GP14 Nationals – Day 3

2016 GP14 National Championships

Day 3 Race Report – Tuesday 23 August

Champagne racing was the promise for Day 3 of the GP14 National Championships but as we set off for the scheduled start it was more like weak orange squash. Having failed to notice the significant lightness of the wind I thought we would be a shoe in for the Naff Award as we left the beach late and were nowhere near the course with five minutes to go. Finally after an hour long float we arrived to the postponement flag and were duly sent straight back. The hour long paddle with the spinnaker pole at least passed the time!

The race team did a great job by keeping the boats on the beach and holding off for a decision to go back out again until they were assured it had filled in enough. And it did at 2pm thankfully.

Lining up for the first start (Race 4) we noticed a number of boats had been a bit slow to leave the beach and were still coming downwind to the line we were looking to cross including Andrew Clewer and Mark Taylor (Poole YC) and Helen Allen and Maciej Malyjaszczuk (Welsh Harp SC) with their distinctive Welsh dragon spinny. Luckily for them none of us had paid particular attention to the tide and the majority of the fleet was taken over before the start. We got away on the third attempt but there were still four boats OCS.

With the wind now around 7 knots (or as weather guru Frank Nickless described to me ‘light and sh**e’) it looked set to favour some of the lighter pairings on the water such as Mike and Liz Senior (South Staffs SC), Ian Willis and Keith Dutton (South Staffs SC) and Sam Watson and Andy Hunter (Nantwich SC).

Sam and Andy had a fairly unlucky first couple of days so it was nice to see them get round the windward mark first although they were being hunted down by light wind lovers Mike and Liz who caught them by the end of the first lap and to take the eventual win with Sam and Andy retaining second.

Race 5 got away clean and we were off. The beats all week have been tricky with even the best sailors stumped by how easy it was to tack what seemed to be the right shift only to lose 10 places.

Normal service was resumed at this point with Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson (Greystones SC) winning, Fergus Barnham and Ellie Deverux (Northampton SC/Budworth SC) second and Mike and Liz Senior (South Staffs SC) third and reflecting the overall standings as of Day 3.

Thanks to post race beer sponsors Joules, racing sponsored by SP Boats and Elite Sails with some spot prizes donated by North Sails.

The Rum Punch Report

Although the sailing was pretty dull there were a number of highlights on the water. My favourite was as we were attempting to float back in after the racing had been delayed. Hearing some shouting and a splash I looked over to see Helen Allen instructing Magic to ‘paddle faster’ as he attempted to swim the boat home pushing from the back. Even the gentle verbal encouragement and light laughter from Helen didn’t help the boat gain any speed but it was fun to watch.

We then engaged Richard Ham and Vicky Ford in a paddle race. Coming from behind to overtake them I marvelled at our superior speed until I watched Vicky’s paddling technique and realised it was all show and no muscle!

As the boats got closer to shore the night’s Naff Award was decided as Nick Deverux and Geoff Edwards got over enthusiastic with their pumping and capsized. Thankfully it was close to shore so that as many people as possible could enjoy the spectacle. They lost their hatch cover and spinnaker pole when they went in and so were awarded a snorkel and mask by Gill Beddow in the evening to help them locate their missing kit.

Also in the awards was Frank Nickless. Having got a little stick after the first few days for being in the silver fleet, the light winds gave Frank the opportunity to try the bronze fleet out for size finishing last in one race. He was awarded a wind sock by Gill to help him try and locate the wind the next day. (It must have worked as he did go on to win the Silver Fleet.)

It was also the evening that Duncan Greenhalgh handed over the Presidential reigns to Ann Penny. Duncan gave his speech that he had fallen asleep during writing the night previously. Thankfully, he and the AGM audience stayed awake.

Later we celebrated both of them with some shots of rum and shared a slice of pizza between 15 of us. The bar ran out of rum, having already run out of cider and diet coke so we moved on, strongly suggesting to them that as it was only Tuesday, they needed to stock up!