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2022 Enterprise Northern Area Championship at Wigan and St Helens Sailing Club

by Gerwyn Brown 15 Jul 2022 05:16 PDT 9-10 July 2022

Six visitors and seven home boats arrived at Wigan & St. Helens Sailing Club (WiSH), for the Enterprise Northern Area Championship last weekend, to perfect sailing conditions- clear sky and 12-15 mph wind. The club was founded in 2020 after the merger of Wigan and Pilkington Sailing Clubs and had waited two years to run the event.

The first race got under way after a clean start with all the boats beating into the corner of the lake, Ges Brown & Julie Moore managed to take advantage of the numerous shifts to round first and sail away from the chasing pack, with Steve Blackburn & Royston Taggart, Tim Sadler & Dave Bill and Richard & Millie Pryke battling it out for second. The beats were shifty and the reaches fun, with Steve & Royston managing lead the pack and start to chase Ges n Julie. After 3 laps the course was shortened, with the top 2 remaining the same and Tim and Dave getting third.

The second race saw the same course, with a bit more wind and Steve & Royston nailing the start and sailing off into the distance, never to be threatened. Home boat Steve Hunt and Ruth Critchley showed their local knowledge by rounding second and holding it to the finish. A good battle emerged between Richard & Millie, Ges & Julie and Tim & Dave, but the final beat proved pivotal with Tim spotting a shift (or banging a corner- the jury is still out) and passing both to claim third, with Richard 4th and Ges 5th.

By the time the third race started, the wind had increased to 20-25 mph with even stronger gusts. Steve & Royston continued their winning run by mastering the conditions and leading from the front. The chasing pack were joined by Charles and Alison Morrish and home sailors Paul Shepperd & Steve Bristow and places changed on every leg. The beats were shifty, the reaches fast and the gybes scary and a few boats decided to check the condition of their upturned hulls, with a number of retirements and only 8 finishers. Steve & Royston won, with Steve & Ruth 2nd and Tim & Bill 3rd.

The tired and suntanned competitors retired to the bar, to cold beer and a hog roast to recover from the last race exertions, as someone was heard to say- "well you wouldn't want much more". Steve & Royston were leading, with Steve & Ruth second and Ges & Julie third.

Sunday morning saw even more sun, but the wind gods had gone on holiday, leaving the lake with holes and patches all over, but never to be put off, 13 boats drifted to the start.

The start of the fourth race was interesting, with at least 6 boats rafted next to the committee boat, but further down the line, Richard & Millie made the start of the event, tacking onto port and crossing the fleet, never to be threatened again. Places changed, due to the wind holes and luckily the wind filled in eventually with Tim & Dave taking second and Steve & Royston third. Unluckiest boat has to be Steve & Ruth, who capsized at the gybe mark, managed to finish (in 11th), sailed to the shore to empty the water out and split their rudder in two on the launching ramp, ending their event.

By the start of the fifth race, the wind had increased to a steady 7-10 mph and after of quick change of course (to make a beat) the remaining 12 boats got under way. A short beat saw 6 boats arriving at the windward mark, with Richard & Millie and Ges & Julie just popping round in front, with the pack doing a lot of shouting. Ges & Julie managed to find a slight gust on the first run to pass Richard, with Paul & Steve leading the chasers. The top 3 held their positions till the finish, with Tim, Steve & Charles battling it out for 4th. After the race Steve retired after an incident with Tim at the first mark, meaning he hadn't quite clinched the event. With Steve on 7 pts- and Ges, Tim & Richard tied on 11 pts, so it was all to play for in the final race.

Race 6 got away cleanly, with all the protagonists starting next to each other. Ges & Julie were the first to tack onto port and luckily managed cross the starboard gang who started next to the committee boat and were first to the windward mark, closely followed by Charles & Alison and Paul & Steve. Steve & Royston's grip on the trophy was looking precarious, as he struggled in 6th place, but after engaging the after burners, he sped through the fleet to claim second, to take the event. Behind him Richard & Millie and Tim & Dave were never more than 2 boats apart, battling for third overall, with Tim & Dave finally passing Richard on the last beat.

The prize-giving was conducted in stunning sunshine, with Steve & Royston taking the title of Northern Area Champions and he thanked WiSH for hosting the one of the best weekends sailing we've had, as well as Neil Hornby (Race Officer), John Riley (Class Rep) and David Marsh & Tony Omroyd for arranging all the beer and food for the weekend. The Enterprise fleet move onto the Scottish Nationals at St. Mary's Loch on the weekend of 30th & 31st July.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st50 Shades of Blue23310Steve BlackburnRoyston Taggart2113(RET)29
2nd Wimp23410Ges BrownJulie Moore154(RET)1112
3rd 23384Tim SadlerDavid Bill3332‑4415
4thThunderbird22911Richard PrykeMillie Pryke44‑612516
5thSimply Red23089Charles MorrishAlison Robertson Morrish66‑747326
6thAnother Myth20897Paul SheppardSteve Bristow‑87553626
7th 22075Stephen HuntRuth Critchley52211(DNC)DNC34
8th 23121Russell DickinsonRosa Gee910(DNC)66738
9thOut of The Blue22901Paul YoungLouise Hassall7‑8878838
10th 19639Chris MossMike Harrington(RET)9RET891050
11th 22891Andrew MeldingKieron Gascoigne1112(RET)1011953
12th 22971Hazel GeeLewis Howard1011(DNC)910RET54
13th 22904Rachael AstleyBryn Astley(RET)13DNC12121162

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