Border Counties Open Report
Published 22:03 on 19 May 2023
It had been just under a week since Budworth SC had the pleasure of hosting a visit from HRH Princess Royal in her capacity as President of the RYA. As a result, the club, in its truly wonderful location, was immaculate and beautifully prepared for the 2nd Border Counties Midweek sailing open meeting. The weather was fine, with the sun appearing later in the day to provide sparkling conditions. Most importantly, the wind conditions were favourable, blowing from the northwest at a speed of 12 knots, with gusts reaching 18 knots. These were perfect conditions for an exciting midweek race event. It was brilliant to see both familiar faces from the super-friendly series and newcomers. The event saw ten home boats, along with the usual fantastic turnout of ten boats from Winsford, joined by the enthusiastic Shotwick contingent. Additionally, three boats from Chester sailing club, as well as sailors from Nantwich and Hollingworth Lake, made a brilliant entry of 30 boats. The objective was for everyone to have a terrific day's sailing.
For boat enthusiasts like me, it was a treat to witness such a wide range of boats participating in the event. The fleet included a beautiful wooden GP14, a super-fast RS100, the usual sleek Supernova, Solo, Streaker, and Comet boats, as well as Lasers, Toppers, and a lovely wooden Miracle.
The expert race management team, led by PRO Jon Chapman, set an excellent course for the first race. It featured two good beats, reaches, and a run. With 30 boats competing, the key to success was getting off the starting line and finding clear air to avoid the chaos of boats converging at the first mark. Some of the series' top contenders found themselves buried in the fleet, but Andy Todd in his RS100 managed to break free. However, the question remained whether he could build a sufficient lead over Adam McGovern and Tim McGovern in their GP14 (father and son, with the son helming) who had also executed a flawless start and were sailing brilliantly in clear air. Eric Haseldon in his Supernova, Pete Wilkinson in his Laser, and Paul Newman in a Streaker were also in hot pursuit, with Phil Proctor leading the Solo contingent home. Andy couldn't quite stretch his lead far enough, so on handicap, Adam and Tim claimed first place in the opening race.
After returning to the shore for a picnic lunch and catching up with friends, the sailors headed out for two more back-to-back races, with the wind strength increasing. Jon cleverly added a spacer mark just after the windward mark to alleviate congestion and aborted the first start sequence as the wind shifted a few degrees to the north, adjusting the pin end of the start line for the new direction. A few sailors noticed the change and opted for a pin end starts, with a Solo immediately to take a brave port tack across the fleet. But he was soon overhauled with Pete in his Laser sailing superbly planning away on the first reach and securing a second-place finish. However, it was once again Adam and Tim's GP14 that powered through to another victory, with Andy's RS100 also finding clear air and taking third place. The super-smooth Supernova sailor, Pete Coop, followed closely, with Eric expertly taking the next place also in a Supernova.
The wind intensified for the final race, and Jon added to the excitement by changing the course, allowing competitors to enjoy three thrilling downwind planning reaches and endure the jeopardy of two gybes (which resulted in a few swimmers). With two first-place finishes, Adam and Tim were assured of the overall win. However, the remaining positions were up for grabs, with Pete W (ILCA7), Peter C (Supernova), and Andy (RS100) all having a chance at second place.
The third race saw normal Borders positions with Pete showcasing his sailing skills and securing a win in the last race to take the second in the days event. Adam and Tim didn't slow down blasting along the three sail reaches for second place in the last race and Paul Newman picking up a third place in his superfast Streaker. Phil Proctor also sailed brilliantly as the leading Solo to take a well-deserved fourth (and first Solo overall). Throughout the entire fleet there had been competitive racing, exciting reaches and overall, just great fun, I would say about the best way to spend a Tuesday.
Boats were packed up and competitors enjoyed a well-earned beer in the bar as the race management team grappled with the complexity of timing 30 boats sailing differing numbers of laps. The Budworth SC Rear Commodore Bill Kenyon thanked everyone for coming to this brilliant event and passed over to Ted Garner to announce the winners. A special prize went to the sailor with the most enthusiasm and determination, refusing to stop despite multiple capsizes, it was the Topper of Nayth Kukla who was awarded a pack of biscuits as his 14 years of age precluded the usual prize of wine. The next prize was for the first Budworth boat which was awarded to Pete Wilkinson in 4th place overall (wine this time). The prizes were then awarded to the top three Andy Todd in his RS100, Pete Coop in his Supernova and to Adam and Tim as the winners in their wonderful wooden GP.
Adam graciously thanked the PRO and all the volunteers who had sacrificed a midweek day to ensure everyone had a safe and fantastic sailing experience. Dave our hard-working series organiser concluded the day by thanking all the competitors for their participation and announced that the next fun filled event would take place at Chester SC on June 6th where we can enjoy the wonderful challenges of sailing on the beautiful River Dee.
View all the photos from the event in the club gallery.