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The One Bassenthwaite Lake Sailing Week Overall

by Bass Press 9 Aug 08:02 BST 31 July - 8 August 2021

160 fleet starts, 2 pursuit races, a Commodores reception, a bouncy castle assault course, lots of kids entertainment, millions of ice creams, 3 live bands and 1 final Olympic themed disco. It's over. Bass Week 2021 made up for a miserable 18 months and a cancelled Bass Week 2020.

The midweek racing started on Monday, sponsored by Embleton Spa, with just one afternoon race to give new arrivals an opportunity to travel and set up boats and camp. Often known as the round the lake race, Monday's Luffing Cup was raced in the bay. A sensible decision given the Westerly wind. In the fast handicap and the Flying Fifteens, familiar faces claimed first place, with the RS400 of Mark Somerville and Joe Roberts making easy work of the fast handicap and similarly Simon Longstaff and Jon Denwood in the fifteens. Chris and Evie Pickles were first in the 200s as was the ever-consistent Ellie Craig sailing an RS Aero in the medium handicap. On the final beat to the finish, Simon Weatherspoon covered the second place Laser (or is it ILCA!?) tack for tack, claiming his consecutive first place. David and Lynn Lawson finished first in the GP14s.

Building momentum from the weekend series, the week-long Solo fleet battle between Robin Dawson and John Reekie finished in that order. Once again Graduates dominated the slow handicap with Chris and Chloe Parker from Southport claiming a popular victory. Setting the tone for the week, Mirror/Topper/Tera fleet was won by Graham and Sebastian Vials sailing a Mirror. The first Topper was Morgan Busby and first Tera Cameron Somerville. Monday evenings quiz night was even more competitive than the sailing. To top it off the sun broke through for some Mediterranean-esque BBQ action under a cloudless sky.

Tuesday got off to a flying start with two Gold and one Silver medals for GBR in the sailing! A short postponement allowed the westerly breeze to settle in. Because Bass Week is multiple events and not one long series, competitors can swap and change boats (or skip a race and walk up a fell). Tuesday mornings single race, the Dubwath Cup, sponsored by Bassenthwaite Lakeside Lodges, was a good example of this, with many new faces across the 10 fleets. Fresh from J70 sailing at Cowes Week, Rob Cook swapped high fits for hiking pads and won the fast handicap sailing a Phantom. Rob Mountain and Victoria Manifold won the FF15s, as did Simon Weatherspoon once again in the Laser fleet.

The single race saw some new young faces crewing for parents with Chris Pickles winning the 200s, this time expertly crewed by son Jack and Matthew and Oliver Sharman winning the competitive medium handicap sailing a Laser 2000. Continuing with the father and son trend, Ed and Oliver Thomas claimed another first place in the Enterprise fleet. David and Lynn Lawson won the GP14s as did Neil Currie in the Solos. Once again, the Graduates dominated the slow handicap, this time Tim Hand and Riley Garfoot finishing ahead on Team Parker. No surprises in the Mirror/Topper/Tera fleet, won by the dominant Graham and Sebastian Vials sailing a Mirror. Andrew Reekie finished first Tera, sailing really well given his recent transition from the Optimist.

After a lunch break the Nairn Pursuit, sponsored by Ginger Boats, was held in strengthening winds. Graham Vials sailing a Mirror with son Sebastian, took advantage of clear airs to take an early lead, which no other boat was able to overcome. It was encouraging to see the chasing faster boats holding their position whilst the ribs razzed down the fleet recording 75 positions!

Wednesdays NatWest Cup, sponsored by Grapevine Wines, was sailed in a sunny force 4, champagne conditions for the popular midweek series. Mark Somerville and Joe Roberts blasted along the 3 sail reaches to win the fast handicap on countback from Paul and Jude Allen. Counting 2 bullets, Simon Longstaff and Jon Denwood once again made easy work of the FF15s, as did Phil and Naomi Smith in the RS200s. Mastering the gusty conditions and fast off wind reaches, Ellie Craig in the medium handicap and Simon Weatherspoon in the Lasers, both counted only first places. Ed and Oliver Thomas easily won the Enterprise fleet, as did Dave and Lynn Lawson in the GP14s.

Some new faces in the Solo fleet, with Jack knight wining with a 1st and 2nd sailing his Dads boat. In the medium handicap it was another win for the Graduate sailed by Tim Hand and Riley Garfoot. In the Mirror/Topper/Tera Jethro and Edward Gebhard sailed well to take a race off the experts Graham and Sebastian Vials, but couldn't do enough in the second race with the Graham and Sabastian taking the series by 2 points. Other than the fast handicap and the Mirror/Topper/Tera, the other 8 fleets were dominated by teams winning both races in the challenging conditions!

