A stiff breeze and wall to wall sunshine was the forecast for the 2nd leg of the Solo Northern Circuit, sponsored by Winder Boats, held at West Riding Sailing Club on Sunday 8th May 2016. The sun shone, but as competitors rigged their boats they looked out over a glassy lake. OOD, Matt Cook and his team made the call to take an early lunch providing every opportunity for the forecast wind to materialise.
Unfortunately some boats made an early call to return home, but the 19 remaining boats launched in a gentle and slightly fickle breeze. The fleet got away cleanly but a big left hand shift left many feeling they already had a mountain to climb. Home sailor Hamish Gledhill rounded first followed closely by Steve Denison from Hollingworth Lake and Burwain’s Steve Graham. Denison pulled out a comfortable lead ahead of Gledhill. On the third lap the wind died with fresh breeze filling in from the rear, resulting in a bunched fleet, increased stress levels and hard work to be done again. Denison was able to pull clear to take the win, leaving Gledhill and Graham to scrap it out for second, will Graham pulling clear from Gledhill on the final beat. At the finish line another home boat, John Wadsworth was pushing hard to finish fourth ahead of Budworth’s Alex Taylor in fifth and John Dixon from West Kirby in 6th.
After a short break the fleet was back out for race 2 in a now building breeze. A couple of individual recalls kept the OOD on his toes as the fleet were now stretching their legs in the warm sunny conditions. Gledhill rounded the windward mark first but was soon passed by Graham, and later in the race by Denison. Taylor was pressing Gledhill hard but a mis-judgment left him completing turns, allowing the front three to sail away with Graham holding a comfortable lead ahead of Denison and Gledhill. Behind them the battle continued with Budworth’s Phil Barnes eventually getting the better of his club mate Taylor, taking fourth.
The fleet stayed afloat to go into the third race with a good force 3 blowing across the lake with clear blue skies. All was to play for with both Denison and Graham with a first and second each. After a clean start it was Gledhill who again led round the windward mark, just a head of Graham. Behind them mayhem ensued as it appeared like 10 boats tried to round together. Denison hit the mark with the penalty turn leaving him back in the pack. The two front boats pulled out a comfortable cushion ahead of the rest of the fleet. After a couple of lead changes Gledhill eventually took the win ahead of Graham. Denison pulled through the fleet to take third with Barnes fourth. Hollingworth Lake’s Nick Hornsby came through to take fifth ahead of Taylor in 6th.
Grahams 2nd place was enough to take overall honours for the day and he thanked West Riding SC for hosting the event in his acceptance speech.
Results for the 2016 Solo Open meeting can be found by following the link.