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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

Craftinsure Bass Week 2023

by Bass Press 15 Aug 2023 07:10 BST 5-13 August 2023

Craftinsure Bass Week 2023 was a big one, with 230 entries, the biggest in the last 10 years. The club grounds were expertly prepared for the onslaught when the gates opened at 9am on Friday 5th August, with more tents and tin tents booked to camp on site than previous years. The damp forecast and with it concerns of flooding were soon dissipated when the mid-week forecast changed to sunny spells and almost normal temperatures.

Across the 10 fleets there was lots of action, with generally light to medium winds for the first half of the week and strong south westerlies from Friday to Sunday. Those who have had the pleasure to sail on Bassenthwaite Lake will know Sale Fell can get in the way when the winds from the south west. This was true to form for the last weekend when the race course was a tad 'snakes and ladders' for the wary helms and crews, most of whom had already sailed (and partied) for 7 days solid.

Olivia Leonard organised a brilliant social schedule to keep everyone entertained on shore. This included a Commodores reception, a quiz night, a pirate party, 3 live bands, family and barmy bingo, a gladiator and sumo wrestling contest and 2 DJ Enterprise discos, the last being 1990s themed. Bass Week regulars will know DJ Enterprise discos are legendry for ending (and sometimes seemingly never ending!) with euphoric light shows and for those new to raving, lessons in how to dance from members old enough to remember the actual 1990s.

Bass Week is a family regatta and this year it was notable how many youngsters were on the water. The Mirror, Topper Tera fleet was buoyant, with 28 entries and lots of banter both on shore and on the race course! New to this year's event was an ILCA 6 fleet and in the slow handicap lots of youth helms were sailing ILCA 4s, Bytes and Comets. Joint Commodore Ian Preston commented at the final prize-giving how encouraging it was to see so many new junior sailors at Bass Week.

The popular first weekend the included the Flying Fifteen Classic & Silver National Championship and the Graduate Northern Championship. Bryan Willis and John McPeake in IRL817 won for a second time with a final score of 5 points and were awarded the framed photo of Neesa, FF No 6, winner of the first FF Nationals. Graham Lamond has written a great report about the Flying Fifteen Classic & Silver National Championship here.

For the Graduate Northerns, the line-up included local teams and Bass regulars Chris & Chloe Parker, Mike Fairlamb and Jack Hardie and defending champions Guy Wheeler & Elaine Ross who were keen to repeat their success from 2022. After five races the popular team of Chris and Chloe Parker won, narrowly beating Mike Fairlamb and Jack Hardie by 1 point. Bob Murrell has written a race report which can be read here.

With 160 individual fleet races and two pursuits there are far too many race reports to pen, but here goes on a summary of each of the fleets. In the fast handicap, it was a battle of the RS400s, with the odd ICON, Laser 4000 or a 59er sometimes mixing it in the results. Mid-week the Phantom of Rob Cook was moved into the fast handicap and instantly mixed things up by winning the Martini Challenge Trophy and the Dubwath Cup. Mark Somerville and Bass Vice Commodore (and Bass Week organiser) Joe Roberts won the Dave Ovington Memorial Trophy for the best fast handicap boat over the 9 days of racing. This was a close result, with the RS400 of Dave and Jack Exley winning several races across the week but choosing to swap and sail in different combinations (many do, it's a Bass Week thing!) may have cost them this year. Also sailing an RS400, Chris Pickles and Matt Sharman made easy work of the final weekend counting 3 first places in the Cutty Sark Challenge.

There was a bumper Flying Fifteen fleet this year with 27 on the start line on the first weekend. Locals Robin Dawson and Mike Cowan dominated across the week although were pushed hard by the rowdy (in the bar not on the water) visitors from Blackpool and Fleetwood YC including Rob Mountain and Victoria Manifold who won the Luffing Cup and the Martini Challenge Trophy. In the Nairn Pursuit Mike and Sarah Harris (BFYC) finished first FF in 12th place overall.

In the GP14 fleet, locals Dave and Lynn Lawson won both weekend series counting only 1st places! In the mid-week series, Bass Week newcomers Lewis Coppinger and Bryn Abendstern from Toddbrook won the Luffing Cup and the Nat West Cup, pushed hard by Greg Thomas and Stuart Mackenzie from Southport and Paul Bowmer and Jess Roberts from Bass. This year the GP14s didn't hit the usual dizzy heights in the pursuit races. Dave and Lynn finished top GP14 in 10th place in Tuesdays Nairn Pursuit and Bryn and Lewis finished 11th in Thursdays RNLI Pursuit.

