The invite for the GP14 Bolton Open on Sunday 21st June warned that the temperatures might not be the same as Barbados but promised there would be wind. On the day the event delivered spectacularly on both fronts with a cold blustery North West force 4+ welcoming the 5 visitors and 9 home boats to Bolton SC.

Principle race officer Warren Price took full advantage of the favourable wind direction and set a good beat down the length of the reservoir for race 1.  Local pairing Gary Deighan and Dale Knowles were quick out of the blocks and lead at the first mark with Neil Platt and Sam Platt from West Kirby close behind.  Neil/Sam fought hard to keep off Tim Harper and Gabe Hill from West Lancashire YC in third, which allowed Gary/Dale to build a good lead and take the first gun of the day despite their main sheet snapping during the last lap.

The tricky conditions took their toll throughout the fleet with a number of crews testing the water temperature up at Bolton and one even opting for a little sight seeing ashore behind the island, all be it, perhaps not of their own doing.

Although the wind threatened to become more Westerly race 2 got underway with the same long beat down the reservoir, this time it was Neil/Sam who showed first at the mark followed by Tom Wallwork and Mark Platt in hot pursuit.  It was soon Tim/Gabe who skilfully took advantage of Tom/Mark defending their position against Gary/Dale by sneaking through the battling pair to take over 2nd and begin the chase down of Neil/Sam.  Despite some confusion in the lead boat about whether or not to go through the finish line each lap they held on at the front to take the second race with Tim/Gabe comfortable in 2nd and Gary/Dale finishing off the podium places for race 2.

This left the event delicately poised with 3 boats in a position to top the overall podium each needing a win in the final race to be sure of victory.  Close racing at the front of race 3 was matched by equally intense battles for both silver and bronze fleet places.  Matt Birks and Alan Jones sailed consistently well through out the 3 races to take the silver prize and Richard Craig, returning to GP14 racing for the first time in a number of years, sailing with the extremely enthusiastic Zena Martin secured the win in the bronze fleet.

At the front of race 3 a similar pattern to the earlier races was unfolding with the usual three fighting it out once again.  The lead swapped a couple of times before an unfortunate error for Gary/Dale resulted in a tightly wrapped Genoa costing them both their place in the final race and ultimately a chance of the overall win.  This left Tim/Gabe to try and chase down Neil/Sam however they were in their own battle with Tom/Mark and therefore could do nothing to stop the leader sailing off to their second race win and the top spot in the event.  Gary/Dale’s win in the first race secured them the second overall spot with Tim/Gabe holding on for 3rd despite a tremendous effort from Tom/Mark over the course of the day.

All that was left to do was for the competitors to decide on alcohol or not in their Pina Colada, which was kindly supplied by the host club, as the winners Neil and Sam collected the trophy and thanked all the race team and club members for an excellent days sailing.

(Words: Gary Deighan, Photos: David Ivins)

Overall

Sailed: 3, Discards: 1, To count: 2, Entries: 14, Scoring system: Appendix A
Rank SailNo Club HelmName CrewName R1 R2 R3 Total Nett
1st 13924 WKSC Neil Platt Sam Platt (2.0) 1.0 1.0 4.0 2.0
2nd 13933 Bolton Gary Deighan Dale Knowles 1.0 3.0 (15.0 DNF) 19.0 4.0
3rd 14150 WLYC Tim Harper Gabe Gill (3.0) 2.0 3.0 8.0 5.0
4th 13839 Redesmere & Bolton Tom Wallwork Mark Platt (4.0) 4.0 2.0 10.0 6.0
5th 13456 RYA Matt Birks Alan Jones (6.0) 6.0 4.0 16.0 10.0
6th 8162 Bolton Chris Aubrey Carl Trinder 5.0 (7.0) 5.0 17.0 10.0
7th 13791 Bolton Julie Waddington Chris Waddington (15.0 DNF) 5.0 6.0 26.0 11.0
8th 13465 Bolton Richard Craig Zena Martin 8.0 (15.0 DNF) 7.0 30.0 15.0
9th 13819 Derwent Res. SC Duncan Greenhalgh Colin Quint 7.0 (15.0 DNF) 9.0 31.0 16.0
10th 14060 Bolton Eddie Waring Julie Courtney (10.0) 9.0 8.0 27.0 17.0
11th 14010 Bolton Ian Thomson Michael Platt (15.0 DNF) 8.0 10.0 33.0 18.0
12th 13883 Bolton Ian Moodie Ian Trinder 9.0 10.0 (15.0 DNF) 34.0 19.0
13th 13737 Bolton Amy Kershaw Rebecca Kershaw 11.0 11.0 (15.0 DNC) 37.0 22.0
14th 13320 Bolton Roger Prince Graham Kershaw (15.0 DNF) 12.0 11.0 38.0 23.0