1st July – First Soling Race!

July 1, 2007 at 9:57 pm | Posted in News | Leave a comment

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The first of the month saw the start of a new class race at Clapham Model Yacht Club. With 6 Solings now completed, 5 were on the water on Sunday. The decision was made to race the new Soling fleet instead of the IOM, which we usually race on the first Sunday of the month. The wind was strong and gusty, and would have been just right for the IOM with their second rig, but the Solings surprised us all with their ability to handle the most extreme gust. Although Graham’s yacht did take on the appearance of a submarine at times! For a relatively cheap kit boat they sail very well, and stood up to all the weather could throw at them. With 5 new boats on the water there were the usual teething problem. The main one seems to have been the gooseneck jamming and twisting the mast, but in fairness and by referring back to the instructions that come with the kit, the correct alignment is mentioned (So the hole in the eye is visible when viewed from the side). Also when the boats do submerge in the strongest gusts, they aren’t as controllable as the IOM, and also do take on water. But when the deck is fully awash it’s not too much of a surprise!

In between the rain showers all 5 of the boats were able to get some tuning time, and perform running repairs, none of which were serious or terminal, it was reassuring that the Soling is such a hardy boat. With the rain still causing a problem, the decision was made to muster the boat and give a 10 second count at a suitable time in between gusts!
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First away from the line was Graham, closely followed by Ted. While Graham was trying to take photographs Ted passed at the windward mark and lead on the next two legs down to the leeward mark. On the final beat, Graham was able to retake the lead and keep it until he crossed the line. The start, which is always important, proved to be more important with this one design class. Because the boats are all so evenly matched, any time lost is hard to regain. It’s also crucial to maintain boat speed more with these boats for the same reason, if you are not sailing fast, there is always someone on your transom ready to take advantage.

The way these boats sail was neatly summed up by Jim “They are like a one metre six metre” Which might sound like a contradiction, but the 6M yachts are heavier, and carry their way through the water more that a IOM, which are quick to accelerate, but also quick to stop because of their relatively light weight. The Solings on the other hand are quite heavy for their one metre length, so they will carry their momentum further in the light patches.

While Graham straightened his backstay crane, Derek and Ted had a close battle in the second race, with Ted’s diamond rigging screw coming loose, leaving Ted to win the race with spreaders and shrouds flapping in the wind. Graham and Jim then had a bit of impromptu match racing before rain stopped play.
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