Green Lane off Sandy Lane, Lowton, Greater Manchester, WA3 1BQ
The forecast for sunny weather brought out the shorty wetsuits for the annual pursuit race in aid of the RNLI. Unfortunately, the wind was not so obliging as the sun and as the Optimists made their way out to the start line, the anemometer was struggling to reach 3 knots. For the first few legs of the their race, the Optimists made slow progress (as well as avoiding the low-flying para-glider) and, as the time crept closer to the Topper start the breeze start to fill so it looked as though they would loose out in the later stages of the race if the wind continued to get stronger and favour the faster dinghies. But the wind played a fickle game and despite the fact that, on occasional times, the breeze reached 9 knots, the three Optimists from LLSC, led by Bobby Hewitt, kept ahead of the rest of the fleet for some while. At the end of their first lap, Bobby and his fellow Oppie sailor Archie Leckie were still in the lead with over half the race complete. However, Tony Wright from Delph SC in his Solo had already built a commanding lead over the rest of the boats and he caught Bobby up towards the end of the second lap with Chris Pickles and Laura Westell (Yorkshire Dales) in their RS200 about 3 minutes behind the Solo and about 3 minutes ahead of Bobby as they completed their second lap. The other RS200, sailed by Tony Taylor and Sarah Tyson (Budworth) were close on Chris’s heels with less than three minutes separating the five boats in third to seventh place.
By the time the finishing signal was sounded Tony Wright had pulled well away from most of the fleet other than Chris and Laura who were closing the gap on him. Tony and Sarah had moved up to third place and Ed Thomas from Pilkington SC in his Phantom had managed to just squeeze ahead of Matt Sharman from Delph SC in the RS300. Bobby, as first junior sailor held on to sixth place.