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Enterprise and Solo Open - Sunday 2nd June 2013

posted 3 Jun 2013, 10:49 by Graham Morley
Enterprise and Solo Open at Minima Yacht Club.

Fantastic weather and a good fleet of Solos distinguished the Enterprise and Solo Open meeting at Minima Yacht Club at the weekend (Sunday June 2nd).
With a good north wind which is unimpeded by the trees and buildings on the banks of the Kingston reach of the Thames, we had a thoroughly entertaining day's sailing. Although the wind strength fluctuated throughout the day, to the point where you could predict its return after a lull, it never became gusty and the last couple of laps of the final race had everyone out on their toe straps in the sun enjoying a glorious force 3-4 which really blew the winter cobwebs away.

The course on Minima's north-south home reach had the top and bottom marks offset for the two classes, with the intention of keeping the competitions apart. However the clean wind at the rear of the fleet for the relatively long run had the effect of allowing the back markers to catch up, leading to crowding and excitement as they approached the gybe mark. The massed Solos made a brave sight, spread out across the river as the Enterprises, beating back from their mark a few hundred metres upstream, tore into them almost every lap going fast close-hauled on the starboard tack. Happily there were no collisions to speak of.

It was fun, and the first couple of races were not arduous with the wind more in the force 0-1-2 range, so there were no discards, and the contest was full on for all three races. In the Enterprises Steve Collins, guest starring at the helm of crew Brian Cheetham's Almaviva, won the first race, but the lone visitor Chris Rowsell, from Lensbury, took the second so everything was to play for as the wind got up in the third, with Steve taking the prize. The honours were contested by half the fleet, with several of the other Minima boats up with the leaders at one time or another particularly on the run, when at different times either the bank or the centre was favoured by the pulsing breeze.
Godfrey Clark from Fishers Green SC took the first two races in the Solos, but was relegated to third in the last race behind Littleton's Julian Rickards and Mike Dray.
Racing finished in good time, allowing competitors to enjoy the hospitality of Minima's beautifully renovated bar/balcony looking at its best in the afternoon sunshine, courtesy of grants from Sport England and the London Marathon Trust and a lot of hard work by the members of this self-propelled sailing club.

The only pity was that most of the Enterprises in the Thames Valley Bowl circuit decided to stay away -- very much their loss -- but with eight Enterprises and 13 Solos on the river many more might have spoiled a cracking day's sail for the rest of us. Absentees included three Ents from Twickenham who were towed home in the morning, possibly smarting from their 2-0 class defeat in Saturday's Firkin Trophy team race between Minima and Twickenham's Solos and Enterprises. Minima won 3-1 overall. Of course they may have over-indulged in the contents of the Firkin of London Pride.


Enterprise Open (Thames Valley Bowl/River Series):
  1. Steve Collins, Brian Cheetham (Minima)
  2. Chris Rowsell, Teresa Burton (Lensbury)
  3. Alex and David Cane (Minima)
Solo Open (Thames Valley Series)
  1. Godfrey Clark
  2. Julian Rickards
  3. Mike Dray

John Forbes, MYC.
(pictures to follow, I hope..)