Last year it was decided the time was right to send another team of Bass Sailors to the world famous “Southport” 24 Hour Race hosted by West Lancs Yacht Club. The Club has an excellent record in the event winning it twice in 1992 and 2003 with several other top 10 finishes. Unfortunately we could not source a suitable boat or team but WLYC kindly allowed us to carry the entry forward to 2014. Again difficulties were encountered securing a competitive GP14 and team but Neil Garrison stepped forward with an alternative, why don’t we take his old Enterprise and some give some of our younger members the opportunity to come along, crew and experience this fantastic event.
The week prior to the race saw a number of developments and Mark Ninnim offering firstly his older Enterprise and on Thursday evening his current boat an excellent GRP Enterprise so the race was on.
The majority of the team congregated at Southport on Saturday morning, Neil had camped on Friday Night, Alex and Olivia had traffic problems on the A66 and arrived in the afternoon along with Dave and Lynn fresh from their voyage on the James Cook tallship. The Commodore with daughters Katya and Lily arrived to deliver a motivational speech and spent the rest of the afternoon searching for Katya and Lily amongst the crowds before departing leaving his good lady to the sailing.
Bass were boat number 30 which meant we started in flight 3, boats start at 1 minute intervals in groups of 10. Mark & Emma were first up in a light ENE wind. They made a great start at the port end and were clear leaders off the line. They continued to make excellent progress and passed the baton to Neil and Izzie at around 3.30pm. During this time position updates were infrequent but we were in 8th to 10th, excitement amongst the team was building The winds remained light and fickle as Neil & Izzie made their debuts at the event, they sailed for just short of 3 hours before handing over to Dave and Harry we were maintaining our position despite the trying conditions. Dave is a veteran at the race and Harry a debutant, once Dave had taught Harry how to roll tack progression was quick, and a cheer from Bass spectators was heard when it was announced we had finished 3rd in the Dusk Race, fastest lap after 8pm, and first Enterprise. Harry put it down to him breaking out the navigation lights!.
Mark & Emma took over after 9pm before departing to a proper bed at Chez Preston near Blackpool. They were followed by Alex & Olivia just before midnight, and at the halfway stage we were lying 12th. The wind had picked up slightly and it was cooling down rapidly, spectators were thinning out as sailors tried to get some sleep or partied in the marquee. Just before 3am Ethan and friend Alex had discarded the tiger Onesie, donned sailing gear armed themselves with numerous glowsticks and took over. Our position was still been maintained and it was definitely getting cold now.
At 5.30am Dave and Izzie were shivering beside the changeover point, Izzie having pestered Dad Mike every hour as what time it was, seriously disturbing his sleep, the enthusiasm of youth. They went out to see the daybreak and Ethan once again donned his Onesie. Dave and Izzie sailed really well and we were 3rd and first Enterprise in the Dawn race, fastest lap after 6am, a double for Dave with different crews.
Just after 8am Neil and Harry took over, by this time we were fluctuating between 10th and 11th our closest rivals been Pilkington who had our past commodore Steve Hunt, Ruth and rescue driver Chris sailing for them!! Rumour has it Steve took an inadvertent dive headlong into the lake at an early morning crew changeover, how is that possible?
Word was received from Chez Preston that Mark and Emma were hotfooting it back and they arrived at 9.30am took over from Neil & Harry in and interesting change over that has been reported on various media outlets and is in need no further reporting, they sailed until the midday finish. The whole team and supporters were there to cheer them across the finishing line and help pack the boat away.
All those who took part, on the water and providing support, agreed it had been a fantastic event. The mixture of experienced 24hr sailors and first timers blended really well, all want to return next year. Everyone played their part and were a credit to Bassenthwaite Sailing Club throughout the event. An added bonus was we finished 11th out of the 64 teams, and picked up a prize for winning Flight 3 by a clear margin, an excellent result and a lot better than we expected.
Special thanks to Mark for lending his boat and Neil for offering to lend his boat that was the catalyst that got us there.
Results can be found here. http://www.wlyc.org.uk/crewsaver-24-hour-race/results