The morning of the Littleton Sailing Club Spring Solo open meeting, sponsored by The Dinghy Store at Datchet, dawned with a surprise covering of snow.
But, since last year’s annual Solo meeting at Littleton had had to be abandoned not once, but twice, due to no wind at all, it was hard for organisers to believe what they saw when they drew back the curtains on this particular morning. The important thing was though that this time there was wind!
So it was that twenty hardy sailors gathered at the club in the snow ready to do battle in a F2-4 north westerly, interspersed with further snow showers just to keep things interesting.
Race 1 – Will Loy started at the extreme port end of the line and led round the first mark, closely followed by Tim Hore in second and Vanda Young in third. As the race developed Young took over the lead, while Loy, Steve Jones and Daniel Goodman battled it out in hot pursuit. Young finally managed to pull clear of the pack and cross the line in a comfortable first place, with Jones in second and Godfrey Clark pulling through to take third.
Race 2 – Daniel Goodman did a perfect starboard tack pin end start and got to the first mark with a good lead already. Others were not so lucky, notably Jones, who tried a port tack flier only to find that end of the line busier than he would of liked, as he was swallowed up by the pack! Second at the first mark was Mike Hobin in his brand new Boon boat and third was Clark.
Goodman ploughed ahead in a race of his own and became the clear winner of race 2, while Hobin and Clark battled it out for second and third, with Clark being seen to do at least one set of penalty turns. Even so these two had commanded enough of a lead from the main pack for Clark to be able to maintain his third place to the finish, and Hobin finishing in second.
Race 3 – The start clearly favoured those at the port end, but a big wind shift during the first beat turned the order on its head, allowing those on the right hand track to make it to the first mark ahead. The leading boat was Loy followed by Jonathan Jowett and then Goodman. This race was closely fought from here on with numerous place changes at the top end, keeping the spectators on their toes.
The penultimate leg in particular will be remembered by most, as a huge and totally unexpected gust (along with more snow) hit the fleet, testing reaction times to the limit. Until this Clark had been looking good for the bullet position and the event overall, but Richard Cambrook seized the moment and snuck into first place, with Loy grabbing second and leaving Clark with another third place and the title Mr Consistent.
There was much speculation in the boat park as to who had won, which as it turned out was not surprising, since just one point splitting the top five places is more than enough to test most dinghy sailors’ brains.
The final outcome saw Vanda Young taking the overall title, with Richard Cambrook second and Daniel Goodman third.