Even in the southern region of the UK, its still cold, but over the winter months our Solo fleet at Dell Quay Sailing club in West Sussex, have been keeping their spirits up, with a combination of Racing, Coaching sessions, Race officer workshops, Racing rule sessions and general Solo banter, using various social media platforms.
Over the past few years the Dell Quay SC Solo fleet has been growing steadily in numbers, and now boasts the second highest fleet in terms of racing numbers within Chichester Harbour, with our cousins at Hayling Island SC in a secure top spot.
During the spring and summer season the Solo fleet has regular Solo class racing on Sundays, and for the 2018 season, the tides are looking very favourable this year, and we have planned over 60 days of racing at Dell Quay. The fixture list for 2018 is one of the busiest for a number of years, with class racing, or training sessions, at every suitable high tide.
Starting in November 2017, the Dell Quay Winter Open series started – a series of 12 races ending in early February 2018, (so we can then lift the club racing marks and refurbish them ready for the start of the season in March 2018). Nearly all the regular Solo class group, completed all 10 races (we lost 2 due to a complete lack of wind) and qualified. Such was the enthusiasm, a number of DQSC Solo members during the winter have also update their boats with new sails, sailing clothing, and a few updated to newer FRP boats.
The importance of quality clothing layering system during the winter cannot be understated, complimented with the essential Rooster® kit
of the PRO AQUAFLEECE® BEANIE,
the SUPERSTRETCH NEOPRENE 2.5MM WET SOCKS
and of course, ideal for the Solo dinghy, the new PRO LACED BOOT
One of the success stories of keeping the enthusiasm going during the bleak winter months was to form a WhatsApp
group of the DQSC Solos, which nearly everyday sparked some Solo topic of discussion, ranging from the polish to use on a hull, what to wear, (the Rooster® range of clothing kit is a firm favourite within our club, with the benefit of local member Mark Harper on hand to give any technical advice, as the new Rooster® representative..) to differences in hull shapes, foils, sails and mast types.
In between the winter fortnightly races (due to daylight and tide constants) we would also regularly go out and have organised coaching and training sessions. Lots of starting sessions (3,2,1 go sequences) and windward / leeward courses. Swapping boats was also a good move, and we soon developed a slick way to swap boats on the water.
We use all the analysis tools that are currently available, namely small GPS logging devices kept in out front Rooster® DIAMOND OVERHEAD buoyancy aid
pockets and GoPro cameras. The GPS track data is downloaded and processed using a software product called Tacktracker, which is a unique software for the dinghy sailor to analyse the starts, beats, mark rounding, download legs, tactics and wind changes.
It was also important to have debriefing sessions, either in the club or the local pub - that happens to be only 100 metres from the main club and open at more times, than your local Tescos Express…(Other convenient stores also available in the area…).
So, our Dell Quay Sailing Club Solo sailors are now primed and ready for the season, and have already started planning which Opens they should attend. With the 2018 Solo Nationals only a short distance away at Hayling Island Sailing Club in July, and also one of the South Coast's top dinghy regattas, Chichester Harbour Race Week
, that runs from 13th to 17th August 2018 also at Hayling Island Sailing Club, it going to be a busy year for our group.
Photograph courtesy of Simon Verrall - DQSC