Maidenhead Sailing Club opened its doors to the Solo Class on Saturday 9th April for the clubs second Open of the year. Sunny but cool conditions welcomed the sailors and helpers. With a forecast from the NW 2-3 it wasn't ever going to be the warmest of days, but the freshening breeze was very welcome to all sailing.
MSC welcomed 6 visitors from Littleton, Bough Beech, Hawley and Papercourt Sailing Clubs, who joined the 13 Solos from the home fleet.
A relaxed 12 noon first race meant there was plenty of time for the wind to settle for the first race before lunch and our visitors to get setup ahead of racing. The course set with a pair of beats and a deep reach the 19 sailors had short sail out to the line. In the minutes running up to the scheduled start the wind swung round meaning a short postponement. Racing got underway and it was clear from the outset that our visitors would be hard to catch. The racing was close throughout the fleet with lots of position changes throughout the beats. However, the top 3 were in a league of their own with Fraser Hayden's (5693) beating, Richard Hudson 2nd (5554) and James Reed 3rd (5045).
After a cracking lunch the Solo fleet had 2 back to back races to complete the 3 race series. The wind had deviated towards the North allowing the Race Officer and his team to adjust the course to make the most of the wind conditions. With a single discard on offer racing was keenly contested.
Race 2 saw a slightly different order around the first mark with local sailor Jon Hirsh (5189) following Fraser Hayden (5693) into the top mark with Richard Hudson (5554) following closely behind. Fraser managed to break free of the following pack and was very much ahead of Richard Hudson in 2nd and James Reed (5045) caught and passed Jon Hirsh for 3rd place.
This result ensured that Fraser had won the event, but the following places were still up for grabs. Race 3 didn't disappoint as Mike Dray in his grey and lime green (6017) took an early lead which he didn't give up. James Reid (5045) and Richard Hudson (5693) battled through to the line where a committee boat end bias, with James tacking off it gave Richard a chance to aim at the committee boat and took second place by around 15 cm. This result knocked James off 3rd overall as Mike's 4th place in the first race meant he would finish a point ahead of James in the final results.
From a MSC perspective our Solo regulars were joined by a number of our Laser/ex-Laser sailors; Gary Bullock, Ellie Gladwyn, Tom Knight and Geriant Head from our Y&J section. Gary Bullock with his 5th place overall was the best of our Maidenhead representatives followed by Tom Knight (6th). Some great results from these sailors all in borrowed boats. Geriant Head was also awarded a prize for his taking part, representing the Y&J squad. Sadly he struggled to get the centerboard to stay down in his boat so wasn't able to sail as high as he would normally, but as always with Geriant he gave it his all and finished all 3 races.
The Silver fleet consisted of 6 Maidenhead racers, Julie Maidment (4618) winning this fleet with 3 first places in fleet across the 3 races. Mark Savill (5000) was runner up and Geoff Batchelder 3rd in fleet.
A massive thanks goes out to our Saturday Social Sailing/Paddling team for joining the race crew to cover the event. A heartfelt thanks also go to Gail, Fiona, Kathryn, Joe together with the rest of our catering and bar team volunteers (Mark, David and Hannah) for stepping in and helping support this event.
MSC Sailing Captain / Race Officer
Solo Open Gallery