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Ullswater Yacht Club's first Keelboat Event

by Sue Giles, UYC 18 Jul 2014 10:59 BST 12-13 July 2014
Commodore John Spivey presents prizes to Howard Steavenson, Thomas Steavenson and Mike Wilson-Smith, Sportsboat winners at Ullswater Yacht Club's first Keelboat Event © Pauline Thompson

The traditional and the very latest in performance boat design came together to race at Ullswater Yacht Club's first ever Keelboat Event over the weekend of July 12 and 13.

The event attracted an entry of 19 boat racing in three different classes – Sportsboats, Tempests and Flying Fifteens.

In the Sportsboat class were two VX Ones, the latest high performance asymmetric racing machine from Ovington Boats, along with two J70s and a K6. The VX One has already made its mark on Ullswater – in April a UK speed record of 21.3 knots was set on the lake during a demo weekend.

Ullswater Yacht Club has a long history of keelboat racing and has an established fleet of 'traditional' Tempests and Flying Fifteens. For the Tempest class the event was also their National championships. The Flying Fifteens were pleased to welcome two of the class's 'big guns', Steve Goacher, and Australian John Hassen. Both had make the journey North after taking part in the Flying Fifteen Nationals at Parkstone Yacht Club.

After a highly successful Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy event the weekend before, the weather gods laid on more sunshine, and more variable westerly winds. Race officer Giles Passmore, who kindly came over from Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club, to run the event helped by Ian Priestley of UYC, planned six races over the weekend.

After three windward leeward races on the Saturday, Howard Steavenson of Tynemouth SC crewed by his son Thomas and Mike Wilson-Smith in a VX One were leading the Sportsboat fleet with three firsts. Their VX One Abracadabra had been launched for the first time at the Birkett and veteran asymmetric racer Howard was clearly getting the hang of it.

In the Flying Fifteen class, Steve Goacher, crewed by Dave Walker, was showing why he is always at the front of the fleet nationally and internationally, by taking three firsts. John Hassen of South of Perth Yacht Club, with crew Chris Turner, was lying second with two firsts and a fourth.

The Tempest National Championships were wide open with three different helms taking firsts - Jon Modral-Gibbons, Ian Modral and Graham Donkin. Jon was in the lead overnight by just one point.

Sunday brought more sunshine and variable winds and the competitors completed two more windward/leeward races amid the spectacular Ullswater scenery with a start line off the Sharrow Bay Hotel.

Steve Goacher won two more races in the Flying Fifteen class to take the event and a fourth and a first by Howard Steavenson was enough for him to win the Sportsboat prize. But it was still up for grabs in the Tempests.

The final race was a longer lake race with a mass start and this was won on handicap by Howard Steavenson.

Despite being first Tempest in the final race, Ian Modral and Robin Higgins were beaten into second place overall by Jon Modral-Gibbons and Colin Meadows.

Brian Moreton, UYC's Sailing Secretary (Open Events) said he was delighted at the turnout and that he hoped the event will become a firm date in keelboat sailors' diaries throughout the North of England and Scotland. He added that planning the event next to the Birkett meant that keelboat racers could take part in both racing weekends and the plan was to hold it the weekend before the Birkett next year.

Full results are on the UYC website:

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