Well we reached the final race of the Birkenhead Winter Series, hoping for some let up in the extreme weather conditions that seemed to last all winter. We were in luck, the wind had eased a little from previous weeks, however we were met with sunny conditions and a stiff breeze, but the direction wasn’t best suited for the angle of the lake. Nevertheless, this helped in reducing the full impact of the wind, which meant we settled for our top suits. Again with a swirling and gusty wind, making it tricky to find the correct sail trim for the mere mortals.
16 skippers presented promptly for the start with Mr Gibson launching his latest machine for the first time. Jack proudly blew his new whistle – time to race.
6 races were completed in time for that well earned brew with Brad taking the early lead with Graham Elliott closely behind and the rest of the fleet were left to work out how they could improve for the second session (maybe taking the odd cheeky glance at others trim!). Kris Morrow showed early promise in a borrowed boat from Ernie, however Brad & Graham continued to adapt well to the challenging conditions and with 10 races completed, Brad eventually took the day and Graham the winter series.
After a hard and testing series, which saw perhaps wildest and windiest conditions for many a year, the winter series has finally come to an end. The deserved and overall winter series winner being Graham, who gave a master class in boat trim and handling throughout the series (damn it, Graham!), well-done Graham, it was great to take part and also watch. Full results HERE.
With the ‘apres sail’ completed, we now look forward to the start of the summer series and preparing for the upcoming National Ranking events, with some of our members dipping their boats into the International pond scene (well, Castle Semple, Scotland in April).
Many thanks again, to what has to be the jolliest race control team, Jack, Ernie & Bernie, no matter what the conditions. Under the most dire weather this winter, they have managed to keep the start line honest (well almost). A special thanks to Jack for bringing the milk & biscuits for the half time brew, Ernie for keeping the finishing sheets out of the lake (well almost) and Bernie for bringing some sanity to the proceedings.
The next IOM event to be held at Birkenhead is the final round of the Northern District Winter Series, on the 8th March. Enter online HERE.
With the current World, European & UK Champion in attendance and with many more former World & National Champions competing, this has the makings of being an absolute cracker. This event could be described as first ‘Major’ of what promises to be an extremely exciting 2014 season.
For any aspiring IOM skipper this has to be the event to attend and everyone is most welcome. Further details can found from either the Birkenhead or MYA website.
So, if you do not fancy taking part, at least pop down to see some of the latest yacht and sail designs from around the world and watch how the guys at the top of our sport, go about their daily business.
Race Report by Dave Burke
1. Brad Gibson, 11 pts
2. Graham Elliott, 16
3. Dave Burke, 24
4. Martin Roberts, 34
5. Dave Potter, 42
6. John Taylor*, 44
7. Graham Birkett, 44
8. Kris Morrow, 54
9. Victoria Gibson, 62
10. Neil Westbrook, 65
11. Bill Culshaw, 69
12. Colin Smith, 77
13. Dave Williams, 88
14. Damian Ackroyd*, 122
15. Les Kewn, 128
16. David Staniforth, 129