Please select your home edition
Melges 15

Sunrise to Sunset event (S2S) 2023 at Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club

by Cathy Lunn 14 Jun 2023 20:26 BST 10 June 2023
Sunrise sees racing begin - Sunrise to Sunset event at Leigh & Lowton © LLSC

On Saturday 10th June 2023 Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club hosted the second of their Sunrise to Sunset races at Pennington Flash. Now destined to become a firm fixture in the clubs busy sailing calendar, the club played hosts to teams from two visiting sailing clubs.

Returning from their visit in 2022 were Combs and Toddbrook, bringing two GP14s and an Enterprise together with newcomers to the race, Midland Sailing Club, with an Enterprise. LLSC were fielding six boats with crews of a range of abilities and one Parents and Juniors team. The Northern Feva squad were also present with a mix of sailors from various local clubs, having to get to grips with the intricacies of symmetric spinnakers instead of the asymmetric spinnakers they are normally handling.

With the weather for the whole of the preceding week being generally fine, sunny and very warm, the prospects for the day were looking good. But with storm Oscar in close proximity to the UK by the end of the week, the Met Office forecast was predicting thunderstorms for the day but the timing of the start of these storms varied hugely from anytime from midday onwards! The race team were prepped to cover all eventualities!

So Friday evening saw visitors and club members pitching tents and setting up campervans on the club's recently landscaped camping area, undertaking last minute training and intense team talks for the strategy for the day ahead as well as participating in the BBQ provided by the club's galley and propping the bar up later on in the evening where, it is rumoured, shots were being drunk until the early hours.

Saturday morning saw people stirring around 03:30, starting to rig boats and the race team were setting up the course and starting equipment. The preparatory signal was sounded, well whistled, and the fleet pennant displayed at 04:35 and the fleet had a clear start at 04:40 as the sun just started to appear over the trees on the eastern shoreline.

The breeze was a beautiful 8 knots with the occasional gust of 12 knots coming through, from an ESE direction, exactly as forecast. This allowed a long beat up the length of the Flash, then a good run down most of the northern shore until arriving at the opposite end, where the fleet turned back upwind to pass through the lap gate in front of the clubhouse.

LLSC's Slimfast team with a trio of Budworth SC ringers added into the mix, led by Dave Exley took an early lead. They led the fleet around the first lap, taking the Sparrow's Fart prize for the Fastest First Lap by 38 seconds on corrected time ahead of Team Southwell in their Enterprise. These two boats were closely followed by team Toddbrook GP14 in third place. The first set of results posted at 06:00 showed that on the average corrected lap time there was 30 seconds between Slimfast and Southwell and only 7 seconds between Southwell and Toddbrook GP14!

Over the next few hours, these three teams battled it out with all three positions changing on a regular basis. By the time the Midday Madness race was ongoing, the lead seemed to have settled down in Slimfast's favour with Team Southwell just managing to hold off Toddbrook with the 13:00 positions showing less than two seconds on the corrected average lap time between the two of them.

At mid-afternoon, Toddbrook had managed to work themselves into second place and were now starting to reel in Slimfast with less than 15 seconds between them on the average lap times and by 16:00 hours, Slimfast's lead was only 8 seconds. The wind was dropping to about 5 knots and was moving around to a SE direction, with lots of shifts in the breeze. Team Southwell suffered a set-back when the forestay fitting on their boat came adrift meaning a hurried change of boat was implemented but this then put them out of touch with the two leaders.

The Ladies Race for the Pina Colada Trophy for the fastest first lap after 17:00 hours, sailed by an all-female crew went to Toddbrook GP14 with a lap that was 1 minute faster than the Leigh & Lowton Lovely Ladies Team, with the Feva Team in third and the Parents & Juniors fourth.

By this time storm clouds were definitely building on the horizon. The Met Office predicting thunderstorms for early evening with heavy rain to follow for about three hours. The Race Team began to make preparations for the possibility of race postponement in line with the amendment to the Sailing Instructions which had been issued before the event started, with a close eye on the current forecast and a lightning locator app.

By 19:00, and the start of the Masters' Race, the race team had set in motion the requirements for an early finish to the race and, with heavy clouds now overhead, lightning flickering around the lake, and lightning strikes being shown as occurring in Newton-Le-Willows, only a few miles away, the RO took the decision at 19:20 to shorten course and finish the race. With the race team using three safety craft to identify the finishing positions of each competitor around the course, the fleet made its way back to shore and boats began to be packed away.

About 30 minutes later, having had a few rumbles of thunder around, there was an enormous flash immediately followed by a loud thunderclap overhead and the pace of packing away accelerated somewhat. The heavy rain never really materialised but the breeze dropped, swung through 180 degrees and then disappeared.

