Midwinter – a strange time to race dinghies. Well, there are three events of note in the N.W. The Plum Duff at Delph, the ‘whatever’ at Lowton and lastly the Eskimo at B&FYC.

The first was a waste of time and I gather the second was little better – both with a lack of wind. However, at B&F nature decided to average things out with a force 6 S. Westerly.

This is an event which I’ve always had a go at – a sort of midwinter adventure with many prizes and £100 first prize. It’s also a chance to see the usual crowd and maybe catch up on the gossip.

Lesley valiantly agreed to crew as the temperature was acceptable. Was she in for some fun! Mark Platt appeared so Bolton was represented.

The event coincides with a spring tide which runs about 6 knots. This, being directly against a S.W. wind, created a short steep chop.

It being a Pursuit race, we started with a Streaker (of Nat Champ fame) eleven minutes after the Toppers. It was a massive beat and we held off the Streaker just until the windward mark – then he was gone! The wind steadily increased and dow wind we were giving it some, but upwind we were becoming overpowered. Lesley should have eaten more Christmas pudding! As the wind increased our thighs ached and the area began to resemble Trafalgar. I spotted a broken Merlin struggling in a sea of upturned hulls. An RS200 came hurtling past oly to be punched over by a huge gust. Mark Platt passed us somewhere, but I was too preoccupied with balancing a Graduate to smile and wave at him. The race winner, a superbly sailed Fireball overtook us all before the time ran out.

Out of the 45 entrants, 23 finished the race. Mark came 6th and we came eleventh. All finishers received two bottles. A fun day, so how about a bigger team from Bolton next time?