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Flying Fifteen Worlds Qualifier at Ullswater Yacht Club

by Sue Giles on 29 Jun 2010 26-27 June 2010
Flying Fifteen Worlds Qualifier at Ullswater © Alan Henderson / www.fotoboat.com

As the England football team prepared to play Germany in their final World Cup game, a showdown of a different kind was taking place on Ullswater at the Flying Fifteen Open Meeting and World Qualifier event.

Going into the fifth and final race on Sunday afternoon, three boats had a chance of winning and despite chalking up only one first compared to his rivals’ two, consistency won the event for Graham Vials and Chris Turner of Derwent Reservoir SC, counting 1, 2, 3, 3.

Just two points behind were Steve Goacher and Phil Evans of Royal Windermere YC in second place, despite winning the final ‘showdown’ race, and third were Dave McKee and Chris Hewkin of Dovestone SC.

A total of 32 boats from all over the country entered the event run by Ullswater Yacht Club and all weekend the bright sunshine showed the ‘Garda of the North’ at its best and the shifty South-Westerlies provided demanding racing conditions.

Race officer Mike Adams, who was kind enough to step in and take charge at the last minute, took the fleet South, round the corner from the clubhouse for Saturday’s racing with great views of the mountains towards Helvellyn.

After two windward-leeward races, with the light fluctuating winds leading to many place changes, Fifteen veteran Goacher and ‘new kid on the block’ Vials both had a first under their belts but it was still anybody’s event.

On Sunday the race area was moved to the top end of the lake and three races were held in fresher conditions. Again the courses were all windward-leeward, which suited the long thin lake, and two firsts by Dave McKee put him in contention.

As the wind freshened even more, the final race was the decider and a third by Vials was enough for him to win overall on 9 points.

Several Fifteen sailors left their boats at Ullswater to return the next weekend, July 3 and 4, to take part in the club’s biggest event of the year, the annual long distance race for the highly-prized Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy.

One of the most spectacular sailing events in the North, the Birkett was rated in number eight in the top 50 ‘must do’ sailing regattas by Yachts and Yachting. The quest for the ‘Holy Grail’ of a Birkett win attracts keen sailors from national champions to novices from all over the country in a huge range of different boats all racing the full length of Ullswater and back on both days.

The unique race was established in 1963 to commemorate the successful defence of the right of public access to Ullswater which was threatened with reservoir status in the early 1960s. The Birkett is open to all monohulls with a recognised handicap rating and organisers expect the entries to be over 200.

All boats, from the smallest dinghies to high performance racing machines and cruisers, race from one mass start with the line stretching across the full width of the lake. They race down the lake, a distance of about seven miles, past Birkett Crag and the plaque to the memory of Lord Birkett who made the decision to stop the lake becoming a reservoir, round an island at the southern end, and back. Then they do it all again on Sunday – with both races to count. For details visit www.ullswateryachtclub.org

Flying Fiften Open Results

1. 3948, Graham Vials and Chris Turner, Derwent Reservoir SC, 9 points
2. 3821, Steve Goacher and Phil Evans, Royal Windermere YC, 11 points
3. 3905, Dave McKee and Chris Hewkin, Dovestone SC, 16 points
4. 3940, Terry Crumpton and John Mathie, Derwent Reservoir SC, 18 points

First Classic: 617, Graham Lamond and Scott Train, Ripon SC

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