Finally the light winds that had dominated the opening events of the Northern Travellers series were replaced with an early fresh breeze. The talk amongst the arriving travellers at Bolton SC wasn’t about when and whether there would be a first race but more how little sailing gear would be appropriate in the bright sunshine that greeted all.
Although the warm weather and easterly winds were uncharacteristic for the Bolton Open the leader at the first mark wasn’t. Twenty two competing GPs left a rather biased line but it was Mark Platt and Rob Senior that made the best of the first beat, that coupled with putting Neil Platt about at the first mark gave Mark both the satisfaction of leading and the added bonus of getting one over his older brother.
The battle was now more about second place and Adam and Tim McGovern, Ian Platt with Chris Jolly plus Gary Deighan with Dale Knowles fought each other hard for podium places. The rather processional course left few options for passing and the positions were largely unchanged with Adam and Tim taking second from Ian and Chris in third.
A long lunch in the sun followed by the prompt posting of a new course and quick hoist of the first flag lead to a sprint to the boats and the water for race two. A similar pattern emerged as once more Mark and Rob rounded first to go on and win the second race. Behind Ian and Chris were comfortably in second place with Adam and Tim sailing strongly for third. The breeze was now building and the whole fleet were enjoying fast reaches in bright sunshine with a few confirming that the water was indeed at it’s coldest at this time of year!
Although Mark and Rob had the event in the bag the draw of the great conditions made it hard to resist and they ventured out for the final race. A quick port move off the line by Gary and Dale saw a change of leader round the first mark only for the pair to inexplicable take an early swim thus leaving Ian and Chris to try and hold Mark and Rob at bay. This wasn’t to be the case and Mark and Rob powered down the reach, gibed and took the lead to make it a clean sweep of victories. Bill Kenyon and Ben Ditchburn had now started to charge in the increasing wind and took a well-deserved third behind Ian and Chris in the last race thus snatching fourth overall.
All credit to Len Alison and his team for the OOD and rescue but the big winner was the fabulous conditions and high quality of sailing throughout the fleet. Particular mentions to Julie and Chris Waddington for a great performance to win the silver fleet, especially in conditions that they don’t usually relish, plus Graham Hutchinson and Andy Bury for a win in the bronze fleet at their first ever open event.
Next it is off to Hollingworth and hopefully similar conditions with plenty of travellers.
More photos at http://sail-org-uk.stackstaging.com/gallery/v/GP14/open2007/