Picture of Rob Shaw & Ian Little overall winners
Report by Judy & John Scullion Kielder Water SC PR
The two-day Dam to Dam Event at Kielder on the early May Bank Holiday was attended by a select group of sailors including, on the Sunday: five Ospreys, two VX Ones, a Flying 15, a Musto skiff and a Hartley 15.
Race Officer Mike Collins’ instructions were simple: from the starting line head up to the eastern dam and round the mark, then sail the length of the lake and round the next mark, a good five miles away at the western dam. Then beat back, swing round the easternmost circle buoy, and head for the finish line.
The forecast – for force 5 gusting 6 – had possibly discouraged some potential competitors, but ten boats set out bravely into the easterly wind. It was perhaps not the ideal time for Alex Willis, successful Osprey helm but without either her usual boat or crew, to attempt to race with a borrowed boat and two unfamiliar crew, one of them your correspondent. Having attempted to sort out crew roles and the problem of crossing the boat without snagging on each other or the rigging, we lurched our way towards the windward mark, yours truly getting somewhat gingerly out on the wire while Alex kept the boat flat and pointing in the right direction, and Jane took charge of the jib, which seemed to have a mind of its own. All in all it was something of a relief when a jib sheet block pinged away from the side and it seemed only sensible to quit while we were only half a mile from the clubhouse. We were in good company; within half an hour six of the ten boats had retired due to a variety of reasons, most of which came down to common sense overriding the desire to win at all costs in the face of gear failures, a suspected cracked rib and the awareness that conditions were likely to get worse further down the lake, with larger waves and less constant winds.