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Miracle Northern Championship at Delph Sailing Club

by Nigel & Valerie Reddecliffe 27 May 2017 08:47 BST 20-21 May 2017
Miracle Northerns at Delph © Steve Starbuck

Fourteen boats assembled to sail two races on Saturday and in the early summer conditions which we are presently enjoying, it seems inconceivable that rain clouds prevailed over Bolton and both races were sailed in persistent light rain. However the wind conditions up to about 7/8 knots prevailed throughout the weekend, so at least the crews were not sitting about in both still and wet conditions.

Race 1 - Jack Hopkins with crew Ross Southwell in 4100, a plastic boat loaned by the Chairman, lead off the start and managed to maintain their lead to the finish! They were chased by Wayne Atherton and Angela Sweeney in 3383, who in turn were followed closely by Graham Watts and Helen Watts in 3813 and indeed Wayne lost out to Graham on the second lap but determination was the name of the game and Wayne worked to regain his second placing and to eat into Jack's lead and although Jack beat him to the finish, it was pretty close at the line!

Race 2 - This did not begin well with two general recalls with many boats over the line! This time Wayne lead off with Dave Butler and crew Ross Fleming in 4060 and Graham and Helen in hot pursuit. At the "B" mark Dave Butler was so intently luffing up Wayne that he let 4100 through, giving Jack a clear lead at the end of the first lap. This Jack maintained to the end of the race, notching up a second win of the day. This time Dave Butler came in second, with Graham Watts taking third and Wayne Atherton in fourth position.

Race 3 - The previous day's rain had disappeared and the sun transformed the once damp hills and grey water into a sun drenched setting with blue sparkling water, much more condusive for both the sailors and spectators. This time fifteen boats set sail, yesterday's contestants being joined by father and son combo of Simon and Peter Evans in 2772. It was a breathtaking start with (non-spinnaker) 3796 -Andrew Taylor and six year old son Will rounding the windward mark first! How wonderful for young sailors to feel the buzz of success! It was not until close to the third mark that Jack managed to pass fact both Will and eight year old brother Nick took it in turns to crew for Dad. The bug has bitten, with both boys wanting spinnaker lessons, even trying it out when the event was over!

Towards the end of the first lap Simon Evans made it to second place with Wayne seeking better wind and taking third position at the windward mark for lap two. Not far behind there was a tussle between 4060 Dave Butler and 4007 Simon Reddecliffe with crew Mark pulling a very tight spinnaker to take Dave's fourth place for some time but the winds were not kind and it was all too easy to choose the wrong line and lose momentum and placement! Jack had a good win with Wayne some lengths behind in second place, as 3813 Graham Watts held third place from Dave Butler's fourth position at the line. Andy Taylor with novice crew and no spinnaker took an astonishing 5th place from Louis Moulden ane Tommy Donaldson sailing in 3835 who crossed the line in sixth place.

Race 4 - There was a change of fortunes at the start of this race with Graham Watts leading off to the windward mark, hotly pursued by Wayne, Jack and Dave Butler but unfortunately because of some miscalculation the latter ended up doing circles! By the third lap Wayne managed to overtake Graham and from then on it was nail biting with both boats frantically covering each other to the line. But beware the opportunist! He with the thickest coat of varnish could well have been first! - but for Jack nonchalantly sailing directly to the line between 'combatants' to become No 1 by the the merest whisker... - 2772 Simon Evans should have mention because of astute sailing at the H mark, which brought him over the line in fourth position.

Race 5 - By now the Championship Cup was in Jack's hands, with four first positions so he did not helm the last race. By this time in the afternoon the wind was getting up and the O.D. had trouble setting the course, in that a ninety degree wind shift happened, necessitating a new course, with competitors reliant on a course board posted on the Committee boat. Apart from the original beat, the fresh course favoured spinnakers on every leg. There was one extremely testing spinnaker gybe at mark Y, where coming off a reach and going on to another, it was a case of who dares gybe the spinnaker wins! Simon Reddecliffe and Mark Atherton nearly came a cropper as 4007 tilted and filled with water as a gust hit them mid-gybe but mercifully they were able to keep the record of no capsizes over the weekend. For the spectator it was a show of exemplary expertise in spinnaker handling. Wayne and Angela lead the race throughout with Dave Butler snapping at their rudder, but in the end Wayne was a clear winner! He was followed in by Dave and Ross in 4060, Eamon and Thomas Cuthbert in 4016 and Simon and Mark in 4007 despite their near capsize!

It was a fitting finale to a super weekend! Thanks to the visiting crews who came to join us and added to the excitement.



1st Jack Hopkins & Ross Southwell, 4100 (Delph SC)
2nd Wayne Atherton & Angela Sweeney, 3383 (Delph SC)
3rd Dave Butler & Ross Fleming, 4060 (Welton SC)
4th Graham Watts & Helen Watts, 3813 (Stauntin Harold SC)
5th Eamon Cuthbert & Thomas Cuthbert, 4016 (Leigh & Lowton SC)
6th Simon Reddecliffe & Mark Atherton, 4007 (Delph SC)
7th Simon Evans & Peter Evans, 2772 (Delph SC)
8th Andrew Taylor & Nic / Will Taylor, 3796 (Delph SC)
9th Louis Moulden & Tommy Donaldson, 3835 (Delph SC)
10th Graham Clow & Jemma Mc Hugh, 3825 (Delph SC)
11th Ashley Southwell & Michelle Raines, 4010 (Leigh & Lowton SC)
12th Matt Donaldson & Alison Mace, 4022 (Delph SC)
13th Robert Cocking & Rachael Cocking, 3657 (Delph SC)
14th Ian Brown & Lily Brown, 4098 (Delph SC)
15th Martin Bathe & Deborah Massey, 59 (Delph SC)