Skiff: Lee-on-the-Solent : Open 2012
Report by Richard Pelley &
The Lee-on-the-Solent open saw 11 competitors
enter the contest for what was to turn into an epic
The race officer set up for the first
race, to be shooed out of the way by some big yachty
club from Cowes. The course was reset to the western
end of the Lee frontage for another big boat event to
set their leeward mark just to windward of our windward
mark. This was lucky as the boats that sailed from Stokes
bay had under estimated the time it would take to get
to the race area and would have been late but for the
Racing got under way in 18 knots and a challenging sea
state. Up wind some were coping with the big steep and
confused chop when others were tested. Keen got to the
windward mark 1st, Pelley arriving on port 2nd but had
to let Poston round inside with a short hitch to the
spacer things were tight. On the downwind leg the difficulties
started with fine demonstration of the different ways
in which a Musto can be capsized. There were low speed
trawling with the kite, right up to the high speed pitch
pole, even Bruce was caught out.
Poston took the win (pretty good for a pond sailor)
then Bruce 2nd and Wright 3rd.
There was a bit of a wait for race 3 due
to patrol cover dealing with assisting boats back to
shore and search party for Keen.
Race 2 was sailed in slightly less wind
but still very testing Bruce 1st, Pelley 2nd and Poston
Race 3 saw big breeze and increased seas,
all but 3 B14ís headed for the beach and it was hard
with 7 finishers in the Musto fleet.
After a long day of racing the competitors
retired for a well-earned rest or to assess the damage
the day had brought.
Wind conditions were similar to Saturdays
racing with average wind speeds of 18-20kts. Pelley
(the rubber ball thanks Dan V) showed that being very
short for a Musto sailor isnít disadvantage as long
as you get your maneuverers sorted and rounded 1st with
a bit of a lead. Keen and Wright followed (Stokes Bay
Golden Shoot Out). Wright went for a swim at the hoist;
Pelley went conservative and was over hauled by Bruce
by the end of the run. Keen pulled out a lead up the
next windward leg, well his World Champion. Pelley didnít
give up and by the end of the next run things were back
together. The leaders were now well in front and split
tacks up the last beat. Keen rounded a few boat lengths
1st then went for another swim at the hoist????? Third
place was nowhere to be seen so no need for the kite
until after the gybe for Pelley. Keen was now gunning
down the run in big breeze with Pelley still leading
until a capsize at the drop. Poston used his head and
pulled though to leave Bruce 1st, Poston 2nd and Pelley
robbed by his own incompetence in 3Rd.
Still windy and the fleet further reduced by breakages
started, with Pelley and Wright over the line. Pelley
went back Wright didnít.
Places changed mainly due to swimming even Keen ending
up 2nd last after another swim at the first hoist, this
is a weakness Bruce and needs work. Bruce took the win
(yawn), Poston 2nd and Molesworth 3rd.
With a bit of delay due to shallow water,
even more wind now averaging over 22kts and gusting
into the upper twenties, the sailors from Stokes bay
headed for home. This left a hard core of 3 Datchet
sailors to make up the field for the last race.
Dave Poston continues the tale as the
Stokes Bay team ran for cover ....
So it was just the datchet trio of myself,
Paul and Sergei left, plus Nigel walbank. It was swims
galore, at the first mark it was me, sergei, paul, nigel
I think, Nigel went in and lost his mast. I stayed in
the lead until the last downwind when I swam with the
kite and Sergei got past. However he wussed out going
kiteless and I went for it and got past him, rounding
the last mark ahead. I then stalled on the last tack
and he beat me across the line by a few metres!
Hats off the Datchet Massive for completing
all races in what can only be described as BRUTAL conditions.