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Miracle North East Area Championship at Welton Sailing Club

by Gillan Gibson 3 May 11:10 BST 27-28 April 2019
Miracle North East Area Championship at Welton © Stephen Chilton

Ten boats registered for this two day event, including four visitors, despite the forecasted Storm Hannah. In view of the building wind on the Saturday it was decided to sail only one of the two races scheduled for the that day, with Race 2 postponed to the Sunday.

Saturday

Race 1

The six intrepid boats who launched in the afternoon did so in a downpour and in distinctly cold weather. That said they were heading for a soaking in any case as they planned off to the start, spray flying everywhere. A straightforward figure of eight course was still a challenge as the wind speed continued to rise and staying upright was key. Visitors Keith Martin and John Whitehouse (3755) from Teesdale Sailing Club, out for the first time in the season, had mainsheet problems which necessitated a visit to the shore, but out they went again to join the fleet again as soon as they were able. The fleet by this time was concentrating on that important job of staying upright and Richard and Max Wharram (4045) had taken a clear lead and were working their way to the finish when very late on they capsized! There was a groan in the Clubhouse where spectators had been watching the proceedings and they then saw the remaining racers sail past with Jon Willars, crewed by Lianne Therkelson (3934) taking first place, Ed Wheeldon & son (4066) second and Ben and Zack Williamson (4009) third.

Sunday

This was a different day, with the wind having eased back to "only" Force 3-4, though it was still cold and rain did threaten.

With Race 2 postponed from the day before the Race Officer scheduled two back to back races, lunch, then two more back to back races to make the 5 races originally planned for the weekend.

One visiting boat chose to sit out the racing again, but another visitor arrived, and another club member too, so 9 boats hit the water for the first race of the day, Race 2.

Race 2

There was a clean start and Jon & Jess Willars (3934) and Dave Butler with Giles Therkelson (4060), both Welton Sailing Club, were first and second at the windward mark, with Wayne Atherton and Angela Sweeney (3383) third. It was then a race of changing places, with the advantage Wayne and Angela were able to gain by being fast with the spinnaker being very clear. They were eventually able to take a clear lead which they maintained until the finish line. In the meantime places changed within the four boats behind them, with a gap to the rear group who also fought hard between themselves. In the end Dave and Giles who'd taken a slightly different line, pipped Jon and Jess to take second place by about one second.

Race 3

Jon and Jess sat this race out as crew Jess (4 years old!) was cold, so they joined the spectators snuggled in the lovely warm clubhouse.

There was a clean start and Richard & Max Wharram (4045) were away first. Ben & Zack Williamson (4009) reached the first mark in the lead, only to be replaced by Graham Watts & Helen Jacks (3813) at the end of the following run. The fleet was well spaced out compared to the previous race with similar quite large gaps between all boats in the middle part of the race. Though the wind slowly eased it became shifty and places changed, but in the end it was Ben and Zack who took line honours.

Lunch was next, and as is the way with small friendly clubs like Welton it was, like the day before, superb.

Race 4

After lunch, and with a lighter wind, a new course was set, but due to a wind shift the start became unsatisfactory with several boats over and a General Recall called. The line was re-laid and the race re-started. Once again it was places changing all the time right through the fleet with spectators noting spinnaker handling and dealing positively with the shifting winds seeming to be very important. Hitting a mark and having to do a turn was also a fast way to fall behind, in one instance to the back of the fleet. A mark was also key when two boats together managed to round a bottom mark the wrong way and both had to go back and re-wind! Their competitors sailed through and at the line Jon & Jess were comfortably clear, with Wayne & Angela in second, Graeme & Helen third, and Dave & Giles almost catching fourth place from Ben & Zack.

Race 5

The wind had continued to drop and by the fifth race was a Force 0 to Force One, and shifty. Seven boats decided to sail this final race with much to play for in the overall series. Two home boats were OCS (On Course Side) at the start and had to return to restart, placing them in the last positions, so Wayne & Angela were in the lead at the first mark from Graeme & Helen. The place changing continued with a wind shadow at mark eight at the top of the beat contributing to that. On the last beat the top four boats bunched up, but at the finish it was Graeme & Helen first, Wayne & Angela second, Jon & Jess third and Dave & Giles fourth.

Overall

With five races run it was 3 to count. As the reports above show the various place changes resulted in three different winners of the 5 races and the Race Officer was left checking on the countback protocols as the top two boats both had 5 points! However, Jon & Jess Willars had more firsts so they took the overall prize, so Jess is heading to school able to tell everyone she was first one very proud and happy young lady.

Overall Results:

PosHelm & CrewClubSail NoR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1Jon Willars with Jess Willars & Lianne TherkelsonWelton39341310135
2Wayne Atherton & Angela SweeneyDelph3383DNS14225
3Graeme Watts & Helen JacksStaunton Harold3813452316
4Ben & Zack Williamson Welton4009341458
5Dave Butler & Giles Therkelson‑Smith Welton4060DNS23549
6Ed Wheeldon & Lianne TherkelsonWelton40662768915
7Richard & Max WharramWelton40459659919
8Keith Martin & John WhitehouseTeesdale37558986620
9Brian & Sharon WorrallWelton4063DNS877721
10Gillan & Kenneth GibsonThornton Steward3670DNSDNSDNSDNSDNS27

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