With a forecast of no wind and torrential rain, it was encouraging that 25 boats arrived to contest the first running of The Equaliser at Grimwith on 13-14 October
With a forecast of no wind and torrential rain, it was encouraging that 25 boats arrived to contest the first running of The Equaliser at Grimwith Sailing Club. Competitors from nine clubs were relieved to find a Force 1-2 blowing having seen no wind anywhere else on their journey. It was a shame therefore that Grimwith’s 400 acres and magnificent scenery were shrouded in mist most of the day. Undaunted the first race – using standard PNs – started first time.
Geoff Stubbs in his RS700 led the fleet from early on. He was chased initially by Richard and Paynter in a Laser 4000 and a pack of Vortex. Not far back the RS200 of Richard Whiteley and Anne Saul was making good progress as were the Laser 2000 of Ben Lister and Ceri Shave and Ian Smiths Laser. With Whiteley/Saul winning and Lister/Shave second, the Merlin Rocket of Chris and Henry Mark got into gear finishing third in front of Phil Whiteheads Vortex who only passed Clive Harries on the last leg, and Stubbs.
During the break, new Personal Handicaps were calculated to equalise all competitors chances of winning the pursuit race which followed.
Starting with Sue Guy’s Laser Radial and finishing with Stubbs RS700, the starts spanned 24 minutes in a breeze building to a Force 3. Guy led for a while before being caught by Caroline Setters in an RS Vareo. Suddenly the mist lifted revealing the Dales countryside for the first time and with 30 minutes to go, it was all to play for. Whiteley/Saul had the hardest personal handicap, but were well up, the Vortex ‘pack’ of Phil Preistley, Rob Reynolds-Jones, Alan Brookes and Andy Ratcliffe were not far behind and the 29er of Peter Craggs and Ronnie Carter was coming through fast. Taking the lead with 15 minutes left, the 470 of veterans Stan and Dawn Speer looked to be in with a chance, as did Mike Saul in his RS700 who was finding the course to his liking. As the finish approached, slowing tactics were employed by some, allowing others to gain but no-one could slow Saul and with seconds to go he shot through into the lead. Under pressure from Reynolds-Jones Vortex, Speer defended his wind on the broad leg which proved to be the last and was surprised to see Whiteley, who had sailed fast and free gain an overlap and take second ‘on the gun’. The Speers were third and Reynolds-Jones was fourth, the 29er fifth and Whitehead had come through to sixth. All the fleet bar five finished on the same leg, making for exciting racing, and a tense finish.
1st Richard Whiteley and Anne Saul – Ripon SC
2nd Phillip Whitehead – Grimwith SC
3rd Rob Reynolds-Jones – Grimwith SC
4th Chris and Henry Mark – Ripon SC
5th Stan and Dawn Speer – Grimwith SC
6th Ben Lister and Ceri Shave – Craven SC
7th Mike Saul – Grimwith SC
8th Peter Craggs and Ronnie Carter – York R I SC