On Sunday 4th June, thirteen club boats offered a warm welcome to three visitors to the 2017 Budworth Sailing Club GP14 Open, part of the GP14 Northern Bell Circuit. The day offered bright and sunny conditions with moderate wind from the clubs preferred Westerly direction, all be it that the winds wildly fluctuated, both in strength and direction throughout the day.
Russell and Ali Cormack ran the on-water race management, and set two separate beats within one lap, some dead runs and some three sail reaches back the length of the mere. Close attention was paid to keeping the course fair, but of course being Budworth the shifts proved either kind or frustrating, depending on where you were on the racecourse.
With the first race underway it was Mark Platt, crewed by Malcolm Marsden, from Bolton SC who led from the outset. Climbing through the pack was Bill Kenyon from Budworth ably crewed by his thirteen year old new crew Mathew Williams. By the end of the first lap Platt and Marsden had a distinct lead. However a significant drop in wind speed in the latter stages of the race played into the hands of some of those behind and as they all caught up. As Platt rounded the penultimate mark he momentarily lost momentum and Kenyon seized his chance to take the winning place.
After an excellent lunch provided Budworth’s galley ladies, the PRO called the fleet back out. A significant wind shift forced the AP to be hoisted. Although the re-set second race start line was crowded, the cream quickly rose to the top and Platt went into the distance again. This time though, husband and wife team, Chris and Julie Waddington also from Bolton, showed a turn of pace to keep the rest of the fleet on their heel’s. By the end of the race, it was Budworth’s commodore, Hugh Devereux crewed by Malcom Bird who came home with a very credible third.
With a three race format of which two would count, it was Platt with a first and second, Kenyon with a first and the Waddington’s with a second in the bag. The days racing was thus wide open going into the final race of the day.
The third race followed a short tea break, and the whole fleet was eager to get out to the start line. Yet again the start line was again very crowded and the slightly eager fleet incurred a recall. This time it was the Waddington’s who got the better of the fleet with a huge lead for the entire race, closely followed by Matt Birks and Alan Jones from North Staffs SC and John Chapman and Wendy Martin from Budworth. Once again, it was Platt who found the wind with a huge turn of speed from well back in the pack. He chased down the leaders and with only several boat lengths to spare, pipped the Waddington’s to the finish line only to learn later that the Waddington’s had been OCS from the start!
This all resulted with an overall win for Platt with a second for Kenyon and a third to Birks.Further down the fleet, Geoff Edwards crewed by Ellie Devereux finished a very credible eighth place to take silver whilst Simon and Steve Joyce in twelfth place picked up bronze.
First lady helm went to Julie Waddington whilst Debbie Goldsmith and Gina Brownsword picked up an award for competing in their first ever open event.
Mark Platt thanked the race committee, rescue cover, galley and club for an excellent well run event despite the varying conditions and looked forward to next year’s event.