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GP14 Midland Bell at Nantwich & Border Counties Sailing Club

by Charles Saunders 18 May 2022 01:07 PDT 15 May 2022

The prospect of a South Easterly breeze (the best direction at Nantwich) of reasonable strength, lured us across the Midlands on Sunday 15th May and also lured the Telfords down the M6 from Bassenthwaite. We were not to be disappointed. A few drops of rain while rigging soon cleared and fortified by free tea, seven boats launched to cruise down the lake to the starting line at the far end.

Nantwich normally hold their GP14 Open early in the season as they sometimes have a problem with weed growth later on - the locals never use more than three-quarters centreboard - that's it, their secret's out!

The race officer got the first race away cleanly and the two Gold fleet boats set about their usual battle for supremacy, in light to moderate winds. The Telfords (Bassenthwaite) father and son team triumphing over Pete Thoms & Dawn Frost (Nantwich), the Dumbeltons (Nantwich) father and daughter combo rounding out the top three.

After an excellent chilli and baked potato lunch, battle resumed, the wind now having got up a bit, but still as shifty and gusty as always at Nantwich. Gear failure had reduced the fleet to six this time.

The race officer set the same course and once again the Gold fleet boats raced ahead to sort out line honours. The battle for third place was more even this time and on the second or third lap Thoms & Frost went left off the leeward mark, Sleep & Saunders followed briefly, then tacked off to the right which paid off; they established a clear gap and maintained it to finish third. The Telfords now had two bullets, the Dumbeltons a second and a third, but the battle for third place was nicely set up.

Alas, just after the finish, halyard failure dropped Pete Thoms mainsail unexpectedly, thus ruling him out of race three.

The wind direction had not changed, so after a short break for tea, five boats set off again on the same course - this time the Telfords, Dumbeltons and Sleep & Saunders were all in contention until the second downwind leg when the gust of the day resulted in a three sail capsize for Sleep/Saunders and a very hairy moment for the Dumbeltons. Sleep/Saunders managed to right their boat quickly and hang on to third place.

Thus the Telfords finished worthy winners with three firsts, the Dumbeltons, had a third and two seconds and Sleep/Saunders were third.

At the prize-giving, John Telford thanked the race officer, safety team and galley staff for a most enjoyable days racing and praised the race officer for sticking to the same course because it worked well and provided good close exciting sailing.

If you wanted to practice your close quarters boat handling, wind shift detection and spinnaker work this was the day and the place to do it - well done Nantwich!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
114261John TelfordJack TelfordBassenthwaite1112
213868Oliver DumbeltonHarriet DumbeltonNantwich3224
314072Darrell SleepCharles SaundersStaunton H4336
413813Pete ThomsDawn FrostNantwich24DNC6
513166Richard BinnsIan BellinghamNantwich5649
614276John McDonaldJo McDonaldNantwichRTD5RTD11
713554Dave EdwardsSimon ToddNantwich6DNSDNS 

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