Southerns – Welsh Harp Victor 2017
Gp 14 Southern Travellers. Welsh Harp S.C 24 Boats Wind F2 SW
Twenty Four boats competed for the 2017 GP Victor trophy, the fourth race of the GP14 Southern Travellers series at the Welsh Harp in North London. Three regular travellers showed up early in the boat park and one not so familiar boat rolled in having been towed down from somewhere North of Watford Gap.
The South-westerly breeze was strongest in the first race with patches of pressure up to 12 knots, big variations in wind strength and direction made for sensitive, tactical racing. OOD Brian Jeffries was able to set a course beating and running up and down the length of the lake. The windward mark drew the boats close to the pontoons and clubhouse, where the wind was at its most disturbed. Good entertainment for the spectators, as the port tack approach was from the best breeze in the middle, while the starboard tackers edged up from the shore side at the mercy of the shifts. Tough Choices.
The pin end was favoured at the start, R.Ham with crew Steve Browne and Frank Nickless sailing with Michelle Evans got away cleanly and followed each other round the windward mark. Ham/Browne hung on to the lead down the first run and up the second beat. A lapse in concentration on the final run saw Nickless/Evans take advantage of some pressure to sail past the leaders to windward. Plenty of exercise for the crews as Nickless/Evans covered precisely on the beat, offering no way past up to the clubhouse finish and Lunch.
Fortified by an excellent feed the fleet resumed racing for the afternoon. The wind had veered slightly so the course was changed to give a beat to the ‘cleaner’ side of the lake away from the clubhouse. Still with a slight bias to the pin, the pin end start was a risky option given the short first tack toward the shore. When the fleet gets lifted below the crew needs to be wide awake on the forced port tack away from the shore. There were some messy encounters on the South Shore . Nickless and Evans were lifted out of trouble and picked their way through the fleet to lead at the windward mark and for the rest of the race. Richard Lord and Hannah Rose took second with Ruslan Scutlenic and Illias Michopoulos third. Lesley Kaye and Nic Masters sailed well to maintain a 5th place after a good start, a position they had to defend throughout the race.
With Nickless and Evans packing their boat away during race three, R.Ham was able to capitalise on a better start in the third race to break away from the fleet and enjoy the scenery ,some fine spinnakers being aired before the Nationals next month.
Another good sail from old hand R.Lord to finish second and Norman Brown and Hannah Liptrop coaxed 13170 round for an excellent third place.
Thanks to all volunteers at the Welsh Harp for an excellent days sailing. Top lunch and cakes too.
Keen to maintain cordial relations with the Southern fleet, race winners Frank Nickless and Michelle Evans, from Chase and South Staffs sailing clubs, remarked upon the fine quality of the lunchtime salad, Frank then thanked the club for an excellent event and a good competitive days racing!