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GP14 Northern Bell at Royal Windermere Yacht Club

by Simon McVey 30 Sep 2022 11:09 BST 25 September 2022
GP14 Northern Bell at Royal Windermere © David Heron

With Bowness Bay looking like a mirror and the nearby fells covered in a heavy grey cloud, locals felt there was little prospect of any breeze filling in for the Royal Windermere Yacht Club's joint GP14 and Solo Open meeting. Bacon sandwiches were eaten, cups of coffee consumed and the lack of any movement in the postponement flag clearly indicated there was zero wind.

However by lunchtime a southerly breeze was slowly starting to fill in and a fleet of nine GP14s launched at 1:30 and headed south through the narrows. Visitors from Budworth, Nantwich & Border Counties and Blackpool & Fleetwood joined six RWYC boats along with ten Solos competing for their Northern Series.

The race officer set a port hand triangular course which would prove to be tricky in a shifty south westerly. The sensible starting place seemed to be the committee boat end of the line but a large hole just after the start turned this into an unfavourable decision. Boats further down the line were able to find a more consistent breeze giving Jonathan/Sebastian Nagle (RWYC) and Simon McVey/Judith Gore (RWYC) a substantial lead by the first mark.

The downwind leg saw the leaders being caught by Hugh Devereux/Gareth Stapel-Jones (Budworth SC) and these three boats rounded the leeward mark together to start their second lap.

Devereux showed that he was quick to learn from the locals and tacked off early to find the steadier breeze. This proved to be the right decision and saw him crossing the line first ahead of McVey/Gore with Jonathan and young son Sebastian Nagle finishing in third place.

Sticking with the same start-line and course allowed Race Officer Steve Bewsher to rapidly get the second race under way and this followed a similar pattern, boats trying to win the committee boat end when further down the line proved to be more advantageous. First to show was Oliver and Hatty Dumbleton who had travelled from Nantwich & Border Counties and they were closely followed by John Pawson/ Lisa Knaggs (RWYC) who led round ahead of the Nagles and McVey/Gore.

Lap two saw Deveraux/Stapel-Jones join the leading boats as they tried to find a way to get to the windward mark which was not proving easy in the shifty westerly. McVey/Gore rounded first just ahead with Devereaux/Stapel-Jones and Pawson/Knaggs side by side with spinnakers flying for the two legs back to the finish.

It is a well-known local fact that trying to overtake John Pawson to windward is not an easy task and despite a valiant effort Devereaux was not able to improve from his third position.

The 4pm deadline was fast approaching meaning no time for a third race so the fleet sailed north, back to the clubhouse in Bowness Bay.

Prizes, kindly donated by Goacher Sails, were presented by Penny Aubrey, the Commodore's wife, to John Pawson and Lisa Knaggs in third, Hugh Devereux and Gareth Stapel-Jones in second and to Simon McVey and Judith Gore the event winners.

Royal Windermere Yacht Club has a fleet of twelve GP14s and is grateful to be included in this year's Northern Bell Series.

Overall Results:

1stSimon McVeyJudith GoreRWYC213
2ndHugh DeverauxGareth Stapel JonesBudworth SC134
3rdJohn PawsonLisa KnaggsRWYC527
4thJonathan NagleSebastian NagleRWYC369
5thHarry FrithJulian ClarkeRWYC459
6thOliver DumbeltonHatty DumbeltonNantwich & BCSC6410
7thPaul AstonClare AstonRWYC8715
8thJames AstonJames KayRWYC7DNC17
9thAdam ChaplinChris LambBF&YC9817

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