Solution National Championship a Hit at Gunfleet

Gunfleet Sailing Club played host to he 2009 National Championship of the Solution dinghy class last weekend 15 & 16 August 2009 with 15 boats taking part from as far a field as Manchester, Cheshire, Hampshire and Leicestershire.

Lively conditions greeted the competitors on the Saturday with a force four gusting five wind and a rolling sea, which proved quite a culture shock for those used to sailing on reservoirs.  From a Committee Boat start the fleet beat out to sea, against the tide, in order to make the first mark and then it was a lively reach inshore.  At this point the leading helm was Kevin Clark from Seafarers Sailing Club with Gunfleet’s Simon Clarke hot on his heels, and Tony King from Blackwater Sailing Club in third position.  However, this reach, coupled with a fairly unpleasant gybe followed by a run to the Kingscliff buoy caught a number of competitors out.  Capsizes were not uncommon and it wasn’t long before a number of retirements occurred.  As the race progressed the leading boats settled down and on each of the three laps the top three positions did not change.  By the second race the wind strength had increased and it was Gunfleet’s Clarke that led the fleet on the first lap, but he was constantly being threatened by Clark from Seafarers.  Once again there were plenty of capsizes which, further back in the fleet, resulted in a number of position changes.  By the end of the second lap the top two positions had changed around, and it remained like this until the end; whilst third place was once again taken by King.  Kathryn Hayfield from Delph Sailing Club worked particularly hard during the race and made her way up to fourth place.

The conditions remained constant for race three and once the boats were away they settled into a fairly consistent order.  This time Gunfleet’s Clarke gained an early lead and managed to keep it and take victory.

Sunday brought a flatter sea and a more pleasant force three to four south westerly wind.  Yet again the top three boats remained unchanged in the fourth race but for a while it was King that had the lead; although at the end of the first lap Seafarers’ Clark had forged ahead and appeared to be unstoppable.  Gunfleet’s Paul Davis, having improved his position as each race went on, took a creditable fourth position whilst Wendy Pickstock from Rudyard Sailing Club was sixth.  This win for Clark was sufficient to give him overall victory and he could afford to sit out the last race.  

In the fifth and final race, three of the boats jumped the start line mistaking the one-minute warning as the signal to start.  They soon realised their mistake but all lost many minutes returning to correct their error.  The fleet beat down the coast, staying close inshore to reduce the impact of the ebbing tide; however Davis took the gamble to tack early to the first mark and just slipped around it to take a strong lead.  Further back there were some races within races occurring as groups of Solutions were changing positions on each leg.  At the end of the first lap Davis had a commanding lead which he held until the end of the race.

Results – Solution National Championship 2009:
1.    Kevin Clark – Seafarers Sailing Club
2.    Simon Clarke – Gunfleet Sailing Club
3.    Tony King – Blackwater Sailing Club