The Flying 15 Northern Championship at Royal Windermere YC on 3-5 May attracted an entry of over 30 boats

The Flying 15 Northern Championship at Royal Windermere YC on 3-5 May attracted an entry of over 30 boats, including a strong contingent from Irish clubs.

Two back to back races were scheduled for Saturday afternoon, and with a moderate south-westerly forecast the fleet sailed down to a start near the Ferry line in South lake.

For the first race, a port-hand Olympic-type course was set to a windward mark near the west shore and a wing mark near Storrs on the east shore. In a steady, cold, Force 3 most of the fleet tacked out into the middle of the lake, and as the first group of boats converged on the windward mark Steve Goacher and Phil Evans from Royal Windermere, in 3721, rounded narrowly in front of Justin Waples and Graham Wadley in Sparks and Sean Craig and Stephen Boyle in Whiskey in the Jar.

During the two close spinnaker legs back to Ferry the wind backed to southerly, and on the next beat boats took a variety of lines spread out across the full width of the lake to choose the best line into the windward mark. 3721 held on to the lead, while Rupert Mander and Chris Hewkins in Men Behaving Badly and Neil Platt and A. Gerrard in New Order joined the first group. The wind dropped during the leg back to Ferry, only to come back strongly on the third lap, with the same boats in the first fleet, while further back boats were narrowly avoiding broaches after the windward mark. On the final beat the wind had come further round to the south-east, and most of the fleet kept close to the west shore on the way to the finish line at the windward mark, with 3721 holding off strong competition from Whiskey in the Jar to take first place, with Men Behaving Badly finishing third.

The second race, set as a port-hand trapezoidal course, had a slightly longer beat down the west shore, with the two other marks close to the east shore. After a skilful start, once again 3721 was first round the windward mark, this time some way ahead of David McKee and Andy Farmer in Full Monty and Whiskey in the Jar. After a good spinnaker reach over to Storrs the wind dropped on the run to the next mark, tempting some of the fleet to sail out into the centre of the lake. Any advantage from this was short-lived as the wind came in again from the east, keeping spinnakers flying on the leg back across the lake. Positions at the head of the fleet remained unchanged and 3721 built up a substantial lead as the wind veered to the south east, giving a succession of straight beats and spinnaker legs. Full Monty held on to second place, with Whiskey in the Jar third. With a fairly steady south to south-easterly wind, Sunday’s races were set in North lake. In the morning, under over-cast skies, a Force 3 – 4 gave the opportunity to set a longer port-hand trapezoidal course. 3721 set up a comfortable lead, with Men Behaving Badly and Bryan Willis and John McPeake in Re-finned Gold in the places. The wind kept up in strength, shifting slightly to give three successive spinnaker legs on one lap. Despite pressure from the rest of the leading group over a long race, positions remained unchanged, with Men Behaving Badly taking second and Re-finned Gold third.

The cloud lifted in the afternoon with brighter conditions and clearer skies, and a southerly Force 3. The course was set as an Olympic-course. On the first beat, after a close start, the fleet divided as boats chose whether to keep to the shore line or tack out into the middle. Nigel and Graham Tullett in Kiffs rounded the windward mark first, with Full Monty second and 3721 briefly back in third place. Very soon 3721 had sailed back into the lead, with Full Monty in pursuit. During the third beat the wind dropped and the fleet spread out over the whole course, with Sparks and New Order coming up to join the leaders. As the fleet struggled round the windward mark to a slow-motion spinnaker run, the race officers signalled a course. As the breeze freshened again the leaders lapped some of the fleet on the short final sausage lap, before 3721 crossed the finish line in first place again, with Full Monty second and New Order third.

With four first places Steve Goacher and Phil Evans had won the championship, and Monday’s final race was crucial to decide the places, with Full Monty and Whiskey in the Jar front runners before the start of the race. Under dark clouds, with a south to south-westerly Force 2 – 3 breeze, a short, port-hand trapezoidal course was set in South lake. As the wind freshened to Force 4 and gusting 5 the leaders lapped the second half of the fleet, as boat-handling tactics came to the fore. New Order took the lead and held on for a well-deserved win, from Men Behaving Badly and Full Monty With a one-race discard.

Overall Results

1st Steve Goacher and Phil Evans in 3721

2nd David McKee and Andy Farmer in Full Monty (3628)

3rd Rupert Mander and Chris Hewkin in Men Behaving Badly (3779)

Classic fleet

1st Jeremy Arnold and Mike Pearce in Reservoir Dog (2663)

2nd G.D. Lamond and crew in Fettercairn (617)

3rd Roger Finch and J. Reid in Vega III (2658)