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2021 Miracle Northern Championship at Delph Sailing Club

by Martin Bathe 4 Oct 2021 11:07 BST 2-3 October 2021
Simon Evans & Stephen Cronshaw set off on the final reach on their way to victory in the Miracle Northerns at Delph © Martin Bathe

Sponsored by the Bank Top Brewery, Bolton and First Mark, Golborne

Despite some dire wind forecasts for the weekend including one of 18 knot winds gusting to 39, the Miracle Northern Championships got under way on the Saturday without the anticipated drama.

Also, fortunately, there wasn't much rain whilst the boats were on the water although conditions were not pleasant for the visitors rigging their boats nor for those camping out overnight with heavy rain. At least the rain helped top up the depleted water levels in the reservoir a bit.

With only two visiting boats, Delph boats made up the majority of the fleet and along with the usual stalwarts there were a few of sailors that were new to Miracle racing and trying it out for the first time.

On Saturday, the two races were dominated by Simon Evans sailing with Stephen Cronshaw. They were planning to sail with their children but decided against it based on the conditions so instead sailed together. In both races Simon and Stephen established a lead off the start line and romped away from the rest of the field to two comfortable victories. Behind them, in race 1, after a less than ideal start off a starboard biased line, Wayne Atherton and Angela Sweeney worked their way up to a clear second place and behind them there was a battle for third on the approach to the finish between two boats which was eventually won by Andy and Will Taylor by virtue of them calling water on their rivals Simon Reddecliffe and Mark Atherton on the line. In race 2, off a port biased line, Wayne and Angela managed a better start but still didn't match Simon and Stephen off the line and who started at the pin end and tacked across nearly the whole fleet which, much to the amazement of the Race Officer John Cronshaw, largely piled up at the committee boat on the starboard end of the line with Ian and Lilly Brown and Paul and Nathan Robinson having to go round again. As the second race progressed the wind dropped off and helms sailing with younger crew, most notably Sam and Elliot Naylor, managed to race more competitively.

Saturday evening the Delph volunteer barbeque team put on their pinnies and served up a feast whilst the assembled sailors and their entourages attempted but failed to drink the bar dry. The evening also doubled up as the club's RYA award evening, overseen by the Club's Training Principal Karen Taylor and included the awarding of the Youth RYA Sailing with Spinnakers award to a number of the younger Miracle sailors.

On the Sunday, there was one race in the morning and, although the breeze was fairly strong, the gusts were moderate and there was broken sunshine. Simon and Stephen decided to split up and sail with their children, Simon sailing with Lucy and Stephen sailing with Jacob. Of the two pairings, Simon and Lucy were the more competitive and, despite not using their spinnaker, managed third place finishing closely behind Simon and Mark and Wayne and Angela. After lunch the wind got up and only one of the two races scheduled for the afternoon was sailed. Over half the fleet decided not to compete. Simon and Stephen reunited in the same boat and sailed to a clear first place whilst giving an excellent demonstration of sailing a boat flat in challenging conditions. The race behind them developed into a procession led by Wayne and Angela, the only close racing being between Louis Moulden sailing with Bill Morris and Paul and Nathan Robinson, which resulted in a tussle for fourth place which Paul and Nathan won.

The event concluded with the clubhouse full of weary windblown sailors and a prize-giving. On the face of it, as adult males approaching middle age, Simon and Stephen are not an ideal pairing for a Miracle and are now more suited to sailing an RS400. However, having sailed a Miracle together as teenagers through into young adulthood with some success some twenty years ago or so, in the strong wind conditions and with Lucy's help they made sailing a Miracle look easy and came out as worthy Miracle Northern Champions. As for Lucy, she seemed very pleased with the outcome, not least because she got a tub of chocolates bigger than her head. Not a bad reward for a morning's work.

Last but not least, Delph Sailing Club would like to thank the Bank Top Brewery, Bolton and First Mark, Golborne for sponsoring the event.

Overall Results: (four races, 1 discard)

PosHelmCrewClubSail NoR1R2R3R4Pts
1Simon EvansStephen Cronshaw & Lucy EvansDelph277211[3]13
2Wayne AthertonAngela SweeneyDelph4121222[2]6
3Simon ReddecliffeMark Atherton 4007[4]3137
4Andy TaylorWill TaylorDelph3796354[16]12
5Louis MouldenBill MorrisDelph41005[16]5515
6Paul RobinsonNathan RobinsonWhitefriars41107[7]6417
7Graham WattsHelen JacksStaunton Harold411466[7]618
8Ian BrownLilly BrownDelph409810[10]8725
9Sam NaylorElliot NaylorDelph34939810[16]27
10Matt DonaldsonAlison MoleDelph40228416[16]28
11Alan BartonNicola GillamDelph406512913[16]34
12Martin BathePoppy HaslamDelph59131111[16]35
13Will DysonLuke TongeDelph3414111312[16]35
14Stephen CronshawJacob CronshawDelph405616169[16]41
15Dave HaslamMolly HaslamDelph3825161216[16]44

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