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GP14 National Championship 2023 at Looe Sailing Club - Crews' Race

by Ali Cormack 15 Aug 2023 05:16 UTC 5-11 August 2023

After not being raced for a decade the Crew's Race returns to the GP14 Nationals at Looe Sailing Club.

On the second day of racing, the main fleet completed races 2 and 3. Following this, two-thirds of the fleet headed back to shore for ice creams, pasties, sand castle building or a lie down if required. However, 11 hardy boats remained out at sea to battle for the Crews' Race. It was fantastic to see the range of sailors staying out for some more fun, including Liam and Paddy from Bolton Sailing Club who only started travelling this year and the fleet's youngest competitor Mark Taylor.

The line was shortened, as was the course. The competitors sailed up and down the line settling into their new roles and generally looking a bit nervous. Off went the gun and Looe local Darren Roach got off to a great start at the port end with his eager Crew Sam Watson. Darren was closely followed by lady helms Ellie Wheeldon, Ali Cormack and Rosanna Joyce. The new crews where hiking hard and trying their best to make crewing look easy. This effort and keenness only lasted a few moments, as they soon declared that their legs hurt and they were too tired for this level of sailing!

The top 3 boats were all in contention for the lead up the first beat, at the windward mark it was Darren that lead, closely followed by Ali and Ellie. Fortunately, Race officer Steve had been kind and set some fairly broad reaches for the triangle, enabling most of the fleet to give it a go with the kite.

On the second and final beat Ali had sneaked ahead of Ellie, but managed to fall over on what should have been a perfect tack in front of the photo boat and safety team sat at the windward mark. All that could be heard was the safety team chuckling, Ellie and Ollie's kind words of gratitude and Russ' patient caring words of encouragement while Ali rolled around the back end of the boat and trying to find the tiller while the boat gybed. For those of you are interested the footage can be found (somewhere!).

Well done to Darren and Sam, for the win and Ellie and Ollie for the silver medal position and all the Crews who took part to show that helming is far easier than crewing a GP14.

At the end of racing all competitors concluded that the just for fun race was a lot of fun and we hope that the crews race will feature again in the Nationals programme.

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