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Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Solo Nation's Cup at Medemblik, The Netherlands - Day 1

by Will Loy 12 May 2023 21:48 PDT 12-14 May 2023
Solo Nation's Cup at Medemblik Day 1 © Will Loy

Organised by the Nederlandse Class Association and Sponsored by Magic Marine

Team CB Coverstore have arrived at the Dutch equivalent of Weymouth, home to a very successful team of Olympians. It is only a matter of time until we drag their very high standards down to our own dour level of competence. Our tour operator Chris Brown, chauffeur Nigel Davies and drinking professional Paul Davis shared the journey from Warwick to Medemblik via the overnight Harwich-Hook ferry, the Stena staff providing a warm Filipino welcome, grass skirts and coconut bras would have been overkill.

The trip was as smooth as the sea state, the hum from the huge engine turbines, a stark contrast to Paul's snoring but the unlikely duet somehow managed to create a melody even a crying baby would fall asleep to.

The ferry's alarm system alerted me far too early and we were up and out by, arriving to a near empty dinghy park in under two hours.

With close to 140 entries, 70 Solos, 40+ OK's and 20+ Contenders, real estate is going to be as premium as an empty parking spot in Salcombe so we were indeed blessed to pick exactly where we wanted to be. The slipway is gentle, even I can walk up and down it unaided which is saying something but with 10 races scheduled over 3 days including 'Super Saturday' which will see the competitors race in 4 of them, the ability to park as close to the water as possible before collapsing is a no-brainer, I just hope the German OK sailors haven't put their towels there.

There is a strong contingent of Dutch Solo sailors, a clear reflection on the great work the Committee and publicity machine have done to get people to sail the Jack Holt built Solo and with new Dutch Chairman Paul de Geus in charge, I only see an upward curve for the fleet.

The attraction of close one-design racing has brought some serious talent to the Solo in the Netherlands and by the end of Day 1 I will be able to name them but Menno Huisman, Paul Dijkstra and Jelmer Kuipers are sailors high on the hotshot list, Paul racing one of two new builds he has constructed so that should be interesting to see.

There are 37 Dutch entries and 33 UK entries though I know of 2 no-shows, Tom Gillard, Oliver Davenport and Rich Pepperdine being three of our hottest competitors so it will be fascinating to see the racing unfold. There is a rich vein of talent in both fleets and opportunity for greatness so I expect racing to be physically and mentally draining, fortunately the 2 hour 'Happy Hour' should go a long way to refreshing the athletes. I know for a fact the OK and Contender sailors prefer soft drinks so plenty of beers for the Solos!

We will be racing on the fabled IJsselmeer, as tricky to spell as it is to compete on and this morning she looks like a daunting prospect. That said, I find high curbs a challenge so the competitors will be gagging to get out there. First they must navigate the short meandering route out of the narrow sanctuary of the harbour, no easy task with 130 dinghies and multiple language barriers... I cannot wait.

And so it begins...

The fleets left the shore with zero drama, only my serious lack of mobility as I stepped aboard giving concern to the the two Dutch lads who would be my Media/Rescue rib team, I enjoyed the comment tinged with irony when they enquired to why I was not racing. I strapped my rucksack to the rear mounting point of the seating arrangement and fiddled around with camera equipment while my driver carefully avoided the tail enders as they made their way out to the race arena. Once he was happy I looked something close to stable he gunned it out to the Committee boat, fond memories of my insignificant life flashing before me as my knuckles lost all colour.

I had considered utilising the new NSCA camera gimbal but with the penal IJsselmeer chop pummelling me like a Turkish masseur with anger issues, my equipment would stay firmly under wraps for now.

Race 1 - Course: Triangle-sausage-knee breaking final beat

Away at the third time of asking and under the U flag, clean start and lot's of interest at the pin end where I had correctly predicted the bias to be. Mention of this God -given skill was met with some dis-interest from my young team though, probably due to the fact that 5 minutes earlier I had attempted to take some photos with the lens cap still in place.

