South Shields Sailing Club were one of sixty three teams who braved the wet and windy conditions to gather at West Lancashire Yacht Club for this years 24hr race.
After a night consisting of a soaking wet tent pitching session and a few pints whilst trying to figure out quite what the sailing instructions meant and how the race would actually run, everyone retired back to their tents to try and ignore the blustery wind and get some sleep.
morning greeted the sailors with rain as the team gathered around the boat in preparation for the race start at midday. Liam and Kayleigh started the race well in the heavier breeze and had almost managed to complete one whole lap before they mounted their bid for the Broken Boat Trophy 2017 by snapping a shroud and therefore the mast falling down, all perfectly placed just in front of the clubhouse for everyone to see and for Ian Judd to video the whole process. After nearly an hour on the shore and a new shroud later the boat was back on the water and our game of catch up over the next 23ish hours began.
Over the course of the race every partnership in the boat did well to claw places back and slowly pull team South Shields back up the standings until at sunset, we sat in about 55th place. The weather gods were kind to us most of the night apart from for one hour early morning when Steve and Kayleigh were given the joys of sailing in what seemed to be 0mph of wind, however they did well to continue to gain places fairly, without paddling even if some other teams couldn't resist the temptation.
As the night went on the wind began to build and swing so it was coming from the south meaning the enterprise sailors finally got a chance to get their jib sticks out and attempt to regain some time on the GP14’s with a long downwind leg down the entire lake. Although Kieran G and Kayleigh soon found out that ents sail a lot slower downwind with the jib stick floating in the water behind the boat rather than attached to the jib after it had fallen off on the last lap of their shift, meaning a walk of the shoreline after the shift was necessary to try and find the missing stick. After finding the pole safely stored in the back of Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club’s van, Kieran A and Matt came in for a quick stick retrieval and carried on the chase.
The team carried on gaining places right until the end of the race when Steve and Duncan were tested in some windier conditions and a dangerous looking gybe mark, which managed to claim many of the teams in the final hour of the race. Eventually at midday the finish gun sounded for Steve and Duncan as they crossed the finish line in 49th place in a sinking but still functioning boat.
Overall a great performance from the entire team who showed great grit and determination to pull through after a disappointing start and to finish in respectable position.
Credit to Eve for managing to do the entire shift on 0 hours of sleep and also a huge thank you to Ian Judd for the use of his boat, and also to Liam and Eve for organising the event.
Finally a massive thank you to West Lancashire Yacht Club for hosting what was a very well ran and enjoyable event.