The view from the clubhouse says it all about Ullswater. Fantastic scenery and a wonderful stretch of water that can accommodate most classes and courses.
The wind can be variable and shifty but for this weekend the Finns were blessed with a fairly steady direction with wind strength fluctuating between 12 and 20 knots, which made for interesting sailing.
There were 9 Finns in attendance with the only home sailor resigned to race duty due to injury. Boats had travelled from the South Coast and Scotland to defy the rumour that in a post Olympic year the class is dormant.
Racing began on Saturday afternoon in a force 3/4 with a starboard hand Olympic course. Dave Mellor, Phil Laycock and John Greenwood were first away and rounded the windward mark in that order. The reaches were very broad and the boats had to pump hard to get the boats planning but with these three breaking away they pushed each other all the way. Laycock sneaked past Mellor on the next beat only to be hauled back by the windward mark. Greenwood who was quickest on the beats was losing ground on the reaches and by the finish it was Mellor, Laycock and Greenwood followed by the second pack where Chris Farrell, Chris Laycock and Mike Woodhead were doing battle, the honours going to Laycock junior.
Race two went much the same way but this time Mellor broke clear to lead by some distance. Greenwood and Laycock did battle for two laps before a capsize on the run settled that particular race leaving Greenwood to cruise home for a comfortable second and Laycock in third making ground towards the finish but to no avail. Farrell this time lead the chasing pack home from Woodhead and Laycock junior.
The wind picked up to force 5/6 in the third race and this made racing very interesting as a tiring fleet now had to do battle with the conditions. A couple were put off and retired early but the rest enjoyed a really refreshing blast around the course with Mellor and Greenwood blisteringly fast up wind with Laycock quicker on the reaches. After and hours hard racing Mellor led home with his third bullet from Laycock and Greenwood. Farrell was in 4th place followed by Laycock junior and Woodhead.
After a hearty meal and more than a few beers the fleet sat and drank whisky till dawn, jogged around the lake twice, and then, after three hours sleep, were ready for whatever Sunday could offer. ('Finn speak' for an early night because we were all tired!!!)
Sunday brought much the same conditions and an interesting tussle between John Greenwood and Phil Laycock. Dave Mellor was virtually in an unassailable position and the fight was on for second place.
Laycock started quickest and lead around the windward mark from Mellor and Greenwood only to be overhauled by Mellor on the reach who then led to the leeward mark. The wind was starting to shift around on the beat and Greenwood hit a hard right, which paid big time as he led into the windward mark with Mellor and Laycock a few meters behind. Mellor pumped his way into the lead and defended his position until the finish. Laycock was making up ground on Greenwood all the way to the finish but was never going to squeeze past. This made Dave Mellor the overall winner with one race to sail and left John Greenwood and Phil Laycock on equal points. All to sail for!
In the third race, after a shifting wind made life interesting on the start line, Greenwood led around the windward mark from Mellor with Laycock on their transoms and the three boats pumped hard down the reach to maintain these positions at the leeward mark. Mellor who was trying not to interfere with the battle for second having already won the event opted for a hard right shift that lost him ground and it left Greenwood and Laycock to battle it out. The 'canny' Greenwood held the racing line while Laycock hit the left corner searching for that elusive port lift which never came. At the final windward mark Greenwood led by 30 meters, which was enough for him to hold off Laycock at the finish with Mellor a spectator back in third. This gave John Greenwood second place ahead of Phil Laycock by one point.
Farrell, Laycock junior and Mike Woodhead were all enjoying close racing with the occasional capsize and the arrival of the Lake Steamer creating some interesting moments. Chris Farrell was the most consistent clinched fourth overall followed by Chris Laycock and Mike Woodhead.
On behalf of all the competitors our thanks go to Ullswater Yacht Cub for hosting the best Northern event that the Finns have had for many years.
Final Results (All GBR):
1. Dave Mellor 4pts
2. John Greenwood 8pts
3. Phil Laycock 9pts
4. Chris Farrell 16pts
5. Chris Laycock 20pts