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Winder Boats Solo Northern Series at Royal Windermere Yacht Club

by Nigel Hutchinson 28 Sep 2022 19:36 BST 25 September 2022
Winder Boats Solo Northern Series at Windermere © David Heron

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that the Royal Windermere Yacht Club's 17ft Class don't start racing until 2.20pm; and that after 150 years' experience, there must be a reason for it. It may just be a case of '...that is when the wind arrives!'

For the entrants to the 11th round of the Solo Northern Series the long morning wait for the wind to fill-in felt like every bit of 150 years. 10.00, 11.00, 12.00,... wind spotters were sent out by motorised craft, (the only form of moving transport), into the North and South basins of the Lake, only to return glum faced; an Edwardian steam launch, plying its trade from a nearby museum laid a smoke trail over the water that was only disturbed by a passing cormorant.

However, a breeze did arrive, and with it, a decision to go South.

The fleet launched at 1.30pm and sailed out through the narrows joined by a sister fleet of Northern Bell GP14s and the Swan, one of the large passenger boats. Visitors from Bassenthwaite, Burwain, Blackpool and Fleetwood, Yeadon and Chester, joined three RWYC boats to make a fleet of ten Solos, milling around the starting area, south of the chain-ferry and with an archipelago of rocks between the start-line and the windward mark.

Racing started at..!... 2.20 and a port hand triangular course proved tricky in the shifty westerly wind.

After two laps John Reekie (Bassenthwaite) came out on top, followed by Steve Dennison (Yeadon). Nigel Hutchinson (RWYC), starting somewhat bizarrely at the pin end of the line, circumnavigated to the east of the rocks, arriving at the windward mark for the first time in fifth place and then fought his way to finish third.

Sticking with the same start-line and course made for a rapid re-start for race 2. Steve Dennison, Chris Robinson (Blackpool and Fleetwood) and John Reekie pulled away from the rest of the fleet finishing after two laps in that order while a tousle developed for fourth place between Nigel Hutchinson, John Richardson (RWYC) and Innes Armstrong (Burwain).

A backmarker GP14 proved a useful aid for Hutchinson who pipped Armstrong to the finish and something of a barrier to Richardson who couldn't prevent Phil Snewin (RWYC) passing him to finish sixth. The 4.00pm curfew was fast approaching so the fleet sailed north, back to the Clubhouse in Bowness Bay.

Prizes, kindly donated by Impact Marine, were presented by Penny Aubrey, the Commodore's wife, to Chris Robinson in third place, John Reekie in second and to Steve Dennison the event winner. Steve, who, on arrival at the Club and seeing the state of the windlessness had not even taken the cover off his boat and had had a scramble to get to the start, gave a fine vote of thanks to the RWYC and the assisting Members.

Hutchinson was heard to mutter of a shortage of prizes for first RWYC member (himself), first Septuagenarian (himself) and first Lady, Justine Davenport from Burwain.

The RWYC has a strengthening Solo Fleet and is grateful to be included in this year's Northern Traveller Series and would welcome a return visit on the basis that usually, there really is wind before 2.20pm.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2Pts
1st6013Stephen DennisonYeadon SC213
2nd5407John ReekieBassenthwaite SC134
3rd5449Chris RobinsonBlackpool & Fleetwood YC527
4th6031Nigel HutchinsonRoyal Windermere YC347
5th5949John RichardsonRoyal Windermere YC4711
6th5813Innes ArmstrongBurwain SC6511
7th5963Phil SnewinRoyal Windermere YC8614
8th4715Justine DavenportBurwain SC7916
9th5203Mike CowanBassenthwaite SC9817
10th5888Phil ProctorChester SC101020

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