Flying 15 GP Open

A long term forecast of gusting winds and rain improved, for Saturday at least, providing a window that tempted a good fleet of sailors to make last minute entries for the GP14 and F15 opens, part of the Waples Wine Northern Traveller series.

The rain had passed through as the OD set off to start racing in the bay where the SSW winds were swinging around Sale Fell. However, the winds proved to be steadier (in direction) through the Scarness narrows, so a course was set to beat to mark 7, with the leeward mark dipping back into the Northern bay.

In the F15s, Dovestone sailors Dave McKee and Mal Hartland got off to a flying start, but Simon Longstaff and Jon Denwood broke through and led to the finish of the hour long race. In the GPs, Commodore Mark Somerville teamed up with Phil Hodgkins, and despite slipping back at times, fought back through to beat Mike Fairlamb and Eric Smith.

After the start of the second race, squalls started to pass through the course area as other parts had little wind. The GPs had a general recall, by which time the squalls were getting harsher and more frequent. As more boats in both fleets were flattened by down draughts, the OD kept a close eye on the situation, and as the F15s completed their second lap, he opted to shorten the course and take the fleet ashore to see if conditions would improve. In the F15s, Simon took another win with Nigel and Gavin Tullet 2nd. In the GPs, Mark won again, with Jean-Louis Simons Mark Hinton from West Kirby 2nd.

Sailors voted with their feet once ashore, and with no sign of the weather abating, racing was abandoned for the day.

The overnight situation has Bass boats leading both fleets.

The Bass micro climate again beat the forecast with many of wild gusts being held at bay, enabling racing to get underway. The wind did strengthen as the morning progressed, and there were various capsizes along the way, especially at the gybe marks which seemed all to frequent for some crews! Two races were completed before lunch and the final race, one having been held over from Saturday, after lunch.

The GPs result was determined before lunch with Mark securing a 2nd and his third 1st, but the F15s result was dependant on the final race as Dave McKee won both morning races. Spinnaker problems put paid to Simon’s chances of beating Dave in the final race who went on to take his 3rd win of the day, and the open meeting trophy.

The prizes were awarded by the Commodore’s wife, Kirstie Somerville. Dave McKee gave a vote of thanks to the club for its efforts over the weekend.

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