In the RS200 fleet, virtually all of the races were won by parent and child teams. Chris Pickles and crews Laura/Jack/Evie and Matt and Oliver Sharman had a good ding-dong when racing each other. Chris and Evie won the Jennings Challenge. Andy and Lily Smith won the Luffing Cup. Matt crewed by Daniel won the Dubwath Cup. The ever improving team of Phil and Oscar Davenport excelled in the windy conditions later in the regatta, winning all 4 races and discarding a 1st in the Cutty Sark Challenge.

The Bass Week Solo fleet regulars welcomed some new comers to this years Regatta. Across the week, Innes Armstrong, John Reekie, Simon Maskell and Richard Instone claimed the trophies. Rory Yardley was first Solo in both Tuesdays Nairn Pursuit and Thursdays RNLI Pursuit, finishing 30th and 12th.

In the medium handicap there was a good mix of classes, with up to 10 different types of boats represented. Depending on the wind, each class had it's day when the conditions suited however it was the Wayfarer of Louise Mckeand and Nigel Hall who dominated across the week. Ian Escritt sailing an Aero and Peter Coop sailing a Supernova also claimed race wins in the mid-week series. Sailing an RS Aero, David Cronk won 3 races to win the final weekend.

The slow handicap fleet was competitive this year with 20 boats often on the water and the majority of the fleet made of youth sailors. Sam McKay kicked off the regatta by winning all 4 races in the Jennings Challenge. In the mid-week series, Emma Robertson, Jessica and Victoria Skelding, Peter and Rosie Fletcher and Matthew Somerville all won races with the mixed conditions suiting various classes on different days. After a close battle with Esla Minton and Olivia Coady, Matthew Somerville won the final weekend with an impressive display of sailing in the strong winds.

Spirit Alderson dominated the ILCA 6 fleet, with George Coop and Tom Bates also claiming victories when the conditions suited. In the ILCA 7 fleet, Andy Weatherspoon won the first weekend. Finley Watson then dominated the rest of the racing, with Simon Weatherspoon getting the better of Finley in the windy John Peel Tankard on Friday morning.

And finally... the Mirror/Topper/Tera fleet. The battle of the 'Dads and the kids in Mirrors' was competitive this year, with newly crowned Irish National Champions Phil and Oliver Smith wining the first weekend and the early mid-week series. Tuesdays Dubwath Cup was won by FF World Champion Graham and Emily/Abigail Vials who then went on to win the Nairn pursuit race! Phil sailing with Lucy won the Nat West Cup and the Martini Challenge Trophy. And in the final windy weekend series, Jethro and Edward Gebhard won the first three races to claim first. Behind these superstars, there was some brilliant battles happening in the Toppers and the RS Teras. Tristan Shaw finished first Topper in most of the races. Morgan and Elise Busby, also sailing Toppers, pushed Tristan all the way, often finishing within a few seconds of one another. James Reekie dominated the RS Tera's with some close racing with Joshua Wright.

And finally finally.. The perpetual trophies awarded mostly to Bass members. The Miners Trophy for best Flying Fifteen was awarded to Robin Dawson and Mike Cowan. The Ovington Trophy for best fast handicap to Mark Somerville and Joe Roberts. The HiJink Trophy for best junior to Tristan Shaw who excelled in all conditions. The Junior Endeavour Trophy to James Reekie for competing in all but 1 race in 9 days and the new Caroline Storey Memorial for female determination to Grace Allen, Grace Bullen and Georgina Kirkpatrick who sailed with determination, 3-up in an RS Feva in high winds during the last half of the regatta.

This year marked 30 years of Red Seal Rescue providing first class rescue on Bassenthwaite Lake. At the final prize-giving, joint Commodore Andrea Preston thanked Mark and John and the Red Seal Team for their ongoing support. With up to 200 boats on the water at one time, Red Seal along with the clubs own rescue teams ensured everyone was safe.

So, that's it. A classic Bass Week with lots of action on and off the water. A final thanks must go to Joe Roberts for organising and leading the Bass Week team and to our sponsors Craftinsure, Luchinis Ice Cream & Gelato Shop, Shake Waffle and Roll, Carruthers and Kent Wine Shop, Heavenly Fish and Chips, Ginger Boats, Leyland Leisure Services, Bassenthwaite Lakeside Lodges, A&C Yacht and Boat Surveyors and the Lakes Distillery. Without their support the generous prize-giving's and tons of engraved glassware would only be a dream. Bass Week 2024 will run from 3rd-11th August. Be there or be...

For full results and more photographs please visit

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