Solution Dinghy National Championship At Gunfleet

Gunfleet Sailing Club played host to the Solution class dinghy National Championship last weekend, with visitors coming from as far as North and South Wales, Lancashire, Manchester, Lincoln, Stockport and North Shields.

Many arrived on the Friday, in time for some race training on the water, but the actual Championship started Saturday morning.  The offshore Committee Boat start was hampered by a constant wind shift; blowing lightly from the north-west it veered north-east, before going on to become easterly and even south-easterly, before backing to an east direction.  The first leg, a beat to the windward buoy, saw a split in boat tactics on what was a freshly ebbing tide; the competitors getting a feel for the waters in a force 2, touching 3, breeze.  The fleet remained quite tightly bunched as the boats headed on a broad reach to the gybe mark; they then quite sedately reached towards the shore and it was Nathan Batchelor, from Tynemouth Sailing Club, that started to open a gap as the lead boat.  The course required the competitors to then beat out to sea, run back before tacking back through the line.  On a rather long two lap course it was Batchelor that took the winning gun, followed nearly two minutes later by Sam Davey from Hykeham Sailing Club; a minute and a half later Christian Smart from Pembrokeshire Sailing Club took third place.

For the second race the, by now, onshore wind had fallen away to just 5 mph but fortunately it picked-up and freshened as the event went on.  Batchelor once again lead the fleet but was forced to complete a 360 degree penalty when his boat touched the windward mark, allowing Davey to take pole position.  Working hard, Batchelor recovered his lead spot, pushing Davey into second place; Stefan Smart from Pembrokeshire Yacht Club taking third place.

The third, and final, race of the day saw Davey take the winning gun, Batchelor second, and Smart third.

The second day heralded a steady onshore wind of force 4 gusting five, with quite large rolling waves.  The conditions proved ideal for the Solutions and, after an interesting beat to the first mark, the second leg gave an exciting reach which was quickly completed.  Smart lead the first lap but unfortunately, just prior to completing the second and final lap the windward buoy broke free and started heading up the coast.  In order to conclude a quite gruelling race one of the Club’s Rescue Boats held the mark in position; Smart taking first place, followed by Jack Turnbull from Redoubt Sailing Club in second position, and Smart third.

The penultimate race saw the boat’s designer, Kevin Clark from Delph Sailing Club, take the top spot, with Batchelor and Smart second and third respectively.  

The sixth and final race had Smart taking an early lead and claim his second victory of the weekend, Batchelor and Smart once again picking-up second and third places.

The Trophies were presented in the Clubhouse by Malcolm Jolly – the Chairman of the Gunfleet Sailing Club Directors.

Results – Solution National Championship:

1. Nathan Batchelor – Tynemouth Sailing Club

2. Christian Smart – Pembrokeshire Yacht Club

3. Sam Davey – Hykeham Sailing Club

First Lady Helm:  Clare Williams – Gunfleet Sailing Club

Ted Funnell Mid Fleet Trophy:  Martin Tubb – Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club

Master Category (over 55):  Peter Fisk – Llandudno Sailing Club