GP14 Northern Championship Report
Over the weekend of the 3rd & 4th June, Budworth SC hosted this years GP14 Championship event that had been long awaited as pre-entry had attracted 41 boats from across the country to take part in some high-quality competitive fleet racing, with 4 youth boats and 6 female helms across entrants as young as 8 up to 74 years and equal mix of skills and experience at open events.
The sun shone the whole weekend and with an ideal easterly breeze direction of 6-8 knots meant that those sailors with excellent light wind skills would be able to make good gains in the fleet and choosing a course to make to most of the pressure that did arrive, even more critical over the planned 7 race series.
Saturday morning saw all competitors arrive safely and get their boats on the water in time for a race briefing by PRO Jon Chapman at 10.45 with the first race warning at 11.45 and right on que, the breeze lifted nicely to create ideal conditions for what would be a busy start line. Sure enough, there were many who pushed it too much and a general recall ensued, but of the second time of asking race 1 got underway and was won by David and Lynn Lawson from Bassenthwaite SC.
Race 2 was to start back-to-back, but the wind decided it was time for lunch, so who can argue with nature? The Galley was fully manned and super organised for those who pre-ordered to get their bodies refuelled and raring to go for the now 3 back-to-back races planned for the afternoon.
So, of the second time of asking the wind complied with a good breeze and Race 2 started without incident as competitors erred on the side of caution to get away cleanly. This time it was Jack and John Telford from Bassenthwaite SC who won with Bassenthwaite was showing the strength of its fleet in the four boats that had travelled.
Race 3 started incurred yet another general recall as many boats vied for ideal positions and the line was reset for an updated course to account for change in wind direction, now from ESE. This race was won by Adam McGovern and Elanor Wheeldon from Hollingworth SC.
Race 4 started promptly and this time the wind has dropped to just 2 knots meaning it slow start that required the most delicate of touches and movement to get off the line and find the pressure on the course. Matt Mee and Chris Robinson from Red Wharf Bay/ B&FYC proved to be the experts here and won by a clear margin.
That concluded the first day of racing and now there were over 80 sailors and families along for the weekend, making it more than 100 mouths to feed with the famous Budworth BBQ in quick time along with some home made cheese and chocolate cakes. All quaffed down with beer, wine and spirits from the Bar listening to the live jazz band who played for over 2 hours and captured the chilled upbeat mood perfectly as the sunset golden over the mere. One of the band members was Nina Martin who also crewed with her father for 3 of the races during the day! The fun continued well into the night with drinking games and a now infamous ‘beer puppeteer’.
Sunday brought more sunshine and clear blue skies with similar wind conditions and with three races left, the Championship was delicately posed with the four winning boats on Saturday firmly in the running.
Race 5 was won by David Exley and Russ Cormack from Budworth SC to help shake up the rankings and Race 6 was won by Adam McGovern who was pushing Matt Mee and David Lawson for top spot. With the Championship posed with just 4 points between first to third it was time for lunch and a chance to prepare for the final race and for a nostalgic group photo of all the competitors and support staff.
Race 7 saw Matt Mee and Chris Robinson make the most of the breeze to claim the win of the final race and with it became the Overall Champions and also winners of the Budworth Open too, huge congratulations to them. Their prizes and trophies were presented by Bill Kenyon, Rear Commodore of Budworth SC and both thanked all competitors for making it a memorable event.
The weekend saw competitive action throughout the fleet from gold to bronze, all of whom pushed their skills to the limit and gained valuable water time for the upcoming nationals in August.
Other noted winners were Nick Hornsby and Robert Morsley for winning the silver fleet and to Finley Waterhouse and Sasha Leach who won both Bronze fleet and highest placed Junior hem with 10th overall definitely names to watch for the future.
Special thanks to event sponsor Goacher Sails and congratulations to Adam Chaplin as the lucky winner of the raffle for a new spinnaker.
Paul Gray, GP14 Fleet Captain at Budworth SC also thanked the PRO team professionally lead by Jon Chapman and Galley team by Alison Hubbard, without these army of volunteers none can enjoy a successful and safe event so all could travel home tired, but with smiles from a fantastic weekend of GP14 racing.
Race photography provided by Gordon Spruce, with presentation photos by David Beesley and clubhouse photos by Paul Gray.