Southport 24hr 2019 – what a weekend!

Winds of 2-18 knots and a mixture of sunshine Saturday and showers Sunday ensured that there was something for everyone at this year’s 24hr race. 

A Tequila Sunrise on Saturday morning followed a great Friday night in and around our excellent marquee sourced by event-master Ian Ritchie. 

The teams prepped their boats and everything was ready for our starting teams to take to the water for the 12.00pm start.

This year, for the first time, we had 4 teams entered – Slimfast, Enterprise, Masters and GP.  The Slimfast and Enterprise teams were led out at the same start time by Richard/Beth Catchpole and Steph Wingeatt/Ceridwen Bell, while the Masters team of Howard Green/Mike Baldwin followed shortly after, with Martin Spencer/Courtney Yarwood starting our 4th entry from the back of the field due to it being a new entry. 

The start of the race was held in a steady 8 knots Southwesterly, allowing the teams to get settled and the first changeovers kicked in just after 2.00pm.  The wind remained light through the afternoon, becoming more fickle until really fading away almost completely around midnight.  However, this was not to last for long as the breeze kicked back in at 1.00am and really piped up a couple of hours later, until there was 15-18 knots blowing down the lake for a few hours, with the wind shifting a little to the West.  The wind moderated in the morning in time for a more leisurely finish.

Our Enterprise team had worked its way up to 12th position and Slimfast up to 19th by the middle of the night, with Master and GP teams still going well.  On the way through, the Enterprise picked up 8th place in the Dog Watch Trophy (fastest lap after 20.00), and 4th place in the Coddington Cup (fastest lap after 08.00).   

It made for some very exciting conditions in the darkness and all the Enterprise teams struggled to keep their masts above water, with various boats towed in or temporarily abandoned on the water after sinking!  Our Ent was no exception and the team dropped places after a difficult couple of laps with our younger teams struggling with the conditions.

A good push on the last few hours in daylight saw Slimfast work up to 16th overall at the finish (2 better than in 2018), the Enterprise in 24th, Masters 43rd and GP team a very creditable 59th out of the 73 entries.  Many of the GP team had learned to sail in the last 2-3 years and the team were ably led by Julia West and Julian Mecklenburgh amongst others – just finishing in those conditions was a very real achievement.  

Thanks to the over 90 members who attended Southport over the weekend, both sailing and supporting our teams, brilliant turnout and great to have 4 boats competing for the first time.  Huge thanks to Julia West for her overall coordination, all the team captains and Nike James/Ian Ritchie for setting up the shoreside logistics.

Full teams (in alphabetical order):

Slimfast: Mark Atherton, Alan Burton-Roberts, Beth Catchpole, Jamie Catchpole, Richard Catchpole, Lewis Coop, Joe Hartigan (Capt), Dan Hesp, Harvey Leigh, Curtis Mearns

Enterprise: Laura Barnes (Capt), Ceridwen Bell, Jacob Bennett, Eamon Cuthbert, Thomas Cuthbert, Ness Evans, Jonny Latham, Niamh McCann, Ian Ritchie, Ashley Southwell, Dave Southwell, Michelle Southwell, Steph Wingeatt

Masters: Mike Baldwin, Mike Barnes, Gary Coop, Steve Dawson, Mark Dingsdale (Capt), Howard Green, Nik James, Noe Peckham, John Peckham, Abby Southwell, Jade Yarwood

GP14: Aimee Adamiec-Oakley, Adam Catlow, Martyn Catlow, Claudio Mecklenburgh, Julian Mecklenburgh, Chris Perry, Jasmine Perry, Martin Spencer, Liz Walton, Chris Williams, Courtney Yarwood, Julia West (shore Capt)