Thursday's forecast did not disappoint. Sponsored by Impact Marine, the Martini Challenge delivered Garda like conditions, with a force 5 blowing straight down all 4 miles of Bassenthwaite Lake. A challenging day for the younger sailors, not helped by a 4-mile windward leg followed by a sleigh ride off wind in a building sea (lake) state.

Dave Exley and Alistair Coates worked up the left shore to build a solid lead, winning the fast handicap by several minutes on corrected. Mark Somerville and Joe Roberts finished second, finishing in style by clocking 21knots on the reach to the finish line! The unbeatable team of Simon Longstaff and Jon Denwood revelled in the challenging conditions, winning the FF15 fleet by some margin.

Yesterday's sponsor, Phil and Sarah Hodgkins (aka Ginger Boats) won the RS200 fleet, passing Robin and Erin Dawson on the blast back down the lake whilst they were recovering from spinnaker issues. In the Enterprise fleet, Ed Thomas swapped his regular crew, son Oliver, for the fully-grown Royston Taggart, finishing first and the only Ent to make it home. With over a 4-minute lead, Simon Weatherspoon hiked his was to victory, as did John Reekie in the one and only Solo, now in the medium handicap. Sensibly, many of the Mirror/Topper/Tera fleet stayed on dry land. Chris and Alex Balding finished first, narrowly ahead of Andy and Lily Smith also in a Mirror.

Thursday's RNLI pursuit, sponsored by Ginger Boats, was postponed to Friday, following seriously breezy conditions just before the start. Friday offered light airs but despite their start advantage, the Mirrors could not maintain their lead, giving way to Adam Billany in an International 2.4 who led through to the finish of the 80-minute race.

As is often the case, the junior and senior race was sailed in challenging conditions. This year a punchy force 4 south westerly breeze caught out a few but also offered fast reaches for the many spectators onshore. Finishing over 3 minutes ahead on corrected time, Tom Coates won in his Laser Radial. Mike Fairlamb and Sally Roberts finished 3rd overall and first senior team. The weather cleared up for Fridays prize-giving, held in sunshine outside the club house. After a long mid-week series many a dance was had to another live band in the marquee.

And so to the final weekend, Cutty Sark Challenge sponsored by The Lakes Distillery. A slow start for those up late, with a building south easterly breeze once again blowing the length of the lake. The race officer started bang on 10:30am, catching out a few competitors who blasted through the start line and realised it was a 4 mile hike off up the lake. Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman won the fast handicap, counting 4 first places. Ron Mountain and Victoria Manifold won the FF15 fleet as did Luke and Marie Shaw in the RS200s. Ellie Craig finished another dominating week in the medium handicap, winning all 3 races on Saturday and earning the luxury of sitting out Sunday's single race. Swapping the RS400 for a Laser, Alastair Coates also won all three races on Saturday.

Ed Thomas and Royston Taggart finished first in the Enterprise fleet, this time dropping Ed's first race of the week, finishing second in race 2 to Mark and Trish Blackham. Andy Smith and Phil Hodgkins teamed back up for the weekend series, winning three races in the GP14 fleet to finish first. Only 2 Solos made it to the start line, with John Reekie beating Mike Cowan. Some new faces at the front of the slow handicap, Greg Thomas and Abi Hodge sailing a Graduate, narrowly beating Ant Woodyear and Alan Rutherford. Winning in countback, Fiona and George Spence won the Mirror/Topper/Tera fleet, with Rob and Elizabeth Cook in 2nd.

You'll be glad to hear that's the end of this year's racing report! Almost, just the special prizes and awards to go. The Ovington Memorial trophy for best fast handicap was won by Chris Pickles and Matthew Sharman. The HiJinx Trophy for best Bass sailor under 18 was easily won by Matthew Somerville, sailing an RS Tera. The extra-large and much polishing required, Miners Trophy for best Bass FF15 was claimed by Simon Longstaff and Commodore Jon Denwood. And finally, the Endeavour Trophy, for best perseverance and singing on the race course was awarded Hannah Preston.

An emotional Jon Denwood thanked the organising team for another fantastic Bass Week. Other than a little help on the bar, the entire event is planned and run by club members. Our visitors and friends from Swarkestone once again thanked Bassenthwaite Sailing Club for running the event and making it as safe and as fun as possible. Until next year. Friday 30th July.

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