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2019 Miracle Northern Championship at Delph Sailing Club

by Martin Bathe 20 May 10:57 BST 18-19 May 2019
Miracle Northern Championship at Delph © Val Reddecliffe

Grey overcast conditions greeted competitors as they arrived for the first day of the two day 2019 Miracle Northern Championship, sponsored by the Bank Top Brewery, Bolton and First Mark, Golborne, and as Race Officer John Cronshaw briefed the assembled crews there wasn't the slightest puff of wind evident in the mirror glass surface of Delph's reservoir and a postponement looked highly likely.

Then, at 1.50pm, 3 knots of wind built in from the north west and racing commenced more or less on time shortly after 2.00pm. Apart from the occasional lulls that affected the most windward of the course's marks, two races were sailed by ten boats in fairly constant wind. In both races those boats choosing to start at the port end of the line and sailing on starboard out to the left hand side of the course tended to have the best first beats. In the first Race Dave and Zara Turtle got to the windward mark 'Y' just before defending champion Jack Hopkins who was sailing with Luke Tonge. However, at the second rounding of mark 'Y' as the two leading boats got stuck together in a boat on boat duel, Wayne Atherton and Angela Sweeney sailed past to take the lead, a position they managed to defend despite a strong challenge from Dave and Zara, the race ending in a close finish.

In race two Wayne, Angela and the Turtles made the mistake of choosing to go up the right of the first beat whilst Jack and Luke went up the left, rounded the windward mark first and then held the position all the way to finish, with Wayne and Angela just getting the better of Dave and Zara.

The second day's racing started in similar conditions to those of the first. The early stages of race three were a bit of a lottery, the lead changed several times and large gaps grew and then closed as the wind came and went. However, as the race progressed, Jack, sailing this time with Will Dyson, got his nose in front and avoided the wind holes to sail away from the fleet. Jack and Will were looking clear winners until Dave and Zara halved their lead up the penultimate beat and then closed to within five boat lengths on the downwind leg. It looked as though another close finish was on the cards at the start of the final beat but Dave and Zara's gamble of tacking off in search of stronger wind didn't work and Jack and Will won quite comfortably.

Race four was the only race when sailing up the left hand side of the first beat gave no advantage and saw Dave and Zara round the first windward mark just ahead of Graham Watts sailing with Helen Jacks and Simon Reddecliffe sailing with Mark Atherton. As a battle for second place unfolded between a group of five boats, Dave and Zara sailed clean away to finish a comfortable first. Wayne and Angela eventually took second and Andy Taylor and Will Dyson sailed the final beat well to take third.

The start of the fifth and final race again saw the boats starting towards the pin end do best up the first beat with Graham and Helen seemingly having the lead up only for them to stall and Dave and Zara to sail past them and then round the first mark clear ahead. Wayne and Angela managed to take second place on the downwind leg and hold off a challenge from Jack and Luke who realising that they weren't going to improve on two firsts and a third retired and came ashore to watch Dave and Zara sail clear away from the field to take the championship. As the last two races were sailed back to back, further down the fleet, in a rare occurrence, helm Alan Barton, sailing with David Mole, was actually on the start line on time in the final race and sailed well to finish fourth without using a spinnaker.

Delph Sailing Club would like to thank the Bank Top Brewery, Bolton and First Mark, Golborne for sponsoring the event.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
14026Dave TurtleZara TurtleShotwick/Shustoke[2][3]2114
24100Jack HopkinsLuke Tonge/Will DysonHayling Island311[4][RET]5
33383Wayne AthertonAngela SweeneyDelph1[2][3]225
43796Andy TaylorWill Taylor/Will DysonDelph4[5][6]3512
53813Graham WattsHelen JacksStaunton Harold[6][6]46313
64007Simon ReddecliffeMark Atherton [5]455[6]14
74065Alan BartonDavid MoleDelph[DNC][DNC]88420
83847Richard MurphyLeah MurphyPort Dinorwic777[9][12]21
94022Tommy DonaldsonJaq/Sam DonaldsonDelph[10]10[11]7724
104098Ian BrownLilly BrownDelph98[10][10]825
113493Sam NaylorElliot NaylorDelph899[11][12]26

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