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Marblehead Vane weekend at Fleetwood Model Yacht Club

by Tony Wilson on 30 Oct 28-29 October 2017

For Saturday we were going to have a westerly, that's fine, but at 26 mph gusting to 40 mph, it might be challenging, if the Championships ever goes ahead. Sunday should be a little more pleasant, swinging to the North and only 15 mph but with the temperature dropping by a few degrees.

Entries for the weekend weren't too bad, seven skippers in total. We had the Bell brothers David and Robert from Wales along with dad, just to keep an eye on his lads. Damien Akroyd from over Yorkshire way, near Huddersfield. The Fleetwood guys Eddie Greenwood and Peter Whiteside. Dave Mathers along with his 'Black Prince' oldie from the seventies and Alan Oxlade from Southern England with a really old boat 'Mariette' from the 50's. It turned out his boat previously named Ballerina was an original Fleetwood design and had even been sailed by our Derek Priestly in 1966 when he was still a teenager.

The wind didn't look too bad although most had their first C rigs fitted. Peter was telling me he had three in the C size. Helpers were a plentiful and meant we could keep up a good pace with guys with poles spread out along each bank.

The first beat up the lake and we had our first breakage. The oldest Vintage boat had it's mast snap at the foot. This attracted half a dozen helpful hands as we couldn't let our distant traveller down, being that he had driven a long way and had apparently took him all day due to heavy traffic.

David was sailing 'Asterix' while his brother Rob was sailing an earlier version the Pixel, both boats designed by John Roberts and they are fast. Peter was sailing a Starkers, as also was Damian and Eddie who had borrowed one of the same from Derek in all Red attire.

An early lunch was called as a smaller suit was required with the wind getting up, it was 11:30 and we had only paced up and down four times. Eric was hoping for a full seven heats on Saturday and the same again on Sunday, so that each Skipper would have had their fair share of a Weather beat start position.

It was a bit of a mixed bag of results and a hard call to guess who would be leading by the end of the day. Eddie seemed to be surprising a few of us with a boat that he would have not sailed to often. Mid afternoon and a couple were re rigging their boats yet again. Peter told me he had now gone through his full C range of sails, one to three.

Damian seemed to be struggling on the last two beats, it went better on one tack and was hopeless on the other. Then he found that his mast would need a bit of attention as it was working loose. The hard conditions were certainly testing the worthiness of all the machines. Peter then found that one of his mast shrouds had pulled out, so decided along with Damian to leave the Run leg until later.

By about 4pm worn out Skippers returned to the club hut for repairs and to arrange for an evening supper down the local pub to discuss the daily sailing in the strong 30 mph winds.

Sunday and a prompt start of 10 am was a lot more like a nicer day. Extra helpers had been drafted in by the clear blue skies, and we were looking at 10-12 mph blowing roughly from the bridge end, with a slight bias from the pump station.

At times there were about seven Pole helpers along the sand hill side with little to do except for the odd stray boat and the return Beat leg as the favoured side was by the road.

By about 2:45 it was getting near to the end of the competition. A very close fought battle had the tops guys separated by just a couple of points.

Eddie was on 38 points and so was Peter. Damian and Peter still had a rerun from the previous day. If Peter lost out he would tie with Eddie and need a sail off for second.

Peter won the beat leg, but only received 2 points as it had to be in the Run direction from the previous day. This now put him on equal points of 40 with Rob and required a sail off with Rob. It had all got very exiting for a nice finish for the day. Two beat legs are sailed for each to take best chosen start position. If each win one, then an additional run leg decides.

Peter lost the first leg as Rob just got the edge on pointing slightly higher towards the finish. The second leg was also taken by Rob and he effectively had engaged the guy spring for the last couple of feet to take the day.

Please enjoy the videos for the full feel of the enjoyable weekend had by all.

Nationals and Commodores Cup results:

1st - Rob Bell 40 pts + Sail off
2nd - Peter Whiteside 40 pts
3rd - Eddie Greenwood 38 pts

Highest points win for Saturday - Northern District Trophy - Rob Bell
Highest points win for Sunday - Clapham Cup - Eddie Greenwood

Saturday Vintage winner - David Mathers
Sunday Vintage winner - Alan Oxlade plus overall Vintage winner for the weekend

Model makers trophy - Eddie Greenwood for being a Newbie to the high results

Joint team winners (Team of Two) - Damian Akroyd and Eddie Greenwood 63 points

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