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Keith Jamieson 312

Northern Traveller and Lakeland GP

ROYAL WINDERMERE YACHT CLUB 20th & 21st April 2024

If only, is an often used phrase in sail racing; ‘If only I’d tacked on that header, ‘If only I’d gone left (or right) up the beat or down the run’, ‘If only I’d covered them’; well you get the picture.  If only the open meeting had been last weekend or even next, given the forecast, far more racing would have taken place on Windermere in the new county of Westmorland and Furness (Cumbria to you and me). 
However, despite the forecast of very light winds on Saturday and almost no wind, in many directions, on Sunday, fifteen visitors committed to join the fifteen local boats for this event.  Visitors came from far afield to this iconic venue; Adrian Tattersall from Fishguard, Graham Sharp from Plockton, and Bryan Willis from County Antrim.  All renowned and frequent visitors to the club have enjoyed close competitive enjoyable racing on the lake.
The fleet eagerly set off in a light South Westerly breeze, not quite as forecast, to the Millerground area in the ‘North Lake’.  The race officer had a pensive, if not slightly worried look about him as he motored off in front of the fleet.
As the fleet tested the breeze our intrepid race team began to lay a course, pleasantly surprised by the breeze the race officer went into the sequence for the first race on time, no less.
As the sequence progressed the breeze died slightly more, had the race officer shown his hand too early? No breeze was still filling in from the Southwest and the fleet set off for a hopeful two lap windward leeward race.  This was a race where the geography of the lake came into play; do you take the immediate lift and breeze to the right of the course early but head for the higher hills or stay low to the left hoping for a hook of a lift into the mark?  Wise heads (locals) prevailed on both sides of the course.  Interestingly it was a visitor who rounded the weather mark first, he had gone somewhat up the middle. 
The run took a similar but reversed picture, luff to climb for slightly more breeze and clear air to start with or hunt low early with hopes for compression on the eastern shore with more speed to the gate at the end.  This made for some interesting attempts at gauging the geometry as the variations played out. 
With the wind shifting the Race officer attempted his own geometrical adjustments of the course within the bounds available.  One cannot really relay the windward mark in the trees!
On the final run the race leader and visitor was eventually passed by locals Ian Ackroyd and Pete Richards, in their new boat launched just a few weeks earlier, to take the win. The fleet waited with bated breath for the next episode.
Unfortunately, this was not to come and after a long delay waiting for breeze the fleet repaired to shore for the delights of the Bar and the evening social.  Coming off the water somewhat early and thirsty this fleet knew exactly how to compensate for the lack of entertainment on the water.  The bar did a roaring trade, and old acquaintances were renewed, we are a very friendly fleet of course.  The competitors enjoyed a fabulous ‘bowl food’ social meal in prepared by ‘The Cumbrian Chef’ Julian Ankers and his team.  
On Sunday morning the competitors arrived to Breakfast prepared by our Steward Zoe; just the thing after a late evening in the bar discussing what might have been. 
The ever-optimistic race team took us out to see if we could make anything of the very fickle light breeze available for the day.  Unfortunately not, with racing abandoned for the day the fleet packed up early for an early tea provided, again by our steward, and prize giving.
The weekend although only decided on one race, was quite a success given the great social atmosphere and the non-sailors being able to avail themselves of the delights of the local area and World Heritage site.
We have to thank our sponsors, Goacher Sails, and Maiden Marine for their contributions to the prize fund.  The Prize Winners were First Classic 485 Gilmac, Graham & Alasdair Sharp from Plockton, 1st Silver Fleet 2864 Miss Kitty, Ian Shaw & Sonia Kwiatkowska Notts County, and 1st Overall 4118 Impulsion, Ian Ackroyd & Pete Richards RWYC.  Prizes were awarded to 5th Overall thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.
The club looks forward to welcoming all for better sailing at the 2025 Open.  The full results are published here.  A full set of results for the Northern Traveller and Lakeland GP will follow in due course.

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