Solo Midland Series Returns to South Staffs

After an almost sleepless night wondering if I had organised everything, and whether South Staffs Premier fleet (the National Solo) could produce numbers equal to or better than last year’s successful open meeting skilfully steered by Martin (or in truth, the brains of the outfit Holly), I awoke to a beam of sunshine peering at me through the gap in the curtains, luring me out of my comfortable slumber.

This had to be an omen such as an eagle with a serpent in its talons, it was obvious that the Gods had favoured me. First task of the day was collecting Matt Dooner, with his mainly prepared American style Gumbo for lunch, that already smelt divine.  Once at the club, the only thing trying to dampen my spirits was a distinct lack of wind, but I had already decided that the Gods were with me.  Twelve competitors turned up; four of them visitors – not a bad turn out considering the Solo Inland Champs at Rutland were held on the same day.

Ollie Goodhead and Dave Young set off trying to establish a start line and a course in a light and very shifty breeze. Somehow they nailed it!  Everyone set off to the windward side of the island, except for Paul Bottomley who was first to the windward mark. Ian Ingram then pulled away to lead in a race of his own, while a gaggle of five followed him round like he was mother goose, until almost the end when Bob Suggitt and Samuel Bailey pulled away to gain second and third respectively.

Race two began after lunch with Ian Ingram pulling away immediately, and again followed by Samual Bailey and Bob Sugitt who battled it out for second and third places.  Race three started with a magnificent port flyer from Paul Bottomley that gained him second place at the windward mark behind Ian Ingram.  However, Bottomley went slightly to the right and may as well have got his fishing rod out while Ingram and Bailey shot off to the next mark!  With a lucky puff of wind Bottomley set off in hot pursuit managing only to stop Ingram and Bailey from pulling away further until the leeward reach when Bottomley once again remained stationery while the fleet sailed past. Bailey managed to give Ingram his first real race of the day and pushed hard all through the race, with a final showdown on the last beat, finishing with only half a boat length between them.  Brian Fisher, Paul McHenry and Bob Sugitt went to the wrong mark allowing Martin Warburton to take third spot, and Paul Bottomley still packing his fishing rod away. So it ended with Ian Ingram taking first place, Samuel Bailey second and Martin Warburton third.

So the overall results were

  • 1st Ian Ingram (1st Veteran)
  • 2nd Bob Sugitt (1st Septimus)
  • 3rd Samuel Bailey
  • 4th Paul Mc Henry (1st Grand Master)

Kevin Morris won a spot prize Harken t-shirt for two spectacular capsizes, and Paul Bottomley was awarded the second Harken t-shirt by Dave Morgan (Commodore) for organising the event.

Thank you to Harken for sponsorship of the National Solo Midland Series. A heartfelt thankyou to everyone who helped with the event to make it a success, and thank you also to all the competitors who sailed past me…

– Paul Bottomley, SSSC Solo Fleet Captain