Competitors enjoyed exciting racing at the Soling nationals at Salcombe last weekend

The Soling national championship took place at Island Cruising Club at Salcombe last weekend in a southerly Force 5. A total of 14 Solings set sail for the course laid out on the range beyond the notorious Salcombe bar. The first race, first beat saw Gary Richardson in GBR 155 – Buzz Light Year – executing a port-hand flyer, crossing ahead of the fleet by five boat lengths. Suddenly their boat speed dropped and it was discovered an old bow repair had failed causing the forward tank to fill.

Ken Bailey in GBR 156 was given dispensation for assisting the stricken yacht until a safety boat arrived. Fortunately the other two safe compartments did their job preventing the boat sinking. While the recovery of GBR 155 was being undertaken, Hugh (Spud) Davies with Team Marshalla in GBR 5 was demonstrating their superior boat handling, clearly winning the first race. With GBR 155 being towed backwards into the Salcombe estuary, her bow submerged to its mast, and under the coast guards observation, the decision was made after the second race to get the yachts back over the bar before the ebb tide made conditions worse. The second day brought the wind, sea and sun that Salcombe is famous for. With a Force 3-4 out on the range, the conditions were perfect for the conclusion of the series. With a wind gradient across the course and more wind out to sea the flooding tide caused the left-hand side to pay for Chris Dodgshon in GBR 157, who won the first race of the day, Cockatoo 2 GBR 143 adding another second and first to previous day’s results.

Team Buzz in GBR 155 was back on the water after a midnight recovery from a sandy beach to gain two thirds. Race 5 was all change with the wind increasing inshore and stronger tide out to sea, the right-hand shore huggers of GBR 155, GBR 131 GBR 165 and GBR 157 split the fleet in two with Gary Richardson taking the win.

In the last race Team Cockatoo 2 tacked at the committee boat end to head out far right, judging the lay line perfectly GBR 143 rounded the first mark and did not look back. Mike Preston, Bryan Bottomley and Ron Preston in GBR 143 Cockatoo 2 defended their British Soling Championship title in 2004 by taking line honours in the last race along with consistent results over the series.

Overall Results

1 GBR 143 Preston, Bottomley, Preston, 7 2 1 2 1 (8) 1

2 GBR 5 Davies, Williams, Bowmer, 14 1 2 (6) 4 5 2

3 GBR 161 Loudon, Fountian, Bramer, 22 3 5 (8) 2 6 6

4 GBR 131 Fisher, Brown, Lavery, 24 5 4 5 (9) 3 7

5 GBR 155 Richardson , Taylor, Lees , 26 (15) 15 3 3 1 4