The 49er fleet enjoyed exciting racing at the Lee-on-Solent 49er open meeting last weekend
A weekend of good winds combined with Solent chop ensured everyone on the course enjoyed their racing but were kept on their toes at the Lee-on-Solent 49er open meeting.
In the absence of the highest funded RYA Olympic Development boats, the fleet was tightly competitive, out of six races, there were four race winners, and very tight points in the middle of the fleet. Ian Martin and Ben McGrane won the weekend, Martin, new to the fleet proved you can win your very first 49er open meeting if you enlist a hugely experienced partner and sail six days a week! New faces mid fleet; included Nigel Furness sailing with 15-year-old Matt Gotrel (whose arms are now three inches longer) definitely seemed to enjoy their first outing.
The racing was tightly fought between six or so teams, between whom a lucky break was enough to propel them to the front on the fleet. Tom Smedley and Phil Kennard, refreshed after their exam season, sneaked second place ahead of Paul Campbell-James and Joni Clegg, Paul having been recently recruited from the relatively mundane world of keelboat sailing.
Though sailing right at the front of the fleet, Campbell-James readily confesses to breaking out in shouts trying to figure which leeward mark to pick whilst closing in on the them and every other boat at 15knots.
1st Ian Martin and Ben McGrane – WPSA
2nd Tom Smedely and Phil Kennard – HISC
3rd Paul Campbell-James and Joni Clegg – WPSA
4th Fred Shone and Hugh Shone – Castle Cove
5th Jonny Coates and Charlie Muir – RYA