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GP14 National Youth Championship at West Lancashire Yacht Club

by Amy Street 4 Oct 2022 17:37 BST
Harriet Wood and Charlotte Cooper - GP14 National Youth Championship at West Lancashire © Kit Robinson

A view from fourth place

Firstly, I would like to thank West Lancashire Yacht Club for hosting the Youths on very short notice due to low water levels at Bolton.

Eleven boats, 21 youth sailors and one adult crew took to the water! We started the day with a light breeze and a goody bag to keep us going.

The first start was uneventful, for my boat at least, until we got to the first mark. We were leading until we realised you couldn't come into the mark for more than about four boat lengths on starboard. Which meant after some sitting next to the mark for a bit, we ended up mid-fleet. It is at this point, I would like to thank my amazing sister/crew Lucy Street for dealing with me on that first run down.

The course was a sausage-triangle, with an average of 5 minutes a lap. So mark roundings and remembering what lap you were on were definitely key components of doing well!

The fleet seemed to stay together quite nicely for the first half of the race before the front runners started to pull away. Hannah Whitham and Emma Robertson Toddbrook SC and Swarkstone SC were fighting with Emily Page and Joe Mills of Budworth SC for the remainder of the race and as for the rest of us, we were trying our very best not to get lapped. Well done Hannah and Emma winning the first race with Emily and Joe coming in second.

The second race start was eventful with changing wind strength on the first beat and very shifty conditions proving in itself interesting. The previous winners found themselves stuck drifting next to Lucy and I a minute before the start. Safe to say we both started near the back.

The first mark was also a bit of a mess like the race before, I was amazed by all the young sailor's skills that no-one got a hole in their boat. After the first leg it was the same course feeling like all you were doing was hoisting the kite, gybing and dropping it.

The fleet was a lot more spread out this time and I am told Emma and Hannah worked their way up the fleet battling with Finley Waterhouse and Eva Murphy of Budworth SC until the final hoot. Hannah and Emma won the second race, with Finley and Eva in second.

Afterwards, we went in for a quick lunch, a warming bowl of hot pasta. Then, back on the water for the third race. Unfortunately, we had to give up some of our space to water skiers on the far side of the lake. So, we now started between the two islands which funnelled the now strong winds towards our short starting line.

The start got under way remarkably well until all the calls for water and sudden tacking made it a very hectic first beat. After an alright start we were in third, Rosanna Joyce and Sian Baird of Budworth SC in first and Harriet Wood and Charlotte Cooper from the host club in second. It felt like a bit of a follow-my-leader with occasional challenges, but the first three boats sailed away from the rest.

Unluckily for Lucy and I on the last lap Emma and Hannah had managed to close the distance after a bad start and stole third from us. Unfortunately, one of the local boats capsized at the leeward mark and had to retire after showing a great performance and challenging Lucy and I for third at the start of the race. Well done to Rosanna and Sian for winning the race in those challenging conditions.

After a brilliant day of racing, we were provided with pizza before one of the parents got out his guitar and we all sat around singing whilst we had some fireworks going off in the background.

The next morning everyone seemed very tired from the previous days racing but lots of tea, coffee and bacon butties seemed to perk everyone up. The wind had also picked up a lot and a change of course to a square going around the closest island. With the start line to be in the middle of the islands again. One boat on the way to the start hoisted their spinnaker and capsized, which put everyone off from hoisting their kite for the first race of the day.

It was a clean start, Lucy and I rounded the first mark around third. After the 1st mark everyone took off and planed to the next mark before the wind died on the far side of the island. Which meant boats had to decide between going as far away from the island into the stronger winds or the possibility of getting covered and overtaken. This proved for some interesting overtaking in some very shifty winds.

Lucy and I slowly gained places keeping away from the island until we found ourselves first! We had Emily and Joe as well as Hannah and Emma at our heels before slowly pulling away leaving them to have a very difficult battle for second. The results for that race were Amy and Lucy first, then Emily and Joe coming in second.

The last race of the event, last start, going so well until the Irish lads - Diathi and Arann Murphy Tralee Bay SC - capsized in the middle of the start line and landed on another boat, ripping their main. This put Lucy and I near the back of the fleet, we decided we no longer cared about capsizing and were the only boat that day to successfully fly the kite, it was so much fun!

Lucy and I were in the middle of the fleet by the end of the race having some very fierce back and forth with Rosanna and Sian. Further up the fleet, Finley and Eva won the last race keeping Hannah and Emma in second.

Apart from some broken jib sheets, a torn spinnaker and a ripped mainsail everyone came away from the event unscathed and very tired.

I would also like to mention the strong turn out of girls - four female boats, four male boats and three mixed - it's the first event I have been to that had the same number of girls and boys racing, and it was really special to be a part of it. It was also amazing to see four different race winners, demonstrating the close and intense racing.

Well done to Emma and Hannah for winning the event, the four boats that won a race and everyone else who participated. Thank you to everyone that organised and made the event possible and hope to see you all next year!

There were nine and a half youth boats and one and a half Youth Helm Adult crew boats entered. One hedged his bets by having Oliver Lea a youth sailing sailing in the lighter winds of Saturday and Bob Caton an adult in the boat for the heavier winds of Sunday.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st1338Hannah WhithamEmma RobertsonToddbrook SC and Swarkstone SC11‑3327
2nd14140Emily PageJoe MillsBudworth Sailing Club23‑62512
3rd13966Finley WaterhouseEva Mae MurphyBudworth Sailing Club525‑11113
4th13787Amy StreetLucy StreetWelsh Harp Sailing Club4‑641615
5th12217Harriet WoodCharlotte CooperWest Lancashire Yacht Club3428‑917
6th13875Rosanna JoyceSian BairdBudworth Sailing Club6‑715719
7th13650Kavan ElliotOliver TateSouthport sailing club85(DNF)6322
8th13320Elliott Leonard HeapOliver Lea/ Bob CatonWest Lancashire Yacht Club9(DNF)810431
9th8162Joshua AubreyAnna StonecliffeBolton sailing club‑10977831
10th13677Daithi MurphyArann MurphyTralee Bay Sailing Club‑1110941134
11th13721Matthew BairdRoss BairdBudworth Sailing Club78‑1091034

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