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Miracle Northern Championship at Delph Sailing Club

by Valerie and Nigel Reddecliffe 17 May 2016 12:31 BST 14-15 May 2016
Miracle Northern Championship at Delph © Stephen Starbuck

Hopes of a good sunny weekend's sailing were not disappointed as some 18 boats were gathered at Delph Sailing Club for the 'Miracle Northerns' on Saturday 14th May, when the traditional roaring conditions were but a memory and light winds in balmy sunshine were much appreciated by some!

However the fickle winds were a problem for the race organisers and a mystery to the visiting sea-sailors who found it a nightmare to read the directional changes..

Race 1 was subject of a general recall [unusual at Delph] and with a wind-shift occurring after the recall, the line was re-aligned and a second start was successful with but a single recall for 4007, Simon Reddecliffe and Mark Atherton who then managed to chase through much of the fleet but had to watch David & Michelle Raines (3740) take the lead at the windward mark followed by 3383 sailed by Wayne Atherton and Angela Sweeney hotly pursued by Jack Hopkins with Ross Southwell in 3835. To the chagrin of the Race Team, a carefully planned course changed altogether as predicted reaches became beats in less than a lap with consistent light winds then so changeable that it became very hard work to realise directional benefit and it was the expert spinnaker handling crews who made best progress at the cost of much personal energy, before the original winds returned to true prediction. Jack Hopkins won the race by four seconds from David Raines with Wayne in 3rd place.

Race 2 was held in very similar wind conditions, called for acute observation by helms and crew alike to react for the best choice of course between each marker buoy and whilst some might call it 'luck' the lady did not change her choice by much and this time David Raines took the honours followed by Jack Hopkins and Wayne maintaining third place.

Race 3 on Sunday morning saw 19 boats vying for a good start in slightly better winds as the fleet made good for the wind-ward mark with Jack Hopkins electing to start at the pin end and finding advantage to reach the mark "B" ahead of Wayne who set off from the Committee boat end of the line. However, during the run to second mark "X", National Champion Hannah Smith somehow managed to out-sail Wayne and then follow Jack towards third mark "G" where they both tracked the wrong direction around the buoy only to realise their mistake as Wayne sailed the correct rounding and took over into leading the fleet. At that point, Wayne's earlier 3rd positioning in the event was sitting heavily on his shoulders and he was not about to relinquish a lead situation! Behind them 4007, 4100 & 3740 became a close group. The remainder of the fleet suffered a dying wind and then a fresher wind from behind to see many a change of position. Wayne and Angela worked hard to retain their lead over the finish line and were followed by Miracle Chairman Louis Moulden with crew Eilidh Campbell - Jack Hopkins taking third place after his scramble to unwind at "G" with several other boats who unwittingly had done a follow–my-leader and altering the race process in dramatic fashion.

Race 4 saw a clean start with separate grouping at each end of the line and 4007 establishing an initial lead. However Hannah Smith in 3805 from the pin end managed to round the wind-ward mark first followed by 4100, 3835, 3383, 3740 before 4007 and others of that group. A clear lead with no mistakes at marks this time, but constant wind changes enabled 3383 to overtake Jack (who lost his spinnaker pole overboard and caused his retirement), Wayne achieved first at the line followed by Simon Evans and Chris Forrester (2772). David Raines made third position.

All to play for in race 5! The light fluky conditions were to make a big difference! A clean start allowed 4007, 2772, 3740, 3835 and 4100 to contest the first beat, Jack managing to snatch the lead as Simon Reddecliffe pursued and established quite a significant gap from the rest of the leading pack. All the bets were on 'Hoppy' having it in hand, but never count your chickens, Wayne was not for giving up and worked Angela's socks off on spinnaker gybes down to "x" to worry Jack nigh at his rudder at the last mark of the course. The two boats were contending for inches all the way to the line with the clubhouse spectators highly excited and egging on both crews to a photo finish.

Whilst Jack is no chicken, Wayne got the race and the Cup... by millimetres!

Overall Results:

1 Wayne Atherton & Angela Sweeny (Delph) 2283, 3pts
2 Jack Hopkins & Ross Southwell (Delph) 3835, 5pts
3 David Raines & Michelle Raines (L&LSC) 3740, 6pts
4 Hannah Smith & Nick Smith (Thornbury) 3805, 12pts
5 Louis Moulden & Eilidh Campbell (Delph) 4100, 13pts
6 Simon Evans & Chris Forrester (Delph) 2772, 14pts
7 Simon Reddecliffe & Mark Atherton (Delph) 4007, 17pts
8 Hayley Ramadhar & Zara Turtle (Shustoke) 4026, 19pts
9 Matt Donaldson & Jackie Chui (Delph) 4022, 25pts
10 Bill Oldbury & Hilary Baycroft (Delph) 1954, 29pts
11 Ashley Southwell & Molly Southwell (L&LSC) 4011, 31pts
12 Rob Cocking & Rachael Cocking (Delph) 3657, 32pts
13 Nigel Wilcock & Elisa Wilcock (Delph) 1314, 32pts
14 Brian Worrall & Sharon Worrall (Welton) 4063, 36pts
15 Rene Savelli & Deborah Massey (Delph) 3414, 36pts
16 Wendy Gaddes & David Mole (Delph) 3678, 43pts
17 Ian Brown & Patrick Glover (Delph) 4098, 44pts
18 Graham Clow & Andy Taylor (Delph) 3796, 44pts
19 Nigel Reddecliffe & Valerie Reddecliffe (Delph) 1355, 45pts