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Oct 052015
 

Snipe North Western Championship held at Budworth Mere 12/13 Sep 2015.
The forecast was good for the weekend; a westerly wind F3 on Saturday and south easterly F2 on Sunday. The rain clouds had disappeared and a westerly wind allowed the officer of the day to set an almost windward leeward course on the lake without disturbance from the surrounding trees on the North and South side. 14 Snipes were rigged and launched from the jetties each with their own agenda; either be it to win, top 5, or ‘better than last year’. As usual some snipes travelled 200+ miles to attend the annual Snipe competition.
The first race saw last year’s winners Mark & Tracy Antonelli having a closely fought battle with Phil & Emma Hackney and Eric Paalman & Jess Kelly. Team Antonelli was victorious just ahead of team Paalman who had a last minute battle with team Hackney. A 9th place for visitors Richard Marshall & Alan Williams was rectified in the second race where they won the race followed by John & Deborah Love and team Paalman. Local sailors team Hackney showed the rest of the fleet how to do it in the third race of the day by sailing a large lead to win from team Antonelli and team Marshall. Three races with 3 winners on the first day was a good reflection of the competition and close racing of the day. A perfect evening meal prepared by fellow Snipers followed by a dessert Mary Berry would have been proud was finished with a good campfire and marshmallows on sticks.
The forecast for Sunday was as predicted and as expected subject to various wind shifts. The forecasted South Easterly made it a bit tricky for the officer of the day to set a good course. 15 years of experience running the Snipe Open came in handy for Steve Hayward and Chris Allen to set a good course. The treeline on the South side would affect the strategy of how to approach the tricky rounding marks with little wind. Halfway during the race team Love was ahead of team Paalman and team Marshall. Team Paalman suffered gear failure and had to retire with a broken main sheet. Team Marshall, Love, Antonelli, and Hackney had a close fought finish. Team Marshall beat team Love and team Antonelli. Team Hackney just missed out because of a 720 following an infringement just before the finish line.
Having the extra rest after retiring from race 4 must have helped team Paalman who led the way to the finish line followed by team Antonelli and team Marshall. James Prestwich and Miles Buckley had a flying start in the last race and showed everyone around the course beating team Antonelli and team Paalman. With 6 races and 5 different race winners it was anyone’s guess where they ended up in the rankings.
Team Antonelli won the event with team Marshall and team Paalman 2nd and 3rd on equal points. A special mention should go to team Love who sailed in a well deserved 5th place. In the bar afterwards everyone reflected on their sailing and thought about the “what if”” and “if only” scenario’s. It was a perfect weekend sailing with lots of ‘serious sailing and serious fun’. I can’t wait until next year.
Eric Paalman  – Snipe GBR 30834
Results Snipe Open 2015 xls