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GP14 Masters & Youth Championship at Bassenthwaite Sailing Club

by Andy Smith, Phil Hodkins, & Ciaran McKettrick 4 Oct 2019 20:05 BST
GP14 Masters & Youth Championship at Bass © BSC

A select group of nine masters and four youths arrived at Bass SC eager to get sailing in the continuing Indian summer conditions of the Lake District. There were clear blue skies, and a warm south easterly wind to greet sailors, the only problem being that instead of the predicted force 2, the Bass microclimate offered a force 6/7 with even bigger gusts, and plenty of white horses to prove it!

After a three-hour postponement, the wind had not eased sufficiently to tempt people out, so the OD postponed until the morning when conditions were forecast to be better.

By Sunday morning the wind had eased, still blowing from the south east, the blue skies had disappeared, and the rain moved in!

In the GP masters, Race 1 was still very wet and windy and was the first of several close fought races with Dave and Seonaid Young take an early lead, closely followed by Mark and Sam Platt, then Gingerboats Andy Smith and Phil Hodgkins. Places changed throughout the race, with competitors across the fleet dealing with huge squalls and, for a brief period, rain that felt like hail The was lots of position changes for the Leading 3 made up of Mark, Dave and Andy; Mark Platt came out on top!

Race 2 brought Graham Flynn and Frank Nickless to the front, closely followed by Mark and Sam Platt, and then Gingerboats. Graham held a small margin on the last leg to take the win. In the mid fleet battle some great sailing by Val and Ken Bell saw them beating their closest rivals and securing a 5th. Going into the lunch break very tired and soaked to the skin, the prospect of another two similar races wasn't too appealing for some!

The afternoon saw some close racing throughout the fleet which culminated in Graham and Frank securing their second win of the event on the final beat of race 3 from Gingerboats Andy and Phil. Dave Lawson and Joe Roberts coming in third.

This meant going into race 4 it was all to play for with 3 boats who could take the Championship. Graham and Frank looked to be favourites but only had a small margin between them and Father and son pairing of Mark and Sam Platt. Outsiders for the title were the paring of Andy & Phil, knowing that they needed something akin to a lottery win; and so it looked to be, going onto the final leg of race 4!

Andy and Phil had managed to pull away in first and some simply bizarre wind shifts on the penultimate leg looked to be bringing out their lucky numbers with Mark in third and Graham momentarily looking like he would drop to fifth. However, 2 mins later Graham was securely in 4th and sailing to the finish and an event win, before Mark and Sam pipped Dave and Seonaid on the line to secure second and take the overall event at the death.

Mark Platt took the Master and Grand Master championship with the Great Grand master in 8th place going to Mike Fairlamb of Bassenthwaite.

Youth Report

After a very windy Friday night, Saturday morning broke with a strong easterly breeze, Racing was due to commence at 1pm but still looked unlikely with a Force 6 wind blowing onto the clubhouse. The race officer called a postponement until late afternoon in the hope of some easing, however by 4pm that Force 6 was going nowhere! The decision was made, try again tomorrow!

Sunday morning, with low cloud and rain to add to a 'not as windy as yesterday' weather the OD made the decision for the racing to go ahead. Hoping for a full days racing, everyone was eager to be on the water on time for the first warning signal.

All jostling for best position the gun goes, and they were off with a good clean start. The first beat led the racers into a thick mist up the valley and losing sight of the clubhouse. Robert Richardson & James Abbatt took the lead at the windward mark, followed by Alastair Rimmer & Joel James, with Ciaran McKettrick & Kavan Elliott and Hannah Wittham & Alex Brown just behind. With the rain and a cool Force 5 wind, positions remained the same through to the finish line.

Race 2, Rimmer & James must have seen a different transit at the start line to the rest of the fleet which led to them jumping the gun and having to turn back. Richardson & Abbatt picked the correct side of the beat leading to the windward mark, tailed by Whittam & Brown. An early gybe at the beginning of leg 3 allowed Rimmer & James to jump into second position but were unable to reel in the leaders.

Quick turnaround for lunch and another two races lay ahead in a lighter, more pleasant Force 4 with occasional sunshine conditions. Initially Richardson & Abbatt held off the fleet, however, upon reaching the leeward mark Rimmer & James managed a cheeky pass now taking the lead up the beat! A tacking battle between the two lead boats continued up to the next leg, with Richardson & Abbatt coming up trumps temporarily. Again Rimmer & James proved there was a fight to be had on the downwind run to take victory forcing the Championship to a deciding race.

With nothing to lose McKettrick & Elliott pulled off a port flyer only to sail themselves into a famous Bassenthwaite wind hole! As the wind slowly drifted away a tactical fight between Rimmer & James vs Richardson & Abbatt followed. Positions changed every leg until Richardson & Abbatt finally came out on top picking the better side of the course and stretching their lead beyond reach.

A big thank you to Gingerboats for sponsorship of the Youth event and for providing signing on gifts for all competitors.

At the prize-giving Mark spoke eloquently on behalf of all the competitors about his enjoyment of the racing and the organisation by Vanessa from the class association, and the Bass team for hosting yet another brilliant event.

All in all, a great event, with the usual Bass warm hospitality, excellent race management, and stunning sailing area.

Next year's Master's and Youth Championships are at Staunton Harold SC on 5-6th September 2020. Hope to see everyone there!

Overall Results:

PosCategorySail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st 13161Robert RichardsonJames AbbattRWYC / UYC11213
2nd 14039Alastair RimmerJoel JamesSouthport22125
3rd 13733Ciaran McKettrickKavan ElliottSouthport Sailing Club33339
4th 1338Hannah WhittamAlex BrownToddbrook Sailing Club444412
1stGrand Master14217Mark PlattSam PlattBolton Sailing Club12525
2ndGrand Master14199Graham FlynnFrank NicklessThe Chase Sailing Club51146
3rdMaster14206Andy SmithPhil HodgkinsBass33216
4thMaster14110Dave YoungSeonaid YoungSouth Staffs SC26439
5thMaster14064David LawsonJoe RobertsBassenthwaite SC443611
6thGrand Master14258Graham CourtneyJulie CourtneyBolton Sailing Club776518
7thGrand Master13960Val BellKen BellBassenthwaite SC659920
8thGreat Grand Master13885Mike FairlambEric SmithBassenthwaite987722
9thGrand Master14062Alan JonesJames MacgregorBass898824

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