Eight club boats and five visitors met to compete in the 2015 GP14 Northern Bell Open meeting at Budworth Sailing Club.
Post some complimentary bacon sandwiches and a short briefing by the principle race officer Russell Cormack the competitors lined up on the start line for the first of three scheduled races with one discard.
With sunshine and a predicted force five, gusting six the length of mere the competitors pushed the start line and forced a black flag. The restart saw multiple National and World Champion Neil Marsden ably crewed by Derek Hill find the windward mark first closely followed by the first home boat of Bill Kenyon and Andy Dawson.
However post some hair raising three sail planning reaches it was the young pairing of Sam Watson and Andy Hunter who powered over the top to take and hold the lead to the end. A capsize in the last beat by Marsden/Hill allowed Kenyon/Dawson to come through to post a second.
The raising of the black flag in the initial start sequence of the second race found Watson/Hunter OCS and sent in for an early lunch leaving Marsden and Kenyon to battle it out closely pursued by the young pairing from the home club of Nick Devereux and Geoff Edwards. By the end of the fifty minutes race the finishing positions remained the same. Further down the fleet Martin and Sian Joesbury, trying out a GP14 for the first time ever, posted a well-deserved fourth.
Post a very welcome tasty lunch, with everything to play and one of four boats capable of winning the competitors set out for the final race. Once again Marsden found form and found the windward mark clear ahead. Watson/Hunter forced to tack off at the start followed Kenyon/Dawson second and third. However within the first lap gear failure beset Marsden with a rear mainsheet block exploding forcing the pair ashore for an early shower. For over a lap this gave Kenyon/Dawson the lead and potential win until Watson/Hunter closed the gap and overtook to go on to win the race and the overall event.
The conditions proved too much for many of the competitors, some of whom were doing their first open meeting, who were faced with a baptism of …. well water actually.. But all appeared to enjoy the gruelling day, and by the end the sun came out, to prove the point that the sun always shines at Budworth.
At the prize giving it was agreed to have been a champagne event with only inches between boats and no quarter given. The worthy winners thanked the club, principle race officers and the exhausted rescue teams as well as the excellent lunch provided by the galley staff.
With smiles all round everyone is looking forward to next year’s event on Sunday 5th June 2016.
1st – Sam Watson and Andy Dawson – Nantwich SC
2nd – Neil Marsden and Derek Hill – Blackpool and Fleetwood SC
3rd – Bill Kenyon and Andy Dawson – Budworth SC
Excellent pictures from the event are now available in the Gallery, with thanks to Ali and John.
Congratulations go to vistors and winners of the day Sam Watson & Andy Hunter, who were really flying along!
Full results are on the Racing/Results page – look for “GP14 Open”