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GP14 End of Season Championship at Welsh Harp Sailing Club

by Steve Cooper & Ellie Devereux 29 Oct 2019 06:49 GMT 26-27 October 2019
GP14 End of Season Championship at Welsh Harp © Luke Howard

The weather was miserable! Summer long gone and nothing pleasantly autumnal. Monsoon season perhaps? And on the first day of the Championships the low pressure system that had been driving the wind all week was having a rest day. Sailors however are a stoic bunch and the OOD Dennis Adams deemed the conditions sailable. After a bowl of soup off we went. Very gently!

The long start line was set square to the light south-westerly, however the orientation of the lake meant that a start at the 'wrong' end of the line and a tack onto port away from the trees on the south shore presented the best route to the windward mark. The course was triangular with windward mark at the west end of the lake, gybe and leeward marks to the East. In the light conditions finding the puffs and maintaining precious boat speed was key. Downwind more patience was required, as the rain, and gravity took control of the spinnakers.

Of the 25 boats racing 8 had travelled to Welsh Harp. It was apparent early on that the chief protagonists were amongst the visitors. In first place after lap 1 were Ben and Adam Pickering from Chase S.C followed by Richard Instone and Adam Froggatt also from Chase. In the light shifty conditions, the risk of discovering 'holes' will always present an opportunity for the pursuer. And so it was, Instone and Pickering taking advantage as Ben and his brother lost momentum. Roles were reversed in race two with Instone leading around the first lap only to be overhauled by the Pickerings on lap two. One race each! Graeme and Julie Courtenay gained five places on lap two to finish third in race one and youngsters Jack Lewis and Szymon Matyjaszkzuck grabbed a third in the second race.

With the excitement over sailors retired for tea and cakes where the decision was made that no more racing would take place. With more wind in the forecast for Sunday the third race was rescheduled for a 10.a.m start and the sailors were left to get dolled up for the infamous (clearly for those who forgot their suits, Ben and Adam we're looking at you) EOS's Black Tie Dinner! Which was a lively affair.

The wind was back on Sunday albeit from a less favourable direction. From 10 knots early on to 15 plus as the event progressed. Race 3 started with a short beat across the lake with a long reach/run down the length of the lake interrupted by another short beat to put the fleet on a fetch back up the lake. It was a dash to the windward mark and rounding first with boats competing for water behind gave the lead boat the opportunity to break ties with the fleet reducing the pressure to defend downwind. Sam Mettam made the break and sailed away to lead throughout, a good second for Hugh and Ellie Devereux who benefitted from taking a low course downwind and another strong race for Jack and Szymon in third.

A course change for race 4 with marks 5 and 4 included upwind to give three short beats. No escapee at the windward mark and a group of 5 boats stalked each other down the run. The race was played out on the beats and the Pickering partnership eked out a lead over Mettam and Evans in the strengthening breeze. Instone and Froggat battled their way into a comfortable third place. Further down the fleet there were some gatherings at the leeward mark, those sailing high were thinking of gybing but didn't want to commit and risk losing a place, those going low just didn't quite have enough speed. Keeping out of trouble were Keith Street and Hannah Liptrop, finishing consistently 7th. Race five was won by Ben and Adam with Hugh Devereux in second with Ellie Devereux flying the spinnaker, as the low course, downwind strategy paid off, again! A third for Sam and Michelle.

That leaves Ben and Adam Pickering the GP14 End of Season champions. Keith Street and Hannah Liptrot were first in the silver fleet and Josh Bennet and Bryn Abendstern first in the bronze fleet. Hellen Allen was the first woman taking advantage of the local knowledge. Ben thanked WHSC for their hospitality and a terrific weekend especially thanking Vivien Kenny who cooked the meal for the Black tie dinner. Thanks also to the sponsors; Gurasu, Decathlon, Speedsix, Digby-fine-english and Welsh Harp.

Sincere thanks from the club to all those who travelled it was a pleasure to host the event.

Overall Results:

1st Ben Pickering & Adam Pickering (Chase SC)
2nd Sam Mettam & Michelle Evans (Papercourt/Chase SC)
3rd Richard Instone & Adam Froggat (Chase SC)
1st Female Helen Allen

1st Keith Street & Hannah Liptrot (Welsh Harp SC)
2nd Graham Coutenay & Julie Courtenay (Bolton SC)
3rd Stephen Cooper & Amy Streey (Welsh Harp SC)

1st Josh Bennet & Bryn Abenstern (Toddbrook SC)
2nd Edward Washington & Ben Gregory (Toddbrook SC)
3rd Adeel Khan,Yasir Ansari. Welsh Harp SC)

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