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Solo Northern Travellers at West Riding Sailing Club

by WRSC Press 24 Apr 06:43 BST 22 April 2018

Twelve Solo Northern Travellers joined eight home club boats at West Riding SC on 22nd April for the second of the 2018 Solo Northern Travellers' Series. The April mini heat wave lasted just long enough to warm competitors backs as they rigged in 20 deg C and a pleasant south westerly breeze.

By the time they emerged from the changing room in sailing gear, the sky was dark, the wind was starting to bluster and the temperature was plummeting. There was a rush back inside to upgrade the number of layers and discard the sun glasses before Race Officer Hamish Gledhill released the fleet up the first beat.

From a closely bunched pack at the first mark, Ian Hopwood from Nantwich worked his way flamboyantly through the lee of other boats, planing into the lead at the leeward mark. By the top of the next beat he was clear and continued to pull away for a comfortable win. A tight bunch astern kept close company until the wind began to fade. Steve Denison from Hollingworth Lake showed his class to extract himself from an unfavourable position to finish second. Close behind Chris Gillard from Sheffield Viking, who had borrowed nephew Tom Gillard's boat to re-join the Solo Travellers for the first time in three years, finished a pleasing third, with Nick Hornsby from Hollingworth Lake fourth, Budworth's Tony Sampson fifth and Steve Graham from Burwain sixth after recovering from a capsize.

While competitors munched on their steak pie and refrained from pouring too much cream on their sticky toffee pudding, Wintersett Reservoir had become glassy and uninteresting. The Race Officer's decision to postpone for fifteen minutes was a shrewd move as the wind filled in again from a similar position, albeit with less vigour and swinging all over the place.

Steve Denison held a short lead at the first mark from Chris Gillard and Lee Tennant from Burwain SC. Steve had been working overtime all week to put his new boat together in time for this event, and his efforts paid off as he held his lead to the end of race two. Despite the wind conspiring to make the beats one-sided, Lee Tennant was able to break through the potential drag race to take second place, with Burwain's Steve Graham making his presence felt for the first time on the podium in third. Chris Gillard maintained his consistency with fourth place ahead of John Gledhill from West Riding and Ian Hopwood.

The course was tweaked for the final race to improve the beats, but the wind still refused to cooperate. Steve Denison was in the box seat with a first and second place, but Ian Hopwood could overhaul him with a last race win. The wind had strengthened for the final start and the two Steves, Graham and Denison nailed the first beat rounding in that order. Denison poked his nose momentarily into the lead, but Graham quickly regained the initiative and held on to the end.

The wind had flipped again to make the course a bit of a drag race, which stifled overtaking opportunities. West Riding's Alistair Banks put in his best performance of the day for third place, Lee Tennant fourth, Ted Garner from Budworth his best result fifth and Andy Fox from Leigh & Lowton sixth.

Ian Hopwood could only get an eighth place, leaving Steve Denison the overall winner from Steve Graham by one point, Lee Tennant third and Ian Hopwood fourth.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
15763Steve DennisonHollingworth Lake SC2123
25741Steve GrahamBurwain SC6314
35639Lee TennantBurwain SC21246
45645Ian HopwoodNatwich SC1687
55675Chris GillardSheffield Viking SC34217
65529Nick HornsbyHollingworth Lake SC47711
75712Tony SampsonSCYC581213
85794Alistair BanksWest Riding SC2111314
95016Ted GarnerBudworth SC219514
104751John GledhillWest Riding SC2151015
114576Jonathan GledhillWest Riding SC813917
125745Andy FoxLeigh and LowtonSC1214618
135203Mike CowanBassenthwaite9161120
145179David TunnicliffeRye SC11101321
155661Ted FarranceWest Riding SC7151522
165360Steve FerringtonWest Kirby10171424
174600Mike FoggWest Riding SC13141625
184662Merv GriffithsWest Riding SC14181731
195667Ray FerribyWest Riding SC15201833
204447Paul BrunnerWest Riding SC16192135

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