Competitors for the RYA NWJTT and Topper NW Area Championships were confounded, on arrival, to discover that the wind was blowing from exactly the opposite direction to that which was forecast. Shortly before the scheduled start time the SE breeze faded – and then gradually reappeared from the NW. It was, however, light and patchy for the first race of the NWJTT event.
Three ‘Youths’, two ‘Juniors’ and two Optimists contested the event with, Reece Tomlinson, in his laser, the only sailor able to complete two laps of the course in the light airs. Reece won the Youth division, Sam Errington from Chester won the Juniors and Rebecca Coles from Annandale took the gun in the Optimists.
After a short break the Race Officer took the fleet afloat for their second race. They were joined by the 27 competitors of the Topper NW Area Championship fleet. The next race was sailed in a steadier and building breeze. Consistency was the name of the game in the NWJTT, with each division being won by the same boat as Race 1.
In the first race of the Topper event Thomas Wallwork, from Redesmere, showed early form, winning by a margin from Nick Devereux from Budworth.
With the breeze finally established and blowing a pleasing F – 3, the next race was sailed back to back. In the NWJTT both Sam Errington and Reece Tomlinson achieved perfect scorelines by winning the final race, whilst in the Optimists Rebecca was second to Drew Gibbons from Redesmere, but still won overall.
For the Toppers the second race brought different boatrs to the fore. Zac Gibbons lead from the start, hotly pursued by James Grummett, Thomas Wallwork and Lucy Mearns from Leigh & Lowton. The four enjoyed a close battle throughout the race. Lucy picked the shifts better in the early part of the last beat and gradually closed on Zac Gibbons as he tacked to cover her. Eventually she was able to break through only to find herself on the wrong side of the last shift, and to finish second. James Grummet from Burwain was third with Thomas Wallwork in fourth.
In the last race of the day Zac Gibbons again took the gun, with James Grummett in second and the consistent Lucy Mearns in third
On the Sunday morning, with a forecast predicting a building breeze peaking at 30 mph, the Race Committee decided to sail all three remaining races back to back.
The breeze did indeed build, and conditions became increasingly testing, particularly for some of the younger sailors. At the front of the fleet James Grummett and Lucy Mearns showed good tactical awareness and great technique to maintain their challenge, in conditions that favoured the older and heavier competitors.
In the first race of the day Zac Gibbons took the gun with James Grummett in second and Thomas Wallwork in third. Lucy Mearns could only manage sixth.
In the second race competition was becoming fierce and a fascinating duel ensued at the front of the fleet. Zac Gibbon’s boat speed took him to the front but Lucy’s tactical awareness kept her in contention, and allowed her to take the lead for periods. Eventually Zac took the gun with Lucy second, James third and Thomas fourth.
In the final race Zac and Lucy both suffered reverses. James Grummett won the race with James Chasty from Redesmere second and Thomas in third. Lucy finished seventh and Zac eighth. However, following a protest, Zac retired after finishing.
This was not to be the end of Zac’s woes as a subsequent DSQ from Race 5 dropped him from first to seventh in the overall standings. James Grummett was, therefore, the very deserving winner with Thomas Wallwork in second and the tenacious and improving Lucy Mearns in third.
At the prize giving the diminutive Isabel Wallwork who had impressed everyone with her fierce determination to complete every race won a special award for endeavour. Similarly, Lucy Mearns, who had impressed with her tactical skills and her consistently fair sailing, also received a special prize.
James Grummett Burwain