New Year’s Days Pursuit – Weather forecast comes good as squalls batter fleet
It was a big day to remember for those that competed in the 2018 New Year’s Day Pursuit at Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club. There was scepticism of the forecast when the day dawned sunny and warm with just a force 2 blowing down the Flash. However, for once the forecasters were spot on and the big winds and squalls they promised came in abundance later in the day. By the time the competitors finished this race any thoughts of hangovers and a late night of revelry seeing the New Year in were well and truly blown away.
The long-standing race team of Howard Green and his regulars did a great job once again of setting the fleet a series of beats up the lake and a long spinnaker leg back down the leeward side in the good breeze. It gave a great balance to the race, and despite some shifting winds the beats stayed good to the end.
One lone and brave Optimist started off proceedings in the form of Ben Welfare (LLSC) with Thomas Fielding-Link (LLSC) close behind in his Topper. The wind was not kind though to the early starters as they only had 8-10 knot of breeze for their opening lap. The breeze kicked up to 15-18 knots when the Solos, Lasers, GP14s and RS200s got going and this breeze was maintained through the rest of the starts, last to go were the fleet of RS400s.
There were some great battles within the fleets throughout the race. Hugh Devereux and Malcom Bird (Budworth) stole a march on son Nick Devereux and Geoff Edwards (Budworth) and despite some hard work by Nick he was never headed. In the RS400s, Chris Pickles and Mark Lunn (Delph) put paid to the challenge of Richard & Jamie Catchpole (LLSC) on the final couple of laps. Alistair Norris and Helen Summersgill (Bristol Corinthian) got the better of the RS200 fleet and the close competition in the standard Lasers was wrapped up in the end by Greg Marshall, while Lorcan Knowles (LLSC) maintaining his lead over them in the 4.7 rig right to the end.
In the last couple of laps the forecasters’ prediction came through with 25-30 knot winds and heavy squalls battering the fleet, causing some carnage and many capsizes. Survival became the name of the game as jibs were dumped on a regular basis and crews had to be agile to keep upright. A couple of boats were towed in but the majority made it ashore on their own.
Hugh and Malcolm kept their noses clean and boat upright to win by over a minute from Nick and Geoff with the rest of the fleet closely packed behind considering the deteriorating conditions. A great day out for 45 competitors and one that won’t be forgotten in a hurry!
1st Hugh Devereux & Malcolm Bird GP14 Budworth
2nd Nick Devereux & Geoff Edwards GP14 Budworth
3rd Chris Pickles & Mark Lunn RS400 Delph
4th Lorcan Knowles Laser 4.7 Leigh & Lowton
5th Alistair Norris & Helen Summersgill RS200 Bristol Corinthian
6th Richard & Jamie Catchpole RS400 Leigh & Lowton
7th Greg Marshall Laser West Lancs
8th George Graham Laser Leigh & Lowton
9th Haydn Griffiths Laser Leigh & Lowton
10th Steve Blackburn & Ian Richie Enterprise Leigh & Lowton
Full results available here:
The Leigh & Lowton winter series continues next weekend with the Junior Winter Regatta on Saturday 6th January and the first races in the Tipsy Icicle series on Sunday 7th January running through to 11th March. All events are open to club sailors and visitors alike.
If you are a visitor and intend to take part in either event please help us to help you (discounts available) by entering online via the link