COSTA DEL SOLENT CONDITIONS FOR NATIONAL SONATA CHAMPIONSHIPS – Island Echo
The strong conditions of the Costa del Solent hosted the 19 One Design Hunter Sonatas who made the trip to the Island Sailing Club in Cowes to join the National Fleet of 12 Solids for the 2020 Sonata National Championships carried over supported by Goodall Roofing in their first back in the Solent for 15 years. .
With the event starting on Sunday, visiting boats had time to travel and take to the water on the mainland (thanks to Drivers Wharf for their support in setting up and safely exiting all boats on time). Special mention to Tom White who sailed 140 nm from Mevagissey to attend the event!
When Sunday arrived, the fleet headed for the Solent at 25-32 knots southwest in a regatta over the choppy waters of Bramble Bank. Safe and consistent handling of the boat was key for the day, with Steve Goacher and his team on ‘Eric the Boat’ showing off their experience in grooming the boat throughout the course and taking a 1,2,1 in all 3 races on day 1, with Max Richards in Little Scarlett (saved from an argument with an angle grinder and a trip to the nautical scrapyard last summer) maintaining the pressure with a commendable 2,1,2.
Considering the age of the boats, it was miraculous to see the boats go through the strong conditions of the day with minimal damage (just 1 mast and 1 rudder!). Meanwhile, in the lifting keel fleet, Jim Lawrence and the team aboard Fiddler’s Elbow produced a respectable 1,2,1 to lead the way after 3 races.
Monday morning soon arrived, bringing with it a few headaches and body aches following an opportunity to explore Cowes the night before and a 15 knot chill from the northwest and associated complexities for Race Officer Richard Palmer and his team. From the start of Race 3 it was clear that the slightly more maneuverable breeze was going to compress the fleet, making already fantastic races even tighter.
This was especially highlighted by the 3 different race winners for the day, with race 4 going to Max Richardson and the team in ‘Little Scarlett’ having had a close battle with team ‘Joey’, race 5 going to Steve Goacher and the team in ‘Eric the Boat’ and Race 6 to a dominant Mark Angell and Team in ‘Minim’ (Another boat saved by the class association and masterfully restored by Mark).
Day 3 delivered a similar gift from the wind gods (not so much champagne sailing, but still a very pleasant bitter variegated type day). After a series of sequential wind changes prompted a series of postponements and an unorthodox method of brand recovery from the RIB of brand pose, a surge of enthusiasm led to some general recalls before the race. does not finally begin.
With early favorites “Little Scarlett” and “Eric the Boat” trading blows at the front of the fleet, the pecking order of the boats behind was slowly building up, with Lucian Stones “White Noise” showing the type of shape who earned their a podium spot at the 2018 Nationals at Medway, and ‘Minim’ showing the pace that delivered the goods for COVID has stood the Cowes Open Meeting in 2020 and ‘Joey’ posting sufficient results for them keep in chocolates.
As the final day approached with everyone playing across the fleet, the pressure was on “Little Scarlett” to keep their nose clean and keep their discard pile available for the 13th they suffered in Race 5 afterwards. a starting line with ‘Minim’ and ‘Joey’ (never start next to your local rivals…). 15-20 knots southwest and the reversal of the tide provided ideal conditions to fight for the end points.
In the end, “Little Scarlett” produced a consistent sailing master class to pass 3 balls on the last day, while “Eric the Boat” was right behind to take a comfortable second, followed by another consistent day for. “Joey” to round off the podium.
A podium finish for Joe Cross and the ‘Duette’ team, on his return to the class after winning the nationals in 2018 shows a worrying return to form to watch out for!
Special mentions have to go to the crew of “Maverick” for putting together the youngest crew in the event and blending it with excellent teams in difficult conditions, to “Araya” for coming back on the water after losing their rig in Race 2 and the lifting keel fleet to stand up to the fin keelboats in difficult conditions!
Thanks to the Island Sailing Club for an exhibition on running a sailing event, but especially to Mark Angell for his tireless efforts to keep this event running at the level it has reached, to Richard Palmer for his excellent management of racing, to Cowes Harbor Commission for providing docking to the fleet and also to Luke Goodall and Goodall Roofing for their overall support of the event.