An impressive 16 visiting teams joined the home fleet at Notts County SC on the 19th & 20th October for their Flying Fifteen open meeting, which was also the final event in the 2019 Waples Wines Northern Traveller series.
Sunny skies – a welcome relief after weeks of heavy rain – and a light-to-moderate wind made for an excellent weekend of sailing, with competitors travelling from as far afield as Burnham-on-Crouch and Chew Valley in the South, plus a positive army of boats and motorhomes making their way down from Blackpool & Fleetwood YC in the North.
Another visitor of note was Graham Lamond of Ripon SC who had brought along one of his fleet(!) of beautiful wooden Flying Fifteens, this one being the newly restored Squall – sail number 1155, built by Chippendale Boats over 50 years ago. This event was the first time Squall had been on the water for over 10 years and, other than some minor spinnaker teething problems, the grand old lady acquitted herself with great style and panache against the young upstarts around her.
Squall showing off her fresh paint and varnish in the sunshine
Getting to the competition itself then, the first race saw Ian Cadwallader & Steve Graham from Chew Valley SC quickly establish a dominant lead which they held to the end, with Andy and Tom Goddard from Dovestone SC following them home and John Hanson & Helen Selden from Datchet SC in third.
After a pitstop for lunch the second race saw Cadwallader and Graham again at the front, this time trailed by Mike Preston & Chris Robinson from Blackpool & Fleetwood YC in second and the Goddards in third. The final race of the day, held in a now dying breeze, saw the same three boats in the top positions, but this time with the Dovestone boat back into second place and Preston & Robinson in third.
Cadwallader & Graham with a narrow lead over the chasing pack
Competition, as it always is at Flying Fifteen events, was tight all the way down the fleet, perhaps especially so in this case as navigating 21 keelboats around Notts County SC’s fairly small lake certainly puts a premium on boat handling skills and close-quarters tactics at times. Special mention should also be made at this point of the two borrowed boats being sailed by entirely junior crews, both of whom acquitted themselves with great aplomb and were a credit to Notts County’s youth development programme.
Saturday evening saw another well-attended and very sociable dinner courtesy of redoubtable cook Pauline – indeed it’s a measure of Pauline’s almost legendary status that even travellers who haven’t visited Notts County SC before already know all about her excellent breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Sunday morning saw the slipway busy with activity from well before 9am as the fleet launched in preparation for a fairly early start to the first race. The breeze had freshened somewhat and changed direction considerably from the previous day, which enabled rather simpler courses to be set around the lake. The fleet was keen to get racing too, resulting in a general recall in the first race and the hoisting of the black flag for the restart.
New faces were seen at the front of both Sunday’s races, with Justin Waples & Jackie McKellen from Royal Corinthian YC winning the first, pushed hard all the way around the course by the ever consistent Cadwallader & Graham.
Having now done enough to comfortably win the event overall Cadwaller & Graham retired early from the final race, leaving Preston & Robinson to take the win and secure second overall, with Andy & Tom Goddard securing a well deserved and popular third place.
First juniors were Chloe Willars and John Tailby from Notts County SC, with Chloe also taking the prize for first lady helm.
First Classic was Graham Lamond & Jeremy Arnold from Ripon SC / Notts County SC, with first lady overall being Jackie McKellen from RCYC
Thanks again to Notts County SC (and assorted race officials and volunteers) for organising the event, and to all the visitors for coming and making it so worthwhile. Finally huge thanks to Waples Wines for their support and sponsorship over the years, and for all the nice-tasting prizes!
See you again next year!
Text: Jeremy Arnold
Photo: Katheryn Hinsliff-Smith and Jeremy Arnold
Some more photos from Graham Stamper – thanks