanwhile further down the fleet Geoff Hall knocked his hat into the water which explains to any spectators why he appeared to be completing multiple turns. Malcolm Davies’ win placing him in an insurmountable lead, Steve Roberts keeping second place and Charlie Nunn coming through in third.
After loudly declaring that he now knew the way to go in race 2, Vernon Perkins set out to prove this in race 3. To his delight he was first at the windward mark and was still in third as he approached it for for the second time; however he was so pleased to see it this time he decided to moor up and let 10 or so boats past in doing so… Roger Gibb who had been over the line on the start of race two had finally put everything together and was now well away and clear for a comfortable win. Further down the fleet Nick Fisher had also had a blinding start, sailing over Adrian Griffin from Salcombe, then cocking it up by going too far right. So the results for race three were the Scottish mosquito Roger Gibb first, Charlie Nunn second and Ian Bartlett taking third.
A very successful first Solo open for Torpoint Mosquito Sailing Club. Congratulations to Malcolm Davies from Teign Corinthian who took the honours with two bullets discarding a 5th. Many thanks to our generous sponsors Dinghy Shack and GOAT Marine for providing prizes for the top six and pretty much every competitor in the raffle, Peter Lye winning the GOAT Marine carbon tiller extension. Race management were fantastic, as were all club volunteers for our first solo open and a special thanks must go to dinghy secretary Steve Roberts who perhaps didn’t sail his best with his head full of logistics. We are already looking forward to next year and hope to welcome more visitors.