A strong turnout from our Club sailors and a number of visiting helms meant that an impressive fleet of 22 boats took to the water at Coombe Cellars on Saturday 18thAugust to contest the annual Teign Corinthian Yacht Club Solo Open Meeting (NSCA Western and Sea Series).
The forecast morning moderate breeze from the Southwest was a little slow to materialise but the Race Officer, Don Harrison, was able to set a fair course which comprised of two separate beats up the river connected by a short reaching hitch and a long run back down the river to the leeward mark to provide plenty of overtaking opportunities for the racers.
With a number of trigger happy helms, the first race got underway at the second attempt with two boats (Hearne/Stevenson) still OCS. John Steels (Starcross YC) and Doug Latta (Porchester SC) where the early pace setters with David Northcott (TCYC) also up amongst the leading group.
Further back, the chasing mid fleet became tightly bunched during a lull in the wind strength which resulted in some fiercely contested mass mark roundings! After two laps of racing, John Steels held on to finish ahead of Doug Latta, with another visitor, Craig Harris (Chew Valley), finishing third.
Dave Northcott was unlucky to miss out on a top three finish after a minor infringement which saw him retiring just yards from the line. Despite the generally benign conditions further drama was provided by various capsizes which kept the TCYC volunteers in the safety boats busy at times.
By the start of race 2 the wind had a settled at a pleasant South-westerly force 2 to 3 but with enough shifts to the left to keep everyone’s attention.
Doug Latta was the first to the windward mark but a momentary loss of concentration saw him sail around the next reaching mark the wrong way causing some mayhem for those following helms that did not make the same mistake! However, he recovered and together with Simon Jones (TCYC) distanced the fleet.
They were, however, caught and briefly passed by Peter Hearne on the final run but at the end of three laps he had to settle for third place with Doug Latta taking the win with Simon Jones a close second.
After 2 races sailed, Doug Latta was leading overall but with no discards and all 3 races to count the regatta was still wide open with Steels, Jones and Hearne not too far off.
The third race saw some close racing throughout the fleet but after the first lap Jones had pulled out a winning lead with Latta, Steels and Vernon Perkins (South Cerney) doing the chasing. It ended with Jones taking the win, Latta second followed by Steels.
So, with a first and two seconds the overall winner of the event was Doug Latta (Porchester SC).
First: Doug Latta (Porchester SC) 5 points
Second: Simon Johns (TCYC) 7 points
Third John Steels (Starcross YC) 8 points
After racing, the prize giving was accompanied by a splendid buffet organised by Annie Hearne and the winner, Doug Latta, who is also the current Solo Class Association President, was full of praise for the warm welcome the visitors had received at Coombe Cellars and the efforts of all the TCYC volunteers who had given their time and expertise to support this very successful event.