Cheethams take it
We were greeted with sunny weather, interspersed from time to time with rain squalls. The wind was a very shifty force 3 to 4 and well above at times, making for interesting racing on the largest natural lake in the northern area. The lake has a number of very shallow areas and unfortunately was also suffering with weed this year making life difficult for the deep foils of modern 12s.
Having lost one competitor as a result of running aground and damaging his transom, the rest of fleet made it to the start in a massive rain squall.
Race 1 started with a short beat off a very short line with Philip and Helen David first to the first mark. On the first long reach the fleet made the mistake of going high to avoid the shallows but were soon to regret this as all the leading boats hit shallows at high speed resulting in Philip breaking a tiller, Howard Chadwick and Stewart Miatt breaking rudder downhauls and John Cheetham coming in with a rudder that would not stay down. After a gruelling race, only four of the thirteen boats finished with Peter Miatt and Barbara Spence winning, Bernard Clark second and Brian Miatt in third place
Race 2 - the same course and this time nobody went anywhere near the shallows! Philip again got away well but this turned into an early dip on the reach as directional control was at times very difficult due to constantly weeded plates and rudders. John and Alison Cheetham, now with a well strapped down Yeadon length rudder went very quickly indeed, beating Peter Miatt into second place with Bernard Clark finishing third
Race 3 was sailed back to back with the additional hazard of a capsized Brian Miatt on the start line to provide a further challenge to the boats still capable and willing to race again in the testing conditions.
John Cheetham took an early lead, Peter Miatt capsized and many others were struggling. John Cheetham capsized next to the committee boat and this dropped him well down the fleet. leaving Stewart Miatt, Howard and Bernard to battle it out or so it seemed until John reappeared at the end of the long reach only to broach and miss the mark allowing Peter and Howard to open out again whilst Bernard tested the water temperature.
On the final beat Howard picked up weed and dropped back on Stewart whilst John pulled up yet again to round the windward mark in second place. The finish was virtually a tie with Stewart just taking first place John second, Howard third by a significant margin and Bernard following in fourth place again with only four boats finishing the course.
Overall, an excellent days sailing in very testing conditions and the final results:-
1 N3209 John and Alison Cheetham
2 N3448 Peter Miatt and Barbara Spence
3 N3186 Stewart Miatt and Yvonne McInnes
4 N3382 Bernard Clark and
5 N3384 Howard Chadwick and Helen Nicholson
6 N3434 James and Kirsty Nicholson