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RYA North West OnBoard 6 Hour Race bigger and better than ever

by Adam McGovern 22 Jun 15:58 BST
RYA North West OnBoard 6 Hour Race © Adam McGovern

This year's annual RYA North West OnBoard 6 Hour Race proved bigger and better than ever, with a record entry of 95 young sailors making up 17 teams from clubs across the North of England. The race which has now been running for over ten years at Hollingworth Lake is proving to be a big success.

The format is simple with two fleets: an Advanced fleet for sailors under 18 of any ability, and an OnBoard fleet for sailors under 16 with less than three years of sailing experience and at RYA Stage 2 level. Both fleets race together with teams spending six hours on the water with as many crew changeovers as they like in that time.

On the day sailors were greeted by a gusty 12 to 15 knots of breeze which made for some challenging racing and a few capsizes. However all the young sailors dealt with the conditions in fantastic style, impressing the parents and instructors watching on. Conditions in the last couple of hours of the race dropped right off as the rain arrived. That meant the leading teams had to be fast in all conditions to win!

In the advanced fleet the home team from Hollingworth initially took the lead but Bolton Sailing Club sailing a RS Feva loved the windy conditions and raced into a good lead, showing some great technique with the spinnaker. They were, however, being chased hard by the two Hollingworth teams.

Just outside the top three, teams from Green Withens and West Lancashire Yacht Club were having a good battle,never too far behind the top pair.

With an hour to go Bolton. who had held the lead for 31 laps, looked on course for the win but as the wind died off the RS Feva team from Hollingworth used their local knowledge well and just edged ahead to take the lead.

The Bolton team pushed the home team all the way to the line but after 3,600 minutes of racing just two minutes separated them.

The Hollingworth Lake Pico team just managed to edge out a quick finishing Green Withens team to claim the final podium spot.

In the OnBoard fleet three teams battled neck and neck at the front throughout the race. With the lead changing all the time, it was hard to predict who was going to come out on top. However it was the team from Burwain Sailing Club sailing a Pico who eventually broke clear to take the win. Hollingworth Lake's Topper team came home second and Bolton's Pico team third. These three teams also managed to finish ahead of three advanced fleet boats - an amazing achievement.

The OnBoard fleet had great mini contests throughout the fleet, especially the teams from Debdale Outdoor Centre and Scotmans Flash Activities Centre who had a ding-dong battle during the whole race, earning a merit award for their fantastic efforts. Congratulations must also go to Debdale Outdoor Centre who entered four teams for the event, amazing work!

Overall after a great day on the water. Teams managed to sail a total of 494 laps, covering a total distance of 326 miles: the same as the distance from Hollingworth in Rochdale to Cornwall or Fort William!

We are looking forward to the 2020 race already!

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