We were delighted to have been able to sponsor the flying fifteen Northern Area Championships on the 21st and 22nd May in Bassenthwaite sailing Club. The following is a report of the event.
Flying Fifteen Northern Area Championship
Bassenthwaite SC 21/22 May – Sponsored by Wot-Tac
Despite an intimidating forecast of winds up to 50 mph accompanied by rain, 16 visiting Flying Fifteens joined 6 home boats at Bassenthwaite SC on the 21st / 22nd May, to contest the FF Northern Area Championship.
Dave Gebhard felt that the forecast was more accurate than he would have wished when he found himself hanging on to the gunnel of his boat in the dinghy park, trying to get all the wheels of his trailer on the ground at the same time.
At the briefing the Race Officer suggested that the breeze was forecast to build throughout the weekend and that he was prepared to set a course if the fleet felt inclined to race. After much pursing of lips and counting of white horses, the fleet declined.
However, the conditions eased and the Race Officer suggested that it was a case of, ‘now or never’. So, with some trepidation, the fleet launched.
Two races were sailed, back to back, in testing conditions. An unstable SW breeze brought both vicious squalls, and moments of relative calm. Periodic rain fell from the leaden sky, which occasionally lightened to reveal a watery sun.
Steve Goacher, despite his professed reluctance to sail, showed complete mastery of the conditions. In the first race he and Phil Evans rounded the windward mark just behind David and Sally McKee and passed them on the broad reach that followed. Nigel and Gavin Tullet were close behind in third. These three boats soon separated themselves from the rest of the fleet, but Steve Goacher and Phil Evans powered away, eventually winning by a complete leg of the course.
This pattern was repeated in the second race, with the same three boats taking the podium places.
For the rest of the fleet the main tactical decision was whether or not to fly the kite; for many the answer was, ‘NOT’. Several boats were knocked down by the powerful gusts, and one was blown clean out of the water (literally) before landing on its side.
By Sunday morning the forecast was more favourable and the wind had dropped slightly from the previous day. The Race Officer saw no reason to delay and elected to start on time. A weary and battered fleet was less enthusiastic and only ten boats came to the starting area. Significantly, in terms of the results, many of the leading boats failed to compete on the Sunday.
Goacher and Evans did, however, and were leading the first race by a margin, when their championship hopes abruptly evaporated. They were broad reaching on starboard, when a boat sailing upwind tacked onto port and collided with their starboard shroud. They elected to come ashore and check for damage as there was real concern about the mast.
And then there were nine.
The race was finally won by Nigel and Gavin Tullet with Simon Robinson and David Vassey second.
The fourth and last race was contested by only 7 boats, as conditions continued to take their toll. This was again won by the Tullets with Robinson and Vassey second.
At the prize giving those who had endured were gratified to be rewarded by the gift of a Wot-Tac Course Calculators, kindly provided by Wot-Tac, the event sponsors.