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Miracle Northern Championships at Delph Sailing Club

by Val Reddecliffe, Wayne Atherton & Louis Moulden 24 Jul 2015 11:15 BST 16-17 May 2015
Just think how fast they could have gone with their spinnakers up at the Miracle Northern Championships at Delph © Steve Starbuck

Sponsored by the Bank Top Brewery, Bolton

The 2015 Miracle Northern Championships took place at Delph Sailing Club a few months ago but unfortunately those of us that had sailed in the event were at the time too cold, wet and tired to write an account and time passed and our memories faded and nothing got written.

All seemed lost, but then by good fortune it emerged that Val Reddecliffe had documented much of what had happened in an email to a friend, so using her email along with the combined jottings of two Delph sailors, better late than never, here is an account of what happened.

Indeed, we wouldn't want any Miracle sailors at other clubs thinking that the Delph Miracle fleet had capsized and sunk without trace. We are very much still here and have recovered from the experience and would like to invite you all to come and have a go next year if you think you are tough enough!

Anyway, what a weekend – wow! Well done to Wayne Atherton and Angela Sweeney who won the five race championship comfortably with David and Michelle Raines second and Simon Reddecliffe sailing with Mark Atherton third.

As has already been alluded to, the conditions this year were challenging. Because of the forecast of 20 to 25 knots, we only had two visiting boats - David and Michelle Raines who sailed both days and Dave Butler sailing with Ross Flemming who sailed only on the Sunday.

In the first race of the two races held on the Saturday, Wayne with Angela and David with Michelle set off up the middle of the course while the rest of the fleet went up the right hand side. When the boats met up again at the windward mark it was only the boats who had gone up the middle and Louis Moulden sailing with Clare Charnock who were still in contention. There was close racing between these boats on the reach to mark two whereupon Wayne and Angela put up their spinnaker, created a slight lead downwind and then survived a challenging gybe at mark three.

In contrast the pursuing boats opted not to fly their spinnakers and to safety tack. This meant Wayne and Angela got clean away from their pursuers. On an upwind leg Rob Cocking lost his crew Bob Larking overboard but fortunately managed to retrieve him and sail on to complete the race - just as well really, as otherwise the barbeque team on Saturday night would have been a man down.

Race two saw a good clean start and Wayne and Angela took the lead. Louis and Clare had a bad capsize near the gybe mark, causing David and Michelle to capsize on top of them. The latter pair were soon up and away again but not so Louis and Clare who ended up on the wall. Fortunately no damage was done but they ended up being towed in. This left Simon and Mark in second and Rob and Bob in third.

Then, as it often does at Delph, the wind dropped, the sun came out and conditions improved for the barbeque on the Saturday evening. Small mercies.

Sunday saw similar conditions to the Saturday. Martin and Mavis Bathe tried one beat of one race and thought blow this for a lark and came straight back in. Thinking the wind had dropped they tried again in another race and almost sailed a whole lap before realising that it hadn't and retired for a second time. Louis and Clare also had to retire, leaving those that were enjoying the conditions to get on with it.

In race three, there was a three-way tussle between Wayne and Angela, David and Michelle and Dave and Ross with the lead swapping several times. Wayne and Angela eventually established a lead and crossed the line to secure their third victory and to hence secure the championship.

However, second place was till up for grabs, and in race four, Dave and Ross took the lead. Rob and Bob started well but slipped back. Dave and Ross, having mastered the conditions were sailing well and establishing a good lead until they had a problem with their spinnaker.

Wayne and Angela, who had been dawdling along with the championship already in the bag mounted a charge up the final beat, overtook David and Michelle and Rob and Bob and were catching Dave and Ross who just managed to hang on to take first. Simon and Mark were sailing well until Simon got the spinnaker pole stuck down his buoyancy aid and the boom knocked him off his feet causing them to lose ground and they ended up last.

In the final race of the Championship, race five, Wayne and Angela took an early lead and led all the way to the finish. In the race for second place behind them Dave and Ross were having a tussle with David and Michelle until a breakage on the former's boat forced them to retire leaving David and Michelle to finish an unchallenged second in the race and to secure second place overall in the championship.

Finally, Delph Sailing Club's Miracle Fleet would like to thank Angela Sweeney and the Bank Top Brewery for sponsoring the event and those who helped run the event: Dorri Moulden and Rachel Cronshaw, Ruby and Zoe Harty, Martin and Mavis Bathe, Rob, Roz and Rachael Cocking and Bob Larking for helping in the galley and bar, John Cronshaw, Peter Evans, Albert Smith, Patrick Manning and John Haines for acting as race team and Steve Starbuck for taking the photos (hopefully that's everyone – sorry if someone was missed out).

Overall Results:

PosHelmCrewSail no.R1R2R3R4R5D1D2Pts
1Wayne AthertonAngela Sweeny338311121213
2David RainesMichelle Raines374024332248
3Simon ReddecliffeMark Atherton400742453549
4Dave ButlerRoss Flemming4060882188811
5Rob CockingBob Larking1314535445511
6Louis MouldenClare Charnock3835368888817
7Martin BatheMavis Bathe59888888824