Solo Class Eastern Area Championship
Sponsored by Mighty Oak Brewery
At Leigh on Sea SC - Saturday 24th June 2017
It was a bright sunny Saturday morning when the first of 28 Solos arrived at Leigh on Sea SC for the “Mighty Oak” Eastern Area Championships, a moderate breeze from the south west was blowing; all that was missing was water! The usual Leigh mud flats were much in evidence beyond the small sandy beach, but as the racers rigged and enjoyed the tea/ coffee and bacon rolls the tide quickly covered the mud to allow the race team to get afloat with the marks to lay the course for race 1.
After a short spell with the AP flying while the marks were juggled to get them in the best positions. As time was short for three races before the tide would leave the mud exposed again, to persuade the fleet to stay behind the start line the RO used ‘I’ for this and subsequent starts, this was successful and the First Sub was not needed to call a General Recall. At the start of race 1, 5300 Doug Latta managed to creep over the line early and was asked to return around the Committee boat end of the line. Ewan Birkin-Walls, 5738, quickly moved to the front of the fleet, behind him Andrew Boyce filled second place, with Steve Ede in third at the end of the first round. The wind had strengthen to a steady 24 knots which gave several racers problems at the gybe mark, a number found that they were having a spell of inspection of their centreboards and the bottom of the boat. At the end of the third round the RO flew ‘S’, Ewan maintained his first place followed by Mathew Frary in second having worked up from 6th at the first round and Steve Ede in third.
A quick turn round was planned for race 2, but 2 mins into the start sequence a squall caused the Committee boat to drag anchor, a quick decision was made to stop the sequence and to reposition the CB and the start line. Another ‘I’ flag start saw the fleet away cleanly, Vince Horey took the lead with Ewan Birmingham-Walls chasing him in second these positions remained until the hooter at the end of three rounds. Third place was a tussle between Steve Ede and Mathew Frary with Mathew getting the 3rd place.
The fresh wind was reducing the fleet, with only 22 of the original 28 stating the last race. Ewan moved to the front and established a good lead which he held for all three rounds, Mathew Frary finished in second after working through the fleet from his first round position of sixth. Steve Ede finished the series with a third place ahead of Andrew Wilson.
Overall the Championship was won by Ewan Birkin-Walls, Vince Horay was second and Mathew Frary was third. Jonny Wells from Essex YC was the first sailing a boat with a sail number under 4000, Nick Hann with the oldest boat in the fleet was the first Leigh on Sea SC boat.
Steve Corbet - Sailing Sec and event RO
Photographs are by Dave Smith