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Inaugural Flying Fifteen Open at Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club

by Mike Preston 9 May 06:02 BST 4-5 May 2019

Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club hosted 34 sailors in 17 boats at their inaugural Flying Fifteen Open and the first round of the 2019 Walpes Wine Northern Series on 5th & 6th May 2019. With the sunshine and moderate North Westerly wind; the scene was set for the first time the River Wyre would see 17 Flying Fifteens launched and recovered with military precision as the local saying goes "the tide waits for no man".

A practice day was held to warm up and the race officer team of Peter Hewitson and Peter Jackson allowed visitors Mike Moore Kayla Sheard from Bassenthwaite along with Christian Barnes and Denise Sykes from Ullswater get a preview of the tidal race course.

The first days racing set the tone for the whole event with close and friendly racing throughout across the fleet, with current Flying Fifteen World Champion and event sponsor Steve Goacher and Tim Harper from Royal Windermere in GBR 4021 holding off Dave McKee and Mal Hartland from Dovestone SC in GBR 4065 by less than 3 boat lengths. The second race saw the same 2 teams battling it out with Mckee / Hartland pipping Goacher / Harper by less than 3 seconds on the second race of the day; leaving McKee/ Hartland as overnight leaders.

The first day's racing was followed with a spot prize raffle with Goacher Sails goodies on offer and a tuning talk from the World Champion on sail tuning through the range of wind strength following a season with the new jib shape adopted by the class in 2018. An evening social dinner with Fleetwood Fish Pie and Lancashire Hotpot on the menu was enjoyed by the local and visiting sailors reflecting on the close racing throughout the fleet and tales of tide, missed opportunities, race buoys and penalty turns.

The second day of racing started with a starboard end bias due to an impromptu Northerly wind shift with the tide saw several boats trapped out at the start with Mike Preston and Hannah Robinson alongside McKee / Hartland getting a clear start line. The lead exchanged several times with McKee / Hartland defending off advances from the local duo Preston / Robinson in GBR 3641 with Goacher / Harper working their way through the fleet. Mckee / Hartland took another line honours making it advantage GBR 4065 going into the last race with Preston / Robinson second and Goacher / Harper in third.

With the wind oscillating round to the West, the Race Officer, Peter Hewitson, changed the course. Goacher / Harper followed by McKee/ Hartland out of the pin end crossing the fleet on Port it looked like a repeat of race 1 to Dave McKee's advantage on series score permutations after the first lap. What the leading boats were not expecting was Preston/ Robinson working the wind shifts in phase with the now ebbing tide to take the lead; maintaining McKee / Hartland advantage. The last lap would see a 3-horse race with tacking duels and interchanging positions and saw a world class performance by Goacher / Harper to take final race lead and win Balckpool & Fleetwood Yachts Club's Inaugural Open meeting on count back after being tied with McKee / Harper on equal scores, discards, number of wins and scores. Close Racing was throughout the fleet with John Thornley and Keith Jamison taking 7th place ahead of several boats, all within 6 points of each other going into the last race.

Victoria Manifold in GBR 3602 won the prize for 1st Youth and 1st Lady was won by Hannah Robinson crewing GBR 3641. Jean and Mike Wilczynski won the Waples Wine magnum for furthest travelled boat.

Blackpool and Fleetwood Yacht Club were delighted to host the Flying Fifteen fleet with great feedback from the visiting sailors and one delighted Winner Steve Goacher reserving his locally hosted accommodation for next year.

Overall Results:

OverallSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
14021Steve GoacherTim HarperRoyal Windermere12314
24065David MckeeMal HartlandDovestone21134
33641Mike PrestonHannah RobinsonB&FYC43227
44056Andy GoddardTom GoddardDovestone344411
53996Mike MooreKayle SheardBassenthwaite665516
63770Ian PrestonJonathan BullenBassenthwaite5812720
73903John Thornleykeith JamlesonUllwater15108624
83802Gary RichardsonStewart LeeB&FYC11186926
9=3535Karl SloaneDerick BedowsB&FYC79141127
9=3936Jeremy ArmoldAngus WrightNotts County10119827
113622Robert MountainVictoria ManifoldB&FYC81471328
12=3506Christian BarnesDenise SykesUYC913111030
12=3732Ian HockeyVal HockeyB&FYC125131530
143602Peter MountainDavid GuiteB&FYC1412101234
153583Mike WilczynskiJean WilczynskiRORC177161840
163561Andy RichiesTim SeddonB&FYC1315151442
173414Jonathan ClarkeAndrew WaddingtionB&FYC1616171648

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