Noble Marine Bolton SC 2019 Open
Bolton SC 2019 Noble Marine Traveller Series Open Race Report.
The forecast wasn’t looking brilliant for the 2019 Supernova Open held on 18th May at Bolton Sailing Club, but nonetheless 21 enthusiastic sailors turned up to the club to have some exciting and close racing in whatever conditions that would follow.
After rigging and hot teas and breakfast rolls by Bolton’s galley team the Race Officer for the day, Andrew Craig, gave the keen sailors a briefing on the day, an unenviable job looking out onto the flat calm water, especially after a 180 degree shift.
Race 1 got underway well with the smallest of breezes, allowing the sailors to get off the line and towards the first mark with the fleet seemingly synced, all helms heeling their boats to leeward.
At the first mark it was Gibson, Platt, McMullen, Critchley, Butterfield and Scott with the rest in close formation behind. On the downwind leg the competitors had a choice to make, left or right of the island. As the front of the fleet chose left, Flitcroft and Collins led the way off to the right, banking on the others being affected more by the wind shadow. After a few tense minutes of not knowing where the boats from the left were, the two came around the edge of the island ahead of the fleet on the left. Rounding the bottom mark, it was Flitcroft, Collins, Platt, Gibson. Back up to the finish line, the two leaders tacked on every little shift with Collins choosing to take an extra tack off towards the club house, which paid off as he tacked marginally in front of Flitcroft to take the win.
For lunch, it was proper Northern pies and peas for the sailors, accompanied by a strong Northern cuppa thanks to the brilliant galley staff. As always with the class, jokes, congrats and advice were flying around as the sailors downed the pies and enjoyed the brilliant social side of Supernova sailing.
After setting a course and time for the second race, another 180 degree shift came along at the wrong time. Deciding to keep the course as it was, and rather than waste a puff of breeze, the Race Officer got the race underway instead of a reset. The fleet got underway on a reach which seemingly turned into every point of sail until passing the first mark where the conditions seemed to calm down. At the first mark it was Collins, Platt, Critchley, Gibson and Flitcroft. As the race went on the wind started to pick up, with the now light wind expert competitors occasionally having to hike out, a wonderful relief as opposed to heeling too leeward in a somewhat uncomfortable position. As the breeze improved, the fleet split up into a couple of small groups, each with some awesome racing going on. At the front, Collins was getting pressure from Platt and Critchley who were ready to pounce after any small mistake. As shifts abated Collins was able to put a cover on his fellow Bolton members and got the win on the downwind run. At the finish it was Collins, Platt, Critchley, Gibson and Flitcroft.
Race number 3 got underway after a short break in a consistent 10 knot breeze. The start line saw varying strategies with the likes of Platt, Gibson and Critchley taking the Committee boat end and the likes of Flitcroft and Collins taking the pin with the rest of the fleet jostling amongst themselves for space on the front row. The fleet got away well and those on the Committee boat end got a great bit of breeze and stormed up to the first mark. Rounding the mark, it was Platt with a small lead from Flitcroft, Critchley and Gibson. As the race went on the top 3 split off while the rest of the fleet jostled amongst themselves. Gibson, Butterfield and Collins had a race of their own with Collins just coming out ahead. Behind them in the next group of boats Bartholomew was going well in the Mk1. At the finish it was Flitcroft who took the win from Platt, Critchley, Collins and Gibson rounding out the top 5.
Despite the conditions not being great for the first 2 races, there was some brilliant racing throughout the fleet as is always the case in the Supernova Class. Big thanks to all the competitors who came and to Bolton Sailing Club for hosting and putting together a great days sailing.
1st Alex Collins, Bolton SC
2nd Andy Flitcroft, Bolton SC
3rd Mark Platt, Bolton SC
Alex H. Collins