ASAP Northern Championships Yorkshire Dales SC June 2007

An encouraging 25 boats from as far away as Devon, Kent and Glasgow travelled to Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club to enjoy the Vortex Northern Championships sponsored by ASAP International.Saturday lived up to the disappointing forecast with little wind and only one race. Neil Ashurst had rounded the mark first from Rob Reynolds Jones but Clive Harries led more or less throughout after that. He was pursued (or drifted after) by Keith Escritt, Neil A and John Turley with Graham Cooke first of the standard boats. After sitting around for an hour with no wind and with no prospect of improvement, OOD Steve Rickwood sensibly postoned racing until Sunday. Some people went home to gain brownie points, and of course just after they’d left and right on cue, the wind filled in to a steady F3 

Several boats had a hour blasting up and down the reservoir before we were off to an evening of stomping through woods, rolling in muddy ditches and stalking / shooting the enemy – or Outdoor Laser Tag as it’s officially known – great fun. The obligatory (massively portioned) pub food and several bevvies were well earned – even if not because of energy expended sailing.

 

Sunday was better – a bit. There was more wind but it came in bands with 20 – 30 degree shifts and so a game of ‘snakes and ladders’ developed. Early leaders could drop 10 places and mid fleet gain 10 – but in the end, it mostly seemed to be the same ones who were ‘ lucky’. Isn’t that odd?!

Clive appeared to have race 2 sewn up until he was attacked from both sides of the last run by Jonathan Lister and Keith E, he tried to cover both - letting Keith through, as Mike Gower began a run of top results just behind.

 

Race 3 enjoyed a slightly increased wind, with decent gusts. Ben Rayner had been going fast offwind and could have won this one– except he was unlucky to get a belting gust just when he had no room to manoeuvre – and he was forced to capsize. Keith, Clive and Jonathan again worked there way to the front – with Ian Craven and John Turley in close contention.

By Race 4 just about everyone had been at the front at some point and this time it was the turn of Terry Pressdee, Simon Byrne, Ed Corteen and Chris Tillbrook. There were some big gains and losses but at the finish, Jonathan L spoilt the others chance of glory by slipping through to win from Terry as Mike G just pipped Chris.

In the standard fleet, Neil Ferguson had led the entire fleet at one windward mark but Mark Peak and Graham Cooke were still in contention.

Starting the last race only Keith or Jonathan L could still win. Going backwards on the start line wasn’t the best start for Keith and he looked buried when a shift and increase of wind allowed boats on the other side of the course to hoist kites into the mark. Jonathan was in that group - led by Clive and Terry. Luckily for Keith, the wind soon filled for him and freed so much that he came into the mark fast as ‘the pack’ stalled. Terry got there first tacked a fraction too early and so just failed to get round the buoy thus finding himself on acing the wrong way with the fleet running straight at him and no room to turn without impeding someone. He went from first to last in the process! About 8 boats got round before the mayhem commenced! Keith got through just in front of Jonathan L. Chris Tillbrook now led with fellow Devonian, Chris Cunningham, Jonathan Carter from Rickmansworth and Scotland’s Angus Winchester all starting to enjoy the sudden increase of wind to force 3. Phil Whitehead finally got into gear and following some nifty mark moving by OOD Mike Saul, he was chasing Chris T hard with Keith third. Jonathan was trying to keep in touch in fourth but Mike Gower was on a charge and soon overtook.

Keith and Phil slowly put Chris under increasing pressure  - until he finally cracked. Well exploded would be more accurate! He lost his tiller extension overboard, snagged his kite whilst dropping it to go back, totally shredded the kite on the re-hoist, broke the extension, and then retired with high blood pressure!

It might be that the resulting noise (that’s a polite description) from Chris put the leaders off, but by the last leeward mark, Mike G was between them. Half way up the beat all 3 were neck and neck, with Mike eventually forcing Phil to tack away but holding Keith onto the lay-line and so tacking first for the finish, taking a good win in the best wind of the weekend. 

 

So Mike Gower’s long Journey from Kent was rewarded with third overall behind Keith Escritt and Jonathan Lister , Clive Harries was fourth and John Turley fifth.

In the standard fleet, Mark Peak from Suffolk had been improving all weekend (perhaps in anticipation of fitting his new asymmetric kit) and won the last race, but Neil Ferguson did enough to win overall.

 

With close racing and a good size fleet all agreed that Yorkshire Dales SC had done a good job despite the ‘interesting’ wind and this was a very enjoyable event.

Next race in the ASAP international Series is the Eastern Championships at Wilsonian SC, Kent on the 14th / 15th July.