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GP14 Masters and Youth Championships sponsored by Lennon Racewear

by Hugh Devereux on 31 Oct 28-29 October 2017

Twenty visitors joined 15 home boats for the 2017 GP14 Masters and Youth championships at Budworth Sailing Club. The conditions could not have been more different across the two days! Saturday delivered the forecast punchy wind blowing 20 to 25 knots from the West down the length of the lake.

With an excellent turnout of 24 entrants for the Masters Championship and 11 entrants for the Youth Championship, some sailors were a little distracted during the initial briefing as John Hayes and Greg Thomas ventured out to test Budworth Mere and found the big gusts with severe wind shifts pretty hard going – leading to a couple of capsizes! This certainly gave a few of the sailors ashore pause for thought, however that didn't stop the huge cheers that went up at their expense!

The Youth fleet started first, and showed the way for the Masters. Robert Richardson and Steven Wilson from Royal Windermere took a commanding lead and were really flying. Brother and sister, Joel and Poppy James, from Southport Sailing club were strong and Nick Devereux and Tom Wallwork from Budworth SC/ UPSC were struggling with breakages but still maintained to take 3rd place.

The Masters followed with only a few managing to complete the two races without one (or more!) capsizes. The first start was clean and Mark Platt and Malcolm Marsden made good progress up the first beat, with Andy Smith and Phil Hodgkins chasing, and local sailors Russ and Ali Cormack were also close chasing the leaders. However the downwind leg encouraged sailing by the lee, and several of the leading boats death rolled in hard as the gusts hit. Andy and Phil maintained and developed a good lead while John Hayes and Greg Thomas from Southport took advantage of the gusty board wiper to romp home in second. Hugh Devereux and Malcolm Bird from Budworth were surprised that they didn't tip it in and even more surprised that they came home 3rd. The Irish contingent of Keith Louden and Alan Thompson came home in 4th.

Four boats decided not to compete in Race 1, of which Craig Hewett and Peter Guest felt that the control of the small rib was a far more congenial place to be as they offered their support to those who went seeking the local trout.

Those coming ashore were either grinning broadly or struggling with bruises. A hot soup was served by the Budworth Galley, which rejuvenated the fleets. Several were heard to say over lunch that the wind appeared to be easing... but as we headed out to the start for the second race, this was a false impression as the squalls became sharper and more sustained.

You know it's going to be interesting when you're reaching around the start area and you can't see for spray and when momentary glimpses are gained, you can see the whites of the eyes of your competitors coming at you on the opposite gybe and you're not sure if you dare to move the tiller!

Race 2 started cleanly again. PRO John Chapman kept the course the same, to avoid confusion in the testing conditions. It presented two good upwind sections, a downwind and two reaches, with a gybe in the middle.

The Youth fleet showed the way again, with Robert and Steven displaying their mastery of the strong wind conditions, coming home cleanly in 1st place. Nick and Tom continued to drive forward in the fleet getting a 2nd place with Joel and Poppy James coming home in 3rd.

There are few photos of day 1, as everyone was too busy, but the number of sail changes and boat repairs bore witness to the challenges. Race 2 of the Masters saw a different crew in the race lead, with the championship's eldest helm Ian Willis at 74 with crew Keith Dutton winning the race - a stunning achievement in the wild conditions. Mark Platt and Malcolm Marsden made a better job of this race coming in 2nd with Andy and Phil filling 3rd. Of the 16 starters, 12 finished.

Phil and Emma Hackney from Budworth, only sailing in GP14's for the last 18 months, summed up the race:
"We were on a three sail run to B a freak huge gust caught us - I say freak because it not only pushed us, it lifted us - I swear we were momentarily airborne- I felt no resistance on the tiller; a second later the boat 'landed' and our inexperience of sailing GP's kicked in regarding weight distribution as we felt instant deceleration and watched the bow disappear under the lake. Anticipating the inevitable dismasting we quickly shifted our backsides and fortunately the bow popped up. I politely encouraged Emma to get the kite down 'NOW!'. We overshot the mark, missed the jetties and through sheer luck, not judgement, stayed upright." Phil also commented that it's the only time he has actually seen his burgee blow clean off the top of the mast!

The evening brought a well-deserved rest for those who had sailed, and everyone enjoyed the excellent evening meal and entertainment from "Elephant Juice". There seemed to still be enough energy to pull some wild shapes round the dance floor.

Sunday morning brought sunshine and light winds from the North (mostly!). Some say that in the Cheshire sailing dialect the word Budworth translates to "Whoa where did that come from?" Some big changes in both wind strength and direction saw considerable place changing throughout the fleet, with some gaining/losing 6 places on a single leg! It was all about finding the pressure which sometimes meant sailing two sides of a triangle or in one case three sides of a square to avoid the dead spots.

With the sun out, sailors were in good spirits, in the Masters Andy and Phil regained the top spot, with Russ and Ali in 2nd and Mark and Malcolm keeping it together in 3rd. Those positions changed throughout with Russ and Ali recovering from at least 8th position to finish 2nd.

The Youths had two races in the morning, giving the Masters a long and a little restless lunch break, while they watched the youths in decreasing patchy wind. It was all change in the fleet as the conditions played to Megan Hicklin and Ollie Goodheads' strengths, putting in two firsts. It was close racing throughout with the lead and all the places in between changing throughout the race. Race 3 was won by Meg and Ollie with Nick and Tom 2nd and Ben and Gabe Hill putting in a strong performance in 3rd.

