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Flying Fifteen Northern Championship and Worlds Qualifier

Late but still welcome! Event Date 23rd-24th April

"Its early days yet" we said as we looked at the forecast 7 days out from the weekend, "it always changes in that time, we won’t have anything like 30 knot Easterly gusts ". How wrong we were!

A brilliant entry of 30 boats arrived at Bowness on Windermere on a sunny and seemingly tranquil day. Little did may of the competitors know that the Yacht club sits in a very sheltered position from Easterlies….they were to find this out shortly. The field was a high class one with competitors travelling form all over the UK, Ireland , The Isle of Man and even Australia. It included four times world Champion and local sailor Steve Goacher with crew Tim Harper together with many other talented crews.

By the time the fleet set off for the North Lake racing area for 3 back to back races, the wind had piped up with viscous black gusts coming across the water from the hills on the East shore, shifting as much as 30 degrees at times. The conditions were very challenging.

Race officer Steve Bewsher, who has run racing on Windermere for many years later described the conditions as some of the worst in which he has had to lay a course. However 3 windward leeward races were sailed. The front of the fleet was hotly contested, behind for some it was survival mode with at least 2 crews being dumped out of boats, but safely recovered. The first race win went to Steve Goacher and Tim Harper from the RWYC, with Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett from Draycote wining 2 and 3. Another local boat, Nigel and Gavin Tullett were snapping at the heels of the first two.

The restaurant at the club was full for an evening meal, beer and wine, lots of chat about the days racing and speculation about whether the wind would moderate as had been previously forecast.

Two races were scheduled for Sunday, and after a hearty breakfast rigging started and the wind whistling through the rigging commenced. Boats all launched again for a 1055 warning signal, and it soon became clear, as the black gusts came across from the East shore, that the conditions were pretty much the same as Saturday but perhaps a little shiftier.

Two races were sailed to complete the five race series , the first being won by the Tulletts, and the second by former World Champ Steve Goacher and Tim Harper. Like Saturday, the battles behind were intense and closely fought along with a good helping of gust management.

In the end honours went to Steve Goacher and Tim Harper, with Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett second, and Nigel and Gavin Tullett third.

Afternoon tea accompanied the prize giving where the prizes were presented by the Commodores wife Penny Aubrey. It had been a very challenging but hugely successful event.

Next year, 2023 sees the 60th anniversary of the Flying 15 at Royal Windermere and we will be planning something special, so watch this space.

Report by David Heron

Boat no Helm Crew Club Position
4021 Steve Goacher Tim Harper RWYC 1
3760 Jeremy Davy Martin Huett Draycote 2
4031 Nigel Tullett Gavin Tullett RWYC 3
4096 Ian Pinnell Ian Cadwallader Northampton 4
4102 Andy Tunnicliffe Tom Storey Bassenthwaite 5


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