by Mike Ball
Noble Marine Solo Winter Championships 45 hardy Solo Sailors arrived at Grafham to be greeted with an icy northerly breeze that seemed capable of cutting through to the bone, to enjoy three back to back races.
The wind strength was a good force 2, enough to get them working and to keep warm, without being too silly. In fact competitors were warned at the briefing that the water temperature was barely above freezing, so there was no point in capsizing to get warm! Only one sailor actually put that to the test, and as it was me, I can assure you the water was indeed very cold!
Despite admitting to not sailing since the Solo Inland Championships in September, Charlie Cumbley proved that sailing a solo was just like riding a bike, (well for him anyway) and promptly won both of the first two races by considerable margins. Then , in his own words, he abandoned the fleet for a hot shower as his soft souther pinkies couldn't take the cold anymore.
Ian Pinnell was to take second spot in the first race, with Chris Brown third and Simon Potts fourth, whilst in the second race, Andy Davies was to take second, Simon Potts third, and Chris Brown fourth.
With Charlie splashing around in the shower, Tony Cooper came through, in a slightly stronger breeze, to take the final race, with Andy Davies second again, Ewan Birkin-Walls from Graffham, came third, and Neil Wilkinson fourth.
Our thanks to Grafham for another well run and good humoured event, even the 'Killer Shrimp' washing down went off pat at the end of the day!
1st Charlie Cumbley Teign Corinthian
2nd Andy Davis Blithfield SC
3rd Simon Potts RYA
4th Chris Brown RYA
5th Michael Sims Carsington SC
6th Tony Cooper King George SC
7th Vince Horey King George SC
8th Ewan Birkin-Walls Grafham
9th Ian Pinnell Northampton SC
10th Chris Gillard Sheffield Viking SC
1st Chris Gillard Sheffield Viking
2nd Nick Ralings HISC
3rd Nick Fisher Chew Valley
1st Ray Collins Locks SC
2nd John Webster Carsington
3d David Moseley HISC
King George SC