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Heron Northern Championships at Huddersfield Sailing Club

by Andrew O'Connor 4 Oct 2017 08:09 BST 24 September 2017

At 10.00am weather conditions looked to be set fair for a good days sailing, with some sun and a gentle breeze. An hour later, just before the start of the first race, as seems to be the norm for the Huddersfield event, the wind had picked up and become quite frisky. At least the small water at Huddersfield was back to normal from the previous year, when it had been lowered in an attempt to eradicate the problem caused by an invasive weed.

There was a good turnout, with 12 boats in total. The six visiting boats having travelled from Welton (3), Yeadon (1), plus two long distance travellers, one from Cambridge, and then one from Bewl on the Kent Sussex border. Surely Jo Mayes and Amanda Conrad deserve a prize for dedication and enthusiasm in travelling so far, by my calculation, over 500 miles. Four boats were sailed double-handed and there were two all female crews, with over a third of the competitors being female. It is very encouraging that people are prepared to travel such distances and it would seem to prove that holding the Yeadon and Huddersfield Opens on the same weekend is a good idea.

The first race got underway in which Andrew Molyneux from the home club beat Dave Butler and crew, with Stan Lubner third and Andrew O'Connor fourth. The gusty wind caused some problems for helms with nine finishing the course. Two capsizes ended the race early for two of the home boats. Unfortunately, the resulting broken centre board ended Roger Stephenson's day. There was also one retirement

After lunch the fleet had reduced to 10 boats, and with similar conditions to the morning race, helms had still to be on their toes to stay upright. Once again Andrew Molyneux led from the start with Dave Butler a close second. Tony Dufton was third with Andrew O'Connor a consistent fourth place.

With no sign of the wind decreasing, but after a welcome rest, only six boats decided to contest the final race. Andrew Molyneux's masterclass continued, as in the two previous races he crossed the start line first and won the race by over four minutes. Tony Dufton was in a comfortable second position, until fairly early in the second lap, he unfortunately sailed the wrong course and had to go a long way back to unwind. This allowed Andrew O'Connor to take second place with Ruth Murgatroyd and her father in third position.

A tricky day's sailing was completed with the presentation of the trophies. Despite the conditions I think an enjoyable time was had by all in a friendly atmosphere. We can only hope for slightly better conditions in 2018.

(Photographs of the action can be found on the Huddersfield SC website in the Gallery Section)

Overall results:

1. Andrew Molyneux, Huddersfield, 2111
2. Dave Butler & Emma Clixby, Welton, 10340
3. Andrew O'Connor, Huddersfield, 10079
4. Tony Dufton, Yeadon, 108
5. Ruth & Peter Murgatroyd, Unattached, 9400
6. Jim Robison, Huddersfield, 10317
7. S Abbott, Welton, 10312
8. S Lubner, Welton, 10341
9. Rachael Lockley & Rebecca Tellez, Huddersfield, 1712
10. Jo Mayes & Amanda Conrad, Bewl, 10343
10. Mac Pimblett, Huddersfield, 10095
10. Roger Stephenson, Huddersfield, 9866

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