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North West Senior Travellers at Southport Sailing Club

by Dave Woodhead 21 Jul 13:47 BST

The weather gods have not been kind to this series this year. The first three events had forecasts of very light winds, the fourth had a forecast of gusting over 30 mph and the fifth was on the hottest day ever recorded in the UK with warnings about avoiding travel and staying in the shade!

Entries were hit yet again and yet for those of us that did travel we had a nice refreshing breeze and manageable temperatures beside the cool Irish Sea.

A decision was made to sail the first two races back to back so that they would be completed before the temperature peaked in mid afternoon. The easterly breeze meant that a course could be set with three short beats across the lake towards the promenade. This placed the windward marks close to buildings which meant that the last few boat lengths were sailed in patchy, shifty conditions.

Local sailor Martin Cooper in his Laser obviously knew the best way to approach these tricky windward marks and took the race from Andy Flitcroft (Supernova) and Dave Woodhead (Solo) Other local sailors (Charlie Adams, Martin Butcher, Enterprise and Martin McKettrick, Streaker) made up the top 5.

The visitors had got the hang of the beats by the second race and Andy Flitcroft and Dave Woodhead took first and second places with Martin Cooper in third. Fourth and Fifth were a repeat of the first race.

After two races the sailors enjoyed their lunch with jugs of iced water in the shade of the clubhouse. Meanwhile outside unnoticed for a short while the wind had suddenly gone from east to south and freshened dramatically. Boats were being blown off trolleys! A quick dash outside was required to secure the boats and admire the white horses on the lake.

An interesting discussion then followed about heat-induced unstable air and the effect of high tide which had recently covered the nearby hot sand banks.

The start of the third race was delayed whilst the wind decided what it was going to do. The white horses were enough to start some sailors packing up their boats, including front runners Martin Cooper and Dave Woodhead. (Martins boat had blown off its trolley and Dave's was rescued just as it reached 45 degrees.)

It was a mistake to pack up! After 20 minutes the wind abated and blew down the length of the race providing the best sailing of the day! Andy Flitcroft took full advantage to take his second win and victory on the day. The ever consistent Charlie Adams and Martin Butcher took second and Martin McKettrick third. Fourth was Mark Cuthbert in a Blaze and fifth William Birch in a Mirror.

Andy Flitcroft now has a commanding lead in the series with three wins after the first five events. With only two events left he is going to prove difficult to catch.

The next event is at Elton Sailing Club on the 6th September.

Southport top 5 results:

1 Andy Flitcroft
2 Martin Cooper
3 Dave Woodhead (First Grand Master)
4 Charlie Adams and Martin Butcher (First Master)
5 Marin McKettrick

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