Autumn is on its way and my 4000 crew is laid up with a broken Achilles Tendon (falling down a hole in a slipway at Rutland) so my sailing is going to be largely back in a singlehander for the next 4 months:
So last minute last week I was offered the loan of a Solo complete with a D+
and Rooster MXL load path
sail for the end of seasons regatta. The Solo class have the recipe just right for some excellently attended regattas. Their approach to one day events appears to work for them. It certainly did for me.
I borrowed Martin Frary's boat who had this year won the Southern Championships and finished second in the Southern series. Here is a video of Martin at the Southerns:
He says the one day regattas work fantastically for him too as he is a convert from the Contender fleet who are traditionally a two day event class. However, this weekend did not work for him as he was required at home to ensure the family had some rooms to sleep in (#builder Martin) so I was the lucky one.
At 12.5 stone, Martin had taken my settings from the UK Nationals last year and added perhaps one half a hole of shroud tension. I was keen to see if the result of extra shroud had increased the downwind speed in the detriment to upwind speed. I had an inkling that I might let them off half a hole, but the first race was to be my test. The wind was relatively light, and the forecast was for some substantial wind later so the first race would not hurt if I left it as it was.
I can't get over how high Solo's point and how important the bias on the line is. I started close to the pin in the first race as it had about 5 degrees of bias and felt a little exposed on the left with a general forecast of it going right. My speed was good and I found a nice left shift to the top mark which took me around in second. The fleet were very well behaved with rule 42 - a marked difference to the year before. Chris Brown commented later that the rule 42 is now strongly policed even down to club races. The result was that I never felt under pressure downwind and the racing felt very fair.
Martin's new set up enabled me to point very high - but I felt I lacked the direct speed to punch out as much as I would have liked, but I persevered. A second in race one and a third in race two secured 3rd overall. Taxi was on form taking the first two races then packing up early. Michael Sims defended second well in race two and took the bullet in race three.
The expected right shift only arrived on the last beat of the third race - how typical it is that the so called definite forecast does not arrive until after the main racing. You have to race what you see.
I am impressed how well the Lightest of the Loadpath
sails has stood up to a season of traveling. The shape and performance was still great and it still generates some interest from lighter Solo sailors like me - or even sailors in Martin's size range. Check out winter season offers on the MXL Loadpath
and the super durable MXL with X Ply version