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Flying Fifteen Lakeland Grand Prix at Royal Windermere Yacht Club

by Chris Ducker 20 Apr 2020 15:35 BST 18-19 April 2020
Flying Fifteens at Windermere © David Heron

Many who have visited Royal Windermere Yachts Club's open meetings in the past have complain of fickle winds or even no wind at all, how dare they? For this the first round of Lakeland Grand Prix, the fleet consisted of 15 local boats and 63 visitors, from as far afield as Fremantle, Australia, who were presented with near perfect conditions.

A North Easterly blew a constant 18.6mph, with incremental wind shift of 6 degrees, the combination of tide and wind generated perfect waves on which to surf. The start line and marks were laid for the weekend, without the need to move any of them over the regatta, presenting sailing at its best for all competitors.

The event held a number of unusual twists and turns. David McKee, having won previously at Windermere in an old wooden boat, being the sportsman he is, decided that it was not a sufficient handicap to be in the oldest boat on the water and therefore would sail the event backwards. Coming in 16th was therefore a credible result.

Nigel Tullett, RWYC Commodore to be, did not perform to his usual standard, as the weight of his blue blazer with its gold buttons and the heavily embroidered crest on his chest, was not the ideal garment to perform in.

Chris Ducker's brand new boat, sailed amazing well with a considerable speed advantage over all the fleet, to such an extent he didn't bother with the wind shift. His excellent crew and first class tactician, Peter Wright, decided to swim ashore in the third race, stating, there was no point in him being in the boat as he was not being listened too, it also saved his ear drums from the inevitable further pounding.

The Current Commodore, Amanda Wilson, sailed with son number 3, who is currently cohabiting at home, therefore unlike all the other crews, they were able to sit close to each other on the side deck. This led to a number of the visitors stating that the Honorary Officer was receiving an unfair advantage, as all others struggled to steer their craft whilst perched on the transom, situated behind the yellow and black striped piece of tape stuck athwart ships on each boat by the Clubs measurer and fleet secretary, Adam Cowley.

The Fleet Captain, Dave Heron, crewed by the Class Secretary Keith Jameison, had four well deserved bullets, only to be black flagged in all four races. They came ashore dejected, blaming technology, as the drone Dave was flying at the time with a fisheye lens, was putting a gentle windward curve in the start line.

The final winner was International super star and past world champion Steve Goacher, who sailed exceptionally well with consistent result in the top ten, beating the large talented fleet. Goacher Sails kindly sponsored the event, contributing several cases of a local strong brew, which, as a quirk of the results, Steve won. There was some concern shown later that afternoon as Steve was last seen being carried out of the Club by Phil Evans and Tim Harper.

Many thanks must go to the Club for organising and running such a marvellous event, from the jobsworth car park attendant, the bikini clad rescue boat drivers John and Kevin, the OOD with his premature watch, caterers serving spam and rhubarb pickle burgers for breakfast and the other lead sponsor, Slum Clothing.

Hope you enjoyed the above reflective report, although the reality was it was actually absolutely perfect conditions over the weekend on Windermere. What a pity, see you later in the season or next year?

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