Noble Marine - 2016 Bolton Open

From Yachts and Yachting - courtesy of Keith Roberts:


On the 23rd April Bolton Sailing Club hosted the 5th event in the 2016 TT Series sponsored by Noble marine. This Supernova open meeting was day one of the Northern open events with day two taking place at Scammonden reservoir on the Sunday.

Bright sunny weather was the order of the day! And for the first time since 2009 the competitors had a full lake to sail and allowed the race officer to use all the lake and both sides of the island. The wind was from a north/north easterly direction Force 2/3. By 09:30 the registration desk was extremely busy with the club turning out 15 boats and 19 visiting boats from several clubs in the UK.

Race 1 and all the competitors got away cleanly, with 1074 Tony Critchley (Bolton) leading 1133 Steve Hawley (Bartley) and 1127 Mike Gibson (Bartley) by 10 boat lengths at the end of Lap 1. On Lap 2 the fleet had broken up into 2 distinct groups. However, on Lap 3 as the front of the fleet got to the windward mark a gust caught Tony unaware resulting in a capsize that allowed Steve to take the lead. Finishing positions; 1133 Steve Hawley, 1127 Mike Gibson, and 1074 Tony Critchley third.

After lunch the wind had increased to a gusty 4/5 with oscillating shifts. The Race Officer decided to have the next two races back to back. Race 2 started with 1170 Robin Kirby (Cotswold) getting a great start followed by 1112 Mark Platt (Bolton) 1041 Jeff Robinson (Bolton) and 1127 Mike Gibson. However a huge gust came through the fleet and several capsizes ensued. Tony Critchley was an early retirement and at the end of lap 2 the top 3 or 4 places had changed around but Robin had a decent lead to bring the boats home in the following order, 1170 Robin Kirby followed by Mike Gibson and Mark Platt.

With the wind shifting more easterly the Race Officer changed the course to maximize the conditions. A slightly depleted fleet started Race 3 however it was a tacking battle between 1112 Mark Platt, 1127 Mike Gibson, 1100 Chris Hawley that led the first ten boats up the beat. At the end of lap one Mike had broken clear of 1100 Chris and 1112 Mark. Chris then made an error allowing Mike and Mark to get clear. Mike had a seemingly unbeatable lead but on the last lap failed to pass between the inner and outer marks allowing 1112 Mark Platt to take first place with Mike retracing his course and finishing in second with 1170 Robin Kirby third. After the front runners crossed the line a squall came through and capsized several boats but they all recovered to finish the race.

It is a credit to the Supernova fleet's discipline that the race officer was not called upon to use the recall or black flags with 3 clean starts, considering the challenging conditions experienced by the fleet. Worthy of note were several less experienced helms who took to the water and had a go although a number of boats had DNFs and the rescue crews were kept busy in the latter part of the day.

Final results were 3 boats tied with net 4.0 points. However, on countback the results were as follows:

Gold Fleet
1st Mark Platt (Bolton)
2nd Robin Kirby (Cotswold
3rd Mike Gibson (Bartley)

Silver Fleet 1st Steve Hawley (Bartley)
2nd Jeff Robinson
3rd Garry Butterfield (Bartley)

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