The early finished allowed sailors to grab some well-earned sustenance and refreshment from the bar whilst final results were drafted ahead of the day's third and final protest hearing! The prize-giving followed shortly after led by the club's president Mike Barnes - who was the main mastermind behind the event - certainly to push for it be run after last year's success.

Prizes were awarded for all individual race within race laps, first Enterprise, a special trophy awarded by the GP association for the fastest 14th lap by a GP and overalls as below.

Mike also thanked all the competitors, support teams, race management team, the galley and the bar staff and all those who'd inputted to make the event a fantastic success. He did forget to thank Laura (his daughter) but corrected it only after she'd left the room!!

The bar remained open till the early hours of Sunday morning for those with the energy there was also late night Karaoke by the Toddbrook team albeit the guest beer had long since been drunk!

The club look forward to the event becoming a regular fixture in their calendar and for it to continue to grow - with Budworth SC already having sampled and enjoyed the event we hope they'll muster at least one team next year too alongside the established regulars.


Special Prizes:

PrizeDescriptionWinning team
Sparrow’s FartFastest first lapLLSC Slimfast GP14
Cowboy timeFastest first lap after 10 to 10LLSC Slimfast GP14
Midday MadnessFastest first lap after 12LLSC Slimfast GP14
GP14 Association TrophyFastest 14th lap by a GP14LLSC Slimfast GP14
Cakes up for Tea timeFastest first lap after 15.30Toddbrook GP14
Pina Coldada raceFastest first lap sailed by an all female crew after 17Toddbrook GP14
Masters Race[not all teams completed lap but prize awarded to the LLSC team]

Overall Results (top 3):

PosClassClubTeam name
1STGP 14LLSCSlimfast

Related Articles

Leigh & Lowton S2S Race
Toddbrook/Combs win at the third attempt! They did it! After coming a close second to Leigh & Lowton in the last 2 events, Toddbrook/Combs claimed overall victory in the 2024 S2S event. Posted on 19 Jun
RS400 Trident UK Northern Tour at Leigh & Lowton
10 race sprint bonanza! Fourteen RS400s were welcomed at Leigh and Lowton by Race officer Gareth Williams and assistant Jen Williams. Gareth explained that with the approval of the fleet, he would try for five 30min races per day in a sprint format. Posted on 2 Apr
Leigh & Lowton New Year's Day Pursuit 2024
Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman were run away winners on a glorious but fickle day Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman were run away winners in a glorious but fickle New Year's Day. Chris commented afterwards that he had been trying to win a pursuit race at Leigh & Lowton for close on 20 years and was delighted to finally do that. Posted on 2 Jan
Guy Fawkes Pursuit Race at Leigh & Lowton
It's a Graduate 1, 2 Leigh & Lowton SC kicked off their winter programme with their traditional Guy Fawkes Pursuit, this year on Guy Fawkes night itself, so there was Mulled Wine, Parkin Cake and Treacle Toffee available by a roaring fire after prize-giving. Posted on 11 Nov 2023
Solo Northern Championship at Leigh & Lowton
A well supported event with 28 boats, including 20 visitors The Solo Northern Area Championship took place over the weekend of 23rd & 24th September 2023 and was well supported by 28 boats including 20 visitors. The event was held alongside a Laser one day open and an Enterprise weekend open. Posted on 29 Sep 2023
Race Sunrise to Sunset at Leigh & Lowton
With the Leigh & Lowton S2S Event on 10th June The absence of a long distance team-based race in the NW made the members of Leigh & Lowton SC wonder if they could put in place a suitable event - thus the S2S Race was born in 2022. Posted on 3 May 2023
North West Sailability Series at Leigh & Lowton
Keen racing with great coaching from Alan Williams and Matt Daly The first event of the North West Sailability Series was held at Leigh & Lowton SC on Tuesday 25th April. This is the second year this series has been held and attendance shows how popular it is becoming. Posted on 3 May 2023
North West Senior Travellers at Leigh & Lowton
A day when toe straps were not needed The first of the 2023 Senior Traveller events took place on Tuesday 25th April at Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club. This was a day when toe straps were not needed. The wind was erratic in direction and strength with periods of complete calm. Posted on 30 Apr 2023
Haydn Griffiths RNLI Trophy Day at Leigh & Lowton
48 boats race, fundraising in the memory of a young club member In 2022, we unfortunately lost one of our younger members in a tragic accident, pursuing the outdoor hobbies he loved the most. Haydn has been etched into Leigh & Lowton history by having this event renamed after him. Posted on 4 Apr 2023
RS200 Northern Tour at Leigh & Lowton
A number 1 report from a musical mind The 2023 Sailing Chandlery RS200 Northern Tour kicked off in blustery conditions at Leigh and Lowton SC as 12 boats hit the water for plenty of close racing, tiring hiking and big sends! Posted on 4 Apr 2023