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UK 18ft Skiff Solent Grand Prix Series Round 2 at Calshot Activities Centre

by Tom Hill 26 May 15:05 PDT 22-23 May 2021

After a blown-out Round 1 of the Solent Grand Prix Series four weeks ago, the fleet were keener than ever to get stuck into two days of racing on the Solent last weekend.

The forecast was looking questionable once again with storms blowing through all weekend. As the teams reached the beach of Calshot Activity Centre, it looked like there would be a window to get some racing in. Just the small issue of which rig to plug in...

The fleet launched mostly on the small rigs with the forecast set to build. Rutland tentatively launched on the big rig, keen to test out some winter modifications, but unsure if they had the talent to back up their ballsy rig choice.

The fleet were presented with a windward/leeward course off of Hillhead. Given the length of time since the fleet last lined up, everyone got a clean but close start to kick off the 2021 season. The beat was split between less tide on the right, but more breeze to the left. Rutland led at the top mark after a capsize from The Time Genie from a last minute crash tack at the lay line.

Most teams were caught out by the early gybe required to get down through the gate which made for some good high sailing mode practice with the kite up, with a few kite curls for good measure. Rutland continued to lead the fleet around the course followed by The Time Genie and Babycham.

The second race started with The Green Skiff getting the best of the fleet off the line. By the top mark, The Time Genie had snatched the lead followed by the other small rigs. Rutland were trailing the fleet after a poor start and an unfavourable trip up the right hand side of the beat. However, The Green Skiff let them through after an unfortunate capsize at the bottom mark and Babycham gave up their second place with a tangled kite hoist. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough race track left to make the big rig gains for Rutland who had to settle for second place behind The Time Genie.

The third race went into sequence and Babycham took their opportunity to hold most of the fleet above the committee boat lay line and keep the start line almost to themselves. Unfortunately for Babycham, the starting whistle also seemed to signal the end of the wind which dropped to nothing as soon as the race began. After a few minutes of drifting in the tide, the race was abandoned.

The breeze then never settled in strength or direction, so the race committee called it a day.

As the fleet recovered into their cradles, freshly chilled beers were shared on the beach and the teams discussed plans and ambitions for the fleet in the coming years.

The forecast was never looking favourable for racing on Sunday, so as the wind indicators in the Solent nudged the wrong side of 20knots before 9am, the race committee decided to call it again for another days racing. Unfortunate, but the right call. This means The Time Genie took the win for the weekend, but only on countback from Rutland with Babycham always present to pounce on any mistakes.

Only another four weeks until the third round of the Solent Grand Prix Series - the fleet are desperate for a packed weekend of racing!

Thanks to Oscar, Lorna, Kate and Harry for running the racing and Calshot Activities Centre for hosting the fleet once again.

Overall Results:

1Time Genie213
4The Green Skiff448

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