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2022 Miracle Northern Championship at Delph Sailing Club

by Nigel Reddecliffe 18 May 2022 09:46 BST 14-15 May 2022
The first beat on the Saturday, shortly after the start, during the Miracle Northerns at Delph © Chris Jones

2022 Miracle Northern Championship sponsored by the Bank Top Brewery and First Mark, held on Saturday and Sunday 14th and 15th May 2022, at Delph Sailing Club, Bolton.

This was a two day event which attracted a fleet of 16 Miracle class dinghies on the Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th of May 2022 to compete in fine summery weather on the moors north of Bolton and to enjoy an appreciated satisfying barbecue dinner in the Club House for competitors and club members alike.

During all the previous week, sailors had rubbed their hands in glee watching local trees dance and seeing the moving sweep of colour of long grasses as fresh winds gusted across open lands and waters, - it just had to continue so for the 'Northerns' this weekend!? Didn't it? Of course not!

Saturday's weather was disappointedly sunny, bland and sparse of wind.

Race 1

Officer of the day Graham Clow and his team chose a successful course and saw 15 boats align behind a just-long-enough start line and all make a clean starboard move to claim power as quickly as possible after the start signal. With his very small daughter crew, Simon Evans made a just about non-stop rounding of the windward mark leading Andrew Taylor sailing with Molly (teenager crew), followed by Paul Robinson sailing with Dave Dyson whose boats both had found windless holes to tarry in, but who both had made better progress than the rest of the fleet struggling in two groups some distance behind.

Half way through the course Wayne Atherton sailing with Angela Sweeny had managed to move up the fleet into second position in the racing fleet but could not catch Simon sailing with Lucy at all. The order of progress was quite haphazard, though the final positions (as always?) reflected the expected finishes of the more experienced sailors. The only fright for the O D was the close finish between Karen Taylor and Louis Moulden as Louis got a surge of last gasp wind to finish just a matter of circa 4 or 5 inches ahead of Karen. All other finishes occurred in nice easy sequencing with slight sunburn to all on the water.

Race 2

Under slightly more composed conditions and less patchy winds, this race was eventually shortened to one and a half laps, as the winds had not made much more strength as the afternoon progressed. Again a good fair start was achieved at the first attempt, with Wayne and Angela having to follow in the wake of Sam Naylor (3493) to the windward mark, where 4121 was just able to shoot ahead as Simon Evans joined in the three-some, many boat lengths in advance of the slightly wider spread out remaining fleet. The racing was interrupted by a couple of periods of windless patches over different areas of the course which, whilst frustrating for the becalmed dinghies, was interesting to watching spectators, seeing the skill and vigilance of practised helms in seeking to take advantage of the merest cat's-paw of wind as such appeared on the water surface.

Come Sunday morning and as foretold, lo the water has small wavelets and wind of say force 3 tailing to force 2. What a different day!

Race 3

A clean start, under essentially force 3 winds, resulted in Graham Watts/Helen Jacks in (4114) making a bee line to the windward mark fairly closely followed there by Simon Evans and daughter in 2772 with Wayne and Angela in hot pursuit as Steven Cronshaw made 4th position of this group in Miracle (4056). At this juncture Simon Evans made a retirement due to a knee injury restricting his ability to bear rapid movements and ensure that his daughter did not experience a capsizing nor lose her confidence in crewing. The remaining fleet strung out into fairly evenly spaced order in essentially expected pecking order with 12 craft reaching the finish line and landing ashore for lunch.

Race 4

Shortly after lunch the launching beach was a line of wind-facing Miracles with mainsails raised, crackling and snapping in the wind, now blowing at force 4+ with a few souls somewhat apprehensive! However as boats were launched and set to work the noise subsided, a couple of immediate capsizes were righted and confidence was restored.

Of the twelve craft crossing the start-line, Louis Moulden was first to the windward mark of this race, with Karen Taylor closely challenging him as Graham Watts chased her and then Wayne making a 4th contender closely followed by the oldest boat in the fleet (59) with Martin Bathe manipulating the tiller. The first lap of the course had problems for the first three boats jostling for the second mark within a small bay of water when an escaping pintle-securing pin allowed its rudder to unhinge with loss of control resulting in all three craft to jam together and run ashore. Whilst damage was thankfully almost indiscernible, the delay to untangle and re-float the dinghies and push off the wind resulted in a substantial delay, whilst Wayne (Thank you very much!) steered past to become race leading boat! Meanwhile in the centre of the water 3493 had contact with 3383 which then was seen to have shipped more water than was convenient and was shepherded back to shore (with its gunnels at water-line) by the safety boat using only a fore-sail in gentle use to reach dry land. Nine boats finished the course.

Race 5

The last race of the day, was effected under possibly force 5 gusts and only six craft lined up to contest the race (and give measure to the final placements of the event) which Wayne and Angela made their own by securing yet another first place and becoming clear overall winners.

In the final analysis, the range of conditions under pleasant sunny weather gave a good measure of the ability of contestants to cope with all types of conditions and the results were fair trial of both boats and their helms.

Delph Sailing Club would like to thank the Bank Top Brewery, Bolton and First Mark, Golborne for sponsoring the event.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelm CrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
14121Wayne AthertonAngela SweeneyDelph[2]111[1]3
23835Andy TaylorMolly HaslamDelph44[5]2[18]10
34114Graham WattsHelen JacksStaunton Harold[9][12]27211
44110Paul RobinsonDave DysonWhitefriars[10][7]43411
54100Louis MouldenBill MorrisDelph6[11]8[18]317
63796Karen TaylorPoppy HaslamDelph737[18][18]17
73493Sam NaylorElliott NaylorDelph85[10]4[18]17
82772Simon EvansLucy & Anna EvansDelph1218[18][18]21
9*4098Richard SmithLucy NaylorBroadwater/Delph3612[18][18]21
104098lan BrownLilly BrownDelph[18]9[9]8522
114065Alan BartonNicola GillhamDelph58[11]9[18]22
1259Martin BatheJo HaslamDelph13[18][18]5624
133414Dave HaslamEmma Morris & Will DysonDelph12[14]136[18]31
143383Mark AshworthFinlay SmithDelph11156[18][18]35
154056Steve Cronshaw Jacob CronshawDelph18183[18][18]39
164056John Cronshaw Jacob CronshawDelph141018[18][18]42
174009Dominic StangerJack FarrimondDelph181318[18][18]49

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