The very first Nationwide event of the year began with two races in changeable, patchy conditions. The first race got underway at one O'clock with quite a few boats managing to be late for the start, despite it being only a few meters from the shore.
The first beat was patchy and unpredictable but Bob Towler managed to reach the windward mark first, followed by Eddie Grayson and Rory Mackenzie/Harvey Martin, with the chasing pack just behind.
After rounding the leeward mark there was some confusion about the outer distance mark (it was included in every course) resulting in Emma Grayson having to reach to the mark, Will Hide and Emma Clayton caught up with the first three and glided from fourth to first as the wind dropped and they managed to keep their speed, they extended quite a lead by the windward mark and was followed round by Mackenzie/Martin who caught up with them downwind and got past them by the leeward mark, however a poor rounding meant Hide/Clayton retook the lead and held it till the finish as Mackenzie/Martin took second and Eddie Grayson took third.
In the second race of the series Mackenzie/Martin took the lead early on followed by Eddie Grayson and Emma Grayson round the windward mark, but along the top reach the wind changed direction by about ninety degrees meaning now the only beat in the course was the spacer mark this meant that Mackenzie/Martin kept the lead till the finish followed closely by Eddie Grayson and then Emma Grayson.
On the second day of racing the competitors were greeted with a windier and more constant breeze coming down the length of Ullswater, the wind was still shifty and could be very gusty but it was an improvement on the previous day. In the third race of the series Mackenzie/Martin won the committee boat end of the line and rounded the windward mark in first, holding the lead till the end of the race with Hide/Clayton in pursuit finishing in second, this time Emma Grayson beat her brother Eddie Grayson to get third place as he followed with a fourth.
In the fourth race of the series Mackenzie/Martin again reached the windward mark in first and held that position till the end of the race, as yet again the two single-handing Grayson's battled it out, Eddie came out on top as he managed to bear away on a gust during a luffing match with his sister, Emma however scooped half a boat of water but kept third till the end of the race.
In the fifth race of the series and final race of the day the start line was a close contest, Jenny and Sally Lorimer and Rosie and Helena Watkins shot round the windward mark ahead of the chasing pack with Sarah Clayton and Ellenor Rice-Birchell lying third. As a gust hit at the gybe mark the Lorimer girls had problems in the gybe and the Watkins girls decided dropping the spinnaker was the best option. While Hide/Clayton gybed inside of Mackenzie/Martin to get in to third as Emma Grayson took second. Up the beat Hide/Clayton tacked off early on to a header whilst Mackenzie/Martin managed to get from fourth to first which they then held to the finish Hide/Clayton managed to get back up to second and Emma Grayson managed to pass Rosie and Helena Watkins to get a hard fought third.
On the last day the wind remained strong possibly having increased a notch, In the sixth race of the series Eddie Grayson had a nightmare start capsizing on a tack whilst Oliver and James King made a strong start but overshot the layline letting Mackenzie/Martin in at the windward mark, a lead they held till the end of the race, whilst the King boys slipped to sixth Eddie Grayson fought back strongly and got back to third whilst Hide/Clayton scored another second.
In the final race Mackenzie/Martin rounded the windward mark first followed by Hide/Clayton however Mackenzie/Martin pulled out from the pack, this saved them from losing their first place as problems with their spinnaker on the second lap meant Hide/Clayton closed the distance causing Mackenzie/Martin to cover Hide/Clayton on the final beat to the line. Emma Grayson beat her brother Eddie into a close fought third place.
This meant that Rory Mackenzie and Harvey Martin were the winners of the First Crewsaver Mirror Nationwide series event of 2012 with Will Hide and Emma Clayton coming second and Eddie Grayson clinching third.
All competitors sailed very competently and battled through the hard conditions, a special commendation goes to Lotte and Becca Johnson from Hill Head as this was their first open event and they stuck with it throughout the weekend!
Thank you to Ullswater Yacht Club for a great weekend of sailing and Crewsaver for sponsoring the event and supplying some very generous prizes.
Mirror UK website
by Rory Mackenzie
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9:15 PM Thu 12 Apr 2012GMT
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