Gazette Report – 16 September 2019

Boisterous weather conditions challenge Royal Windermere Yacht Club sailors near and afar

The Royal Windermere Yacht Club’s Windermere Class 17 foot fleet ventured into the south lake in very strong south westerly winds on Saturday to compete in the second last race of their season.

Race Officer Peter Gooch laid a windward leeward course with a long initial beat to FBA South. By the time the fleet had reached the windward mark, the wind was gusting to well over 30mph and one boat was forced to retire. ‘Whisper’ (Gay Crossley) was first around the top mark, closely followed by ‘Fathom’ (Graham Murray), and chased hard by ‘Pilgrim’ (David Milburn) and ‘Mistral’ (Robert Slack). The run down to the bottom mark was fast, with the four boats in keen competition with each other. ‘Fathom’ gradually eased past ‘Whisper’ just before rounding the bottom mark. The strong breeze showed no sign of dropping as the fleet began the second upwind leg. After a close tacking dual, ‘Pilgrim’ pulled ahead of ‘Whisper’ but the breeze increased further and a second boat retired. The Race Officer sensibly shortened the course on the following downwind leg. ‘Fathom’ held the lead to take first place, with ‘Pilgrim’ coming second and ‘Whisper’ third.

Meanwhile, a large team of dinghy sailors competed in the continuous 24-hour race on the Marine Lake in Southport, starting at noon on Saturday in glorious, sunny conditions. Teams were swapped every 2 hours throughout the non-stop racing. The initially light wind increased overnight and Sunday saw difficult conditions, with some teams abandoning the race. Of the 77 teams competing, the Royal Windermere’s squad came overall 19th.

Further afield, last week’s Gazette reported on both the national and world Flying Fifteen Championships at Laoghaire, Ireland. At time of going to press last week, reigning world champion Steve Goacher of the Royal Windermere Yacht Club was lying in fourth place, with racing still underway. The championship consisted of a series of 12 races sailed in Dublin Bay. Conditions were generally windy, sometimes becoming boisterous, with intense competition between 75 competitors from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Spain, France, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain. Steve Goacher (with crew Tim Harper), who won the world championship in New Zealand in 2017, came overall 11th. The next world championships are in Freemantle, Australia, in February 2021.

From Ireland to Cornwall and the Royal Windermere Yacht Club’s father-and-son sailing duo of John and Robert Richardson both competed in the RS100 nationals at Porthpean sailing club. The first day saw breezy conditions, with the winds then lightening for the rest of the championship. Son Robert Richardson [see photo accompanying this release] won the Youth Prize and finished in overall second place, while dad John won the silver fleet prize and came overall 10th.