by Paul Allen
North West Senior Travellers final event was hosted by Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club on Tuesday 20th September. This mid-week handicap event for the over 50s attracted 39 boats from just four clubs.
North West Senior Travellers 2011 at Leigh and Lowton SC
The day started with light rain and little wind but steadily improved as the day wore on, with sunshine and 10 knots of wind by the last race. After a short postponement the first race got under way in little more than drifting conditions. Three Elton sailing club boats (Dave Woodhead – Solo, Carol and Jon Haines – Scorpion and Mike Segar – Phantom) found what little wind there was to be first finishers on the water with Dave taking the race on handicap. Second on handicap was another Solo from the host club, helmed by Mike Broatch.
After lunch the wind had freshened enough to make the occasional use of toe straps necessary. This time a feel for what was happening under the water became important as the course took the boats into Leigh’s very own Sargasso Sea area. Dave Woodhead’s Solo again took the lead and managed to finish first on the water to take the race easily on handicap, thus taking the day’s event with a race to spare. Second and third places were a repeat of the first race with local Solo sailor Mike Broach in second and the Haines’s Scorpion third.
The third race however brought new boats to the front in the freshening breeze. This time David Helme (Phantom) took the honours followed by the Solo of John Cronshaw and another Phantom from the home club helmed by Ollie Shaw. Overall results for the day gave the meeting to Dave Woodhead followed by Mike Broatch and John Cronshaw giving the Solos a clean sweep.
With the conclusion of the racing it was possible to work out the overall series prize winners using the best three results from the four events sailed. Elton and Delph, the two clubs that had done the most travelling dominated the overall results.
Overall Series Results: (top ten)
1. Dave Woodhead, Solo (Elton SC)
2. John Cronshaw, Solo (Delph SC)
3. David Helme, Phantom (Delph SC)
4. Carol and Jon Haines, Scorpion (Elton SC)
5. Gary Catterall, Solo (Delph SC)
6. Mike Segar, Phantom (Elton SC)
7. Dave and Kate Eccles, Laser 2000 (Leigh and Lowton SC)
8. Anne Stephenson, Topper (Elton SC)
9. David Hill, Laser (Delph SC)
10. Louis Moulden, Solo (Delph SC)
This ground breaking new series has been deemed a great success and is now being rolled out by the RYA as a case study for increasing adult participation in sailing. From an original trial involving 3 clubs, Bolton, Elton and Delph and with Leigh added at a later date there are now plans afoot to expand the series in 2012 to involve more events and more clubs in the North West. This is a format which makes great use of idle sailing clubs mid week and which could easily be copied by other regions.