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Comet Open at Winsford Flash Sailing Club

by Carl Ellis 30 May 05:54 BST 18 May 2024

WFSC hosted the Comet Open on Sunday 18th May 2024 in fantastic weather, the sun was out 20d heat and wind was blowing from the North 6.3kts at the start of the day later switching to North East wind 5.8kts with 13kts gusts throughout the event.

The club is in the centre of the county of Cheshire and attracted 20 boats in all from across the country and some opted to stay the night before and joined in the social event held at the club. Helms travelled as far a Merthyr Tydfil, Chipstead, Staunton Harold, Burghfield and Ogston.

There was one race before lunch and two back-to-back races in the afternoon, the race team set some excellent courses making good use of the lake and conditions.

The first race saw several helms taken on a port start which included local sailors Peter Chambers (437) and Kath Whittaker (293). First to the windward mark was Eddie Pope (377) closely followed by a tight pack with Peter Chambers (437) Peter Coop (610) and Chris Robinson (867). There was a dead patch of wind between markers 3 and 2 which saw the fleet bunch up. Jim Murie (706) got caught out on the first lap with a wind shift causing him to capsize at the back of the mid fleet.

Lap 1 the lead was taken by Peter Coop (610) and saw several changes in positioning mid fleet which saw local helm Kieth Sowley (349) move from 13th place to 7th. Peter Coop (610) finished the race 1st place, closely followed by Eddie Pope (377) 2nd and local junior helm Jess Skelding (608) having a great result taking 3rd.

There was a well-earned break for lunch provided by Kathy, Beth and contributions of a variety of cakes by Fiona, Linda and Carl. The wind shifted more North Easterly; the strength remained constant but with the good old wind shifts WFSC is well renowned to keep everyone focused.

The second race all helms took on a starboard start and saw local sailor Peter Chambers (437) with a flying start to take the lead closely followed by Chris Robinson (867) and Alan Bennet (126) all in strong positions from the start. The first mark saw Peter Coop (610) take the lead followed by Alan Bennett (126), Eddie Pope (377) then Peter Chambers (437) all tightly packed. Again, a series of wind shifts caught a few out and Fiona Nidri (745) who was on the tails of the leading pack capsized heading to first mark. The race was won by Peter Coop (610)t, 2nd Eddie Pope (377) and Peter Chambers (437) followed by Alan bennet (126) in a closely fought finish for 3rd and 4th.

So, with Peter Coop (610) taking 1st in both of the two races he decided to take some well-earned rest and time to watch the final race of the day and what a race it was....

Race three the conditions remained the same, but local helm and junior Jess Skelding (608) tried to make the most of the start but was caught out with an individual recall which saw her return and while the rest of the fleet were off Jess was at least 2-3 boat lengths behind. First to the windward mark was Peter Chambers (437), closely followed by Eddie Pope (377) and Nigel Miller (727). The first lap saw third place switched with local sailor Martin Loud (705) reading the wind shifts well. Lap two and Peter Chambers (437) and Eddie Pope (377) were battling it out well ahead of the fleet both locked into tacking duals as they head back up the lake, however... both sailors managed to sail outside of the course during this epic tactical series of exchange. Both were disqualified which now saw local helms Martin Loud (705), Keith Sowley (349) followed by Meg Warren (174) in 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

Events then took another twist with all three of these sailors missing a mark and they too were disqualified... The lead took another big shift with local Jnr Jess Skelding (608) unexpectedly taking the lead. The race concluded in what can only be described as a dramatic turn of events with the win to Jess Skelding (608) keeping her head and cool to lead the fleet over the line, what a fantastic win for Jess. In 2nd place was Chris Robinson (867) and Alan Bennett (126) in 3rd.

The day was concluded by prize-giving and a very welcome afternoon tea and tiffin for all with Peter Coop (610) overall winner, Jess Skelding (608) 2nd plus 1st Lady and 1st Jnr and 3rd Eddie Pope.

Thanks went to the race team, safety and galley whom all did a sterling task of operations behind the scene and on the water to ensure a successful event.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelm NameR1R2R3Pts
1st610Pete Coop11(DNC)2
2nd608Jess Skelding3‑814
3rd377Eddie Pope22(DSQ)4
4th867Chris Robinson‑6527
5th126Alan Bennett‑4437
6th437Pete Chambers53(DSQ)8
7th727Nigel Miller‑106410
8th174Meg Warren87(DSQ)15
9th889Vicky Skelding‑169716
10th697Janet Gaukroger9‑10817
11th694Alan Bevan‑1514519
12th349Keith Sowley712(DSQ)19
13th643Linda Shaw‑1715621
14th745Fiona Nidri13(DNC)922
15th904Nick Baber12‑161022
16th293Catherine Whittaker1111(DNC)22
17th705Martin Loud1413(DSQ)27
18th702James Murie‑18171128
19th175Richard Gibson‑19DNF1231
20th690Carl Ellis(DNS)DNCDNC42

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