Lower down the fleet Budworth sailors Craig and Diane Hewitt never seen on the water when a G&T can't be balanced on the foredeck, managed to sail to 14th position without a kite. Which seemed to help as in the last race with spinnaker fully rigged they only achieved 20th. Also to be recognised was the most consistent team of the weekend, Martin Joesbury and Arianna Nerici from Budworth, clearly the lightest crew at the event, and completing all four races in 11th place.

The Masters watched Youth race 4 from the shore and it was tense racing as, once again, the lead changed throughout the race. Again Meg and Ollie excelled in these conditions, but unfortunately there was a racing incident with Rob and Steve at the windward mark, which went to protest and resulted in Meg and OIlie unfortunately being disqualified.

Master and Youths after lunch took to the racecourse again for the final race. The wind finally filled in again, albeit from differing directions, and with following gusts regularly closing the fleet up, it made it more difficult to break and get away. Finding the pressure was the name of the game. In the Youths Meg and Ollie again proved that the light winds are their friend and put in another 1st, with fellow South Staffs sailors Sam Bailey and Kamila Czartolomna showing that SSSC is clearly the only place to learn to sail the light and shifty. Northern brummy folklore also has it that SSSC is an abbreviation for the 'So Shifty Sailing Club'...

After racing was complete the bar was open and the final prize giving (slightly delayed by a Youth protest hearing) also included thanks to the Race Officers and team, plus the galley and catering team, who had all worked hard through the weekend.

Congratulations to our Champions:

  • Youth Champions – Nick Devereux (Budworth and UPSC) and Tom Wallwork (Redesmere)
  • Masters Champion – Andy Smith and Phil Hodgkins (Bassenthwaite SC)
  • Grand Masters – Mark Platt and Malcolm Marsden (Bolton SC and Blackpool & Fleetwood SC)
  • Great Grand Masters – Ian Willis and Keith Dutton

Special thanks to Lennon Racewear for their generous support of a £500 prize pot shared between the event winners. Lennon Racewear was exactly what was required on Day 1, and as worn by Youth Champion Nick Devereux.

Overall Results:

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
Youths
1st 13721Nick DevereuxTom WallworkBudworth SC/ UPSPC3221‑58
2nd 14186Robert RichardsonSteven WilsonRoyal Windermere YC11‑54410
3rd 14119Megan HicklinOllie GoodheadSouth staffs SC651(DSQ)113
4th 14150Ben HillGabe HillWest Lancs Yacht Club5‑832313
5th 14039Joel JamesPoppy JamesSouthport SC23‑93816
6th 14110Samuel BaileyKamila CzartolomnaSouth Staffs SC‑7475218
7th 13870Edward CoyneSzymon MatyjaszczukWelsh Harp SC4(DNF)47621
8th 13612Charlie WhitakerMatthew WilliamsonBudworth SC‑9666927
9th 13733Ciaran McKettrickBen SwainsonSouthport SC‑8788730
10th 13875Simon JoyceRyan HartBudworth SC‑1091091038
11th 13541Michaela AttfieldHermione AttfieldBudworth SC(DNF)DNC11101144
Masters
1st 14206Andy SmithPhil HodgkinsBassenthwaite SC131‑8 5
2ndUnzipped III14140Russ CormackAli CormackBudworth SC‑7422 8
3rdRoses On My Piano14217Mark PlattMalcom MarsdenBolton SC/ Blackpool & Fleetwood‑8234 9
4th 14021Ian WillisKeith DuttonSouth Staffs SC‑12191 11
5th 14188John HayesGreg ThomasSouthport SC254‑9 11
6thRoom 10114101Paul BowmerDavid LawsonBassenthwaite SC6(DNC)53 14
7thB hapi14201Hugh DevereuxMalcolm BirdBudworth SC3‑776 16
8th 14177Peter JacquesSam WatsonChase SC‑9685 19
9th 14214Keith LoudenAlan ThompsonISA4810(DNC) 22
10th 14210Richard InstoneSteve ParkerChase SC10(DNF)67 23
11th 14014Andy WadsworthMaciej MatyjaszczukWelsh Harp SC59‑1814 28
12th 13670Martin JoesburyAriana NericiBudworth SC‑11111111 33
13thOLLI13874Phil HackneyEmma HackneyBudworth SC1310‑1712 35
14th 14199Rich BennettMichelle EvansChase SC17(DNF)1510 42
15th 13794Nick BrandonLisa CarpenterSouth Staffs SC14(DNF)1217 43
16th 13509Chris HearnCaroline CawoodBudworth SC1612‑1915 43
17thPriceless13960Valerie BellKen BellBassenthwaite SC(DNC)DNC1313 51
18thGone WIth The Wind13617Dennis O'ByrneFraser KerrBudworth SC15(DNF)2019 54
19thCostalot14057Ann PennyElen HenleyDerwent Reservoir SC(DNC)DNC1618 59
20thScius13760Craig HewettDiane HewittBudworth SC(DNC)DNC1421 60
21stSuckin Diesel13842Peter WycheSteve JoyceBudworth SC(DNF)DNC2116 62
22nd 13618Mark JonesGraham ThornesBudworth SC18(DNS)2222 62
23rd 13547Peter GuestSheila BeaversBudworth SC(DNC)DNC2320 68
24th 14230Adam ChaplinRalph Haliburton‑ChaplinBlackpool & Fleetwood SC(DNF)DNC2423 72
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