Budworth sailors put in another strong performance at the Southport 24-Hour Race, organised as ever by West Lancs Yacht Club for the 50th consecutive year.
See the race video here!
This special anniversary attracted more entries than for many years, with a fleet of 82 boats – GP 14s, Enterprises, Fireflies and Larks – jostling for clear wind on the crowded marine lake. Budworth, kindly sponsored once again by Preston Audi, put together three well-organised teams, involving more than 30 sailors plus several loyal supporters. Many clubs sent more than one team with South Staffs fielding no fewer than five boats.
Check out our picture gallery to see some of our members competing!
Special thanks to Paul Hargreaves who took these pictures. You can see his whole album of the race competitors at http://paulhargreavesphotography.zenfolio.com/p656676091
As the race got under way at noon on the Saturday, it quickly became clear that the lake was clogged with swathes of weed and positions were gained and lost depending on the crews’ ability to clear their centreboards; helms decided the best policy was to sail with their rudders up to avoid the worst of the weed. A moderate breeze, enabling the GPs to fly their spinnakers on two of the three legs, held for the first few hours before it started to fall away, exactly as forecast.
By dusk, it had dropped light then gradually not only fell away altogether but also swung round dramatically, making life tricky and very frustrating for those unfortunate enough to be covering the midnight shift. Light airs persisted for the rest of the race, making progress at times painfully slow as average lap times got longer and longer.
Nonetheless, Team Budworth stuck to the task, patiently coaxing all three boats to the finish at noon on Sunday. They may have had to put up with difficult wind conditions, but were otherwise able to enjoy wall-to-wall sunshine by day and a stunning full harvest moon by night. The ‘A’ team finished 10th and also picked up the Porter Trophy for sailing the fastest 50th lap, with the ‘B’ team close behind in 13th and the ’C’ team finishing in 59th place.
On shore, the team invited fellow competitors to join them for a Pimms party on Saturday evening to celebrate not only the 50th 24-Hour Race but also Budworth Sailing Club’s 70th anniversary. During the weekend, around 20 other Budworth members dropped by to provide support and watch some of the racing.
While we could all have wished for a bit more wind and a lot less weed, everyone thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this unique, historic event.