I focused on the action, Paul Dijkstra was punchy, tacking and crossing the fleet with Arnd Wolfetang and Hans Duetz doing likewise. The Dutch must have had some solid intel as at least a dozen filed past me before I even got a whiff of a English geezer. Matthew Frary and his brother Martin re-affirming my confidence in the UK fleet. The breeze was 8mph at best and the sea state provided an additional complication to boat on boat tactics. Leading in from the left was Dijkstra from Duetz, Michael Gifford, Roelof Kuipers and Matthew Frary. The fleet eased down the first reach, some maximising the playing field of waves while others dug deep into their gear for sickness tablets. Tedd Bakker, Jelmer Kuipers and Mark Lee were in the mix with a plethora of Dutch Solos while Oliver Davenport (14) and Tom Gillard (21) had plenty to do to improve.

Dijkstra, Duetz and Kuipers extended on the fleet down the two offhand legs, the ability to soak low increasing their advantage on the chasing pack.

The 0.7 nautical mile beats were tricky to navigate but the top three kept each other and the fleet at bay with no change. Behind them, Gillard moved into fourth, just ahead of Gifford and Bakker with Davenport in seventh. This was the finishing order with Martin pipping Matthew Frary in a loving tussle and Roelof Kuipers completing the top ten.

Race 2 - Wind 8-9mph, increasing to 12mph, Mark 1 005 degrees

A clean start under the U flag, I was positioned about as far away from the port biased pin end as I could be but this allowed my driver to motor amongst the few right hand chancers that had clearly seen something that the other 60+ sailors had not. I pondered unholstering my NSCA Scorp gimbal but it seemed to get the droop just when it needed to be paying attention so my confidence had wavered. I ordered my driver to take me to the top mark and held on for dear life as the rib powered up to warp speed. The two lads stood either side of the steering consul, simultaneously compressing their legs like expert mogul specialists while I locked my already pathetic body into something resembling a foetal position, already convinced this was my last day on Earth. Amazingly I survived and still held my Nikon Coolpix, though the casing now had the imprint of my fingertips upon it, ahead, Dijkstra had rounded first and was soaking down the first reach with Ian Hopwood, Roelof Kuipers and Gifford in close pursuit. Simon van Rees and Gillard followed with Steve Ede, Matthew Frary, Chris Brown and Martin Frary completing the top ten though I should mention Paul Davis rounded joint eleventh with Jelmer Kuipers since I shared a bunk with him.

The breeze had freshened, the Sun was at it's highest and the fleet enjoyed a couple of great reaches, albeit too broad for flat out planing. Dijkstra continued to dominate the race in his home built Solo, the Superspar M2 and HD Maxx working well through the chop which looked as complicated to negotiate as the UK pothole network.

The final beat was long but Dijkstra had control and kept a rampant Gillard behind him with Gifford, Davenport and Paul Davis completing the top five. I holstered by camera just as Mark Lee capsized on the line, forced to tack with not time to react he can count himself unlucky but lucky that I didn't video it.

Race 3 0 Wind 12mph, Mark 1 355 degrees

I thought I heard of one casualty OCS but the results indicate differently so Rich Pepperdine needs to do the lottery this week. Again, I was based at the Committee end and was surprised to see Gifford start there nearly on his own. The majority of the fleet were toward the left of the course but at the top mark Gifford rounded first, much to my surprise. It is a ballsy move to trust your instinct when you have two good results under your belt so hat's off to him. Davenport, Gillard, Nigel Orkney and Menno Huisman were next with Jelmer sneaking around almost head to wind.

By the wing mark Dijkstra was up to fifth and looking to add to his brace of bullets with Brown, Pepperdine, Bakker and Nigel Davies on his transom. By the top of lap two Gillard had taken the lead from Gifford, Davenport and Dijkstra and with the breeze softening, he would be hard to beat.

By the gun at the top of the final long beat it was Gillard from Gifford with Dijkstra pipping Davenport and Kuipers to finish day one with the overall lead.

Gillard, Gifford, Davenport and Kuipers complete the top five but with four races planned for tomorrow, anything can happen.

Magic Marine have generously sponsored the Solo Nation's Cup and this event forms part of the North Sails Super Series. I will be togged up in my Aqua Marine -Bainbridge International Offshore kit so will be completely dry and warm.

