Chris Brown was the winner of the first event of the Midland Traveller Solo Open Series held at Emberton Park SC. Grey overcast sky with ominous black clouds resulting in wind blowing at force five gusting six, which probably accounted for the small turnout. We knew we were going to have trouble when we had our first 'capsize' in the car park with a boat blown off its launching trolley.
With the boats on the water preparing for the start O'Conner (King George S.C.) (4762) performed a spectacular cartwheel and double capsize (amusing for the spectators but not for him) and although luckily he was none the worse for the encounter he was unable to right his boat in the testy conditions and missed the start without crossing the line.
The other three boats got away cleanly with Wil Loy (Littleton S.C.) in his 'lean green machine' (4835) first to the windward mark, followed by Colin Newton (Staunton Harold S,C.) (4336) with Chris Brown (RYA) in his new boat, 4861, in third position. By the second lap Brown had passed both Newton and then Loy into first place, and built up a good lead, with Newton then passing Loy in to second spot.
There was a bit of a drama as Chris Brown capsized two marks from the end of the race with the rapacious pack (if two boats can be termed a pack, but Wil Loy certainly looked rapacious) seeing their chance of causing an upset. By the last mark all three boats were now bunched up, with Wil Loy tacking away to see if he could gain an advantage and Chris Brown and Colin Newton heading up for the line.
Brown was able to hold his first place and took line honours by less than a boat length, followed by Newton and then Loy finishing within a split second of each other much to the delight of the on looking safety boat crew.
The wind had increased its strength by the time the second race started and O'Conner decided to sit it out, but Alan Smedley (Emberton Park SC) decided to join in. Newton was first to the windward mark followed by Loy with Brown third and Smedley fourth, but Smedley just made it round the mark before capsizing and although he tried to carry on through two more capsizes the elements were against him, and he quite wisely retired.
Colin Newton held his lead for two laps before Chris Brown passed Wil Loy then Newton into first place, then Loy passed Newton into second spot. These positions were held to the line, with Chris Brown first, Wil Loy second, and Colin Newton third. There was some spectacular sailing on the long downwind leg, with the boats having almost half their hulls out of the water as they got up on the plane.
The weather, (or was it Marie’s famous plum crumble consumed with relish at lunchtime), put paid to the third race, with all the sailors really needing a rest. The results were accordingly based on two races and a count back for second place. Thanks from Emberton to the travellers who put on a display of first class sailing in very testing conditions.
Solo - Overall leading results:
1st Chris Brown (RYA)
2nd Wil Loy (Littleton SC)
3rd Colin Newton (Staunton Harold SC)