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Plas Menai 2015

Miracle Open Meeting at Welton Sailing Club

by Ian Morrison on 22 Apr 2012 14-15 April 2012
Starts of race 2 at the Miracle Open Meeting at Welton © Robert MacFarlane

A cold but bright and occasionally showery weekend was the backdrop to the Miracle Open Meeting at Welton SC on 14th /15th April 2012.

Lunch of home-made soup, bread, and bacon sandwiches was available from the catering team on arrival, with the option of rhubarb crumble and cream or ice cream for sailors not worried about the weight load in their boat.

The pre-race briefing and the start of the first race was held back slightly as the Humber Bridge had been closed by the police and one helm and crew had had to make quite a long detour via Selby to get to Welton. Once the briefing had been given the boats were soon on the water and the first race got under way with eight starters. The wind was a good force 3, gusting at times in the squalls to a force 4, mainly from the north, though occasionally veering quite noticeably east of north for longish periods of time, making it difficult to set a definite beat. For anyone unsure of the lay-out of the buoys at Welton one of the safety boats did wayfinder duty, showing the way to each mark of the course in turn as the boats approached each one. The race proceeded without incident, though mark number 1 was in the lee of a group on large trees and the clubhouse and tested the fleet in their light wind skills. Martin & Jack Lewis (3834) took an early lead and kept it with ease all the way through. A downpour half way through the race was not enough to dampen the sailors’ enthusiasm, though the clubhouse was a welcome retreat for tea and coffee at the end.

The wind strength and direction for race 2 were very similar to race 1, but a slight change of course away from mark number1 did not prove to be a good choice on the part of the race committee as the wind round the new mark was far from steady, it being in the wind shadow of other trees and hence very fluky in strength and direction. (Race committees can’t get it right all of the time!)

A ninth competitor join the fleet for race 2 Brian & Michael Henline (1885) and was so eager to get a good start that they were over the line early and had to round the outer distance marker to restart. Still ever eager this resulted in a near capsize, but they did recover without getting too wet. Shortly after the start of the second lap one boat Jon & Rachel Willars (3793) stalled on a tack and Martin & Mavis Bathe (59) though on starboard, had to take evasive action to avoid a collision. This resulted in the helm being dunked in the water but he managed to hold on to the tiller and mainsheet and recover his composure and sail on. One boat retired after lap 1 Angela & Paul Featherstone (3720) as the helm Angela had not had a lot of experience in strong winds and was finding the strong gust were testing her to her limit. Martin & Jack Lewis (3834) again established a commanding lead and maintained it throughout.

Sunday’s weather was drier than Saturday’s but still with a cold and blustery wind. Two further boats join the competition but we also lost two from Saturday’s fleet.

Race 3 saw a couple of incidents, a capsize by Richard & Todd Brameld (3131) but they quickly recovered, and a capsize by Jon & Rachel Willars after tacking in response to a strong hail of “Starboard” from Brian & Michael Henline. On righting their boat they were half full of water and retired to the jetty to bail out.

Although strongly pursued by one of Sunday’s new entrants Wayne & Mark Atherton in 3383 flying an impressive black spinnaker, 3834 [Martin & Jack Lewis] again established an early lead and maintained it to win race 3 quite comfortably. It seemed irrelevant whether they flew their spinnaker or not, they just forged ahead and no-one could catch them. The weekend’s honours were now theirs.

Race 4 saw another minor course change, another blunder by the race committee (!), the new mark being surrounded once again by very fluky winds and half the following reach being in the lee of the headland. There were no further incidents in this race and once again Martin & Jack Lewis went on to a commanding win.

At this point we all came ashore for a well-earned break and lunch of cottage pie and bramble and apple pie and ice cream, again thanks to Judy and her catering team (who also kept us supplied with hot tea/coffee and cakes throughout the two days, whenever there was a break in the sailing).

The racing committee reset the earlier course for race 5 which proceeded without incident. Although it was now academic Martin & Jack Lewis still went on to win, flying along on some of the stronger gusts, with or without their spinnaker up. The contest was now on for second and third places, with Richard & Todd Brameld coming in second and 3383 Wayne & Mark Atherton third.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelm & CrewClubRace 1Race 2Race 3Race 4Race 5Pts
1st3834Martyn & Jack LewisDraycote111113
2nd3131Richard & Todd BrameldBeaver323327
3rd3383Wayne & Mark AthertonLeigh & LowtonDNSDNS2237
4th4013Dave Butler & Andrew YatesWelton234449
5th3725David & Jean ReedGirton5455DNS14
6th59Martin & Mavis BatheDelph4566DNS15
7th3793Jon & Rachel WillarsWelton66RET7618
8th1885Brian & Michael HenlineWeltonDNS779519
9th3670Gillan & Kenneth GibsonThornton StewardDNSDNSDSQ8727
10th3884Mike & Joe BurtonWelton7DNSDNSDNSDNS31
11th3720Angela & Paul FeatherstoneWelton8RETDNSDNSDNS32

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