Thank you to all our sponsors and do please share these reports.

Results after Day 1: (full results can be found here)

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
2 6021Thomas GILLARDSVSC4217
3 GBR 5652Michael John GIFFORDSHSC53210
4 GBR 6061Oliver DAVENPORTNorthampton74415
5 NED 670Jelmer KUIPERSARENZV38516
6 NED 642Menno HUISMANKWS1210628
7 NED 637Hans DUETZWVF2181333
8 NED 669Roelof KUIPERSARENZV1071633
9 6057Martin FRARY 862034
10 NED 649Ted BAKKERWVR622836
11 5953Matthew FRARYNorfolk Broads Yacht Club9121738
12 GBR 5911Nigel DAVIESDraycote Water SC1320740
13 594 5942Richard PEPPERDINE 14171041
14 5914Paul DAVISLymington Town Sailing Club2351846
15 GBR 6074Chris BROWN 2713949
16 GBR 6045Steve EDE 15152252
17 6064Jamie MORGANRutland sailing club25211965
18 GBR 6006Mark LEELymington Town11282766
19 NED 661Simon REES vanWVDK16163567
20 NED 664Maurice BAKKERWVR33251270
21 5746Harry LUCASGrafham water35261172
22 043Keith MILROY 20312475
23 6051Dave LUCAS 24143977
24 NED 646Gilles de COMBEWVB28193279
25 NED 627Michiel de BOERKWS21322679
26 NED 668Roel den HERDERWSVG1995583
27 NED 654Jan Pieter BRAAMWVR18392885
28 6058Pete KYNEBrightlingsea sailing club29372187
29 5922Piers LAMBERTBrightlingsea Sailing Club17432989
30 GBR 5909Andy FOXLeigh & Lowton S C30234699
31 GBR 6043Kevan GIBBLargo Bay Sailing Club26403399
32 GBR 6067Chris BUNNLady Yacht Club444614104
33 NED 678Robert WITGWVDVB344723104
34 5744Iain McGREGORSalcombe YC373537109
35 NED 541Sijbrand JONGEJANSZVDO392942110
36 NED 636Andries de MUIJNCKARENZV402447111
37 GBR 5745Robin PAGEBrightlingsea Sailing Club563325114
38 5524Kev HALLNorthampton SC383048116
39 GBR 5897Ian HOPWOOD 491160120
40 NED 545Armand de la RIEWVDK472749123
41 NED 663Roel BAKKERWVR434438125
42 NL 623Arnd WOLVETANGARENZV223470126
43 5967Patrick BURNSRYA415431126
44 NED 643Chris MIEDEMAKWS543836128
45 GBR 6002Doug LATTAHayling Island SC324256130
46 GBR 6046Nigel ORKNEYLargo Bay S C595715131
47 NED 676Christian RAAWVB513645132
48 NED 630Martijn KUITERTKWS485234134
49 NED 67Elaine TURNERWVB365050136
50 5703Stewart WORTHBrightlingsea574140138
51 NED 553Pieter Jelle JONGEJANSZVDO315157139
52 NED 594Ties van BRUINESSENWVB504841139
53 NED 605Paul de GEUSGWVDVB424552139
54 5747Roger LUMBYSalcombe YC536130144
55 560Len VERDELWVB465844148
56 6056Peter WARNENorthampton Sailing Club454954148
57 GBR 5721Grahem WILSON 525551158
58 NED 641Marc DIEBENWSVG605643159
59 531Anne Richard SCHAAFSMAKWS555358166
60 NED 625Rien MATERS 585953170
61 563Huud OUWEHANDWSV de Kreupel616059180
62 NED 542Bert VASTENBURGGWVDVB626261185
63 NED 648Vincent SPEELMANZVDO636462189
64 NED 588Floris EIJSINKWSVG706370203
65 617Arnold JIPPESKWS707070210
65 NED 408Jeen SMITKWS707070210
65 NED 537Jaap BORRAWWSV707070210
65 NED 629Ed van DALENWSVG707070210
65 NED 675Bas de REGTHJC707070210

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