Hollingworth Open 2007

Hollingworth Lake SC hosted the final event of the Silver Tiller Series on the weekend of 27th/28th October. Saturdayís results counted for the Silver Tiller and prize-giving dinner on the Saturday, while both daysí results counted for the famous Felucca Trophy. A 39-boat fleet came to the start line for the challenge, with the home clubís Richard Whitworth in a strong position.

The fleet got off cleanly for the first start, though holding starboard tack for too long. Roger Gilbert and James Stewart were able to break away and take the lead, which they held to the finish. Andy Davis and Ellie Bremer looked safe in second, with Steve Crook and Jane Cockroft in third. Whitworth and Nicola Brook were back in sixth, but gradually worked their way through and, on the last lap overtook Davis for a second place.

After a general recall for the second race, Pat and Jilly Blake lead at the first mark, but a poor spinnaker hoist let Whitworth take the lead, followed by Tom Stewart and Liam Dempsey. Blake recovered for a solid third while Gilbert fended off others in fourth. These leading four broke well clear downwind, except that Blake was badly caught by strong gusts and appeared (unusually) out of control. During the third lap, Gilbert passed Blake. These places stayed to the finish, except that David Winder and Pippa Taylor just pipped Blake on the line.

Race 3 started under a black flag and Gilbert went straight into the lead, ahead of Davis and Whitworth. On the third lap, Whitworth broke through Davis and started to catch Gilbertís large lead. An incredible performance saw Whitworth on Gilbertís tail at the last mark and a great tussle ensued on the final beat where Gilbert won by a couple of boat lengths from Whitworth, with Davis third and Winder fourth. The results were sufficient to give the Silver Tiller result to Whitworth by the smallest of margins over Gilbert (the National Champion) with Winder in third place.

After a good meal and much celebrating, there was a bit less wind on the Sunday. Two boats were black flagged on the restart of race four and the local boats found the best shifts. Steve Crook took the early lead, until overtaken by Whitworth and Winder to finish in that order, with Gilbert fighting through to fourth. Race five was sailed back to back and a fresher wind brought strong gusts and a few capsizes. Davis was the early leader this time, with Stewart second, Whitworth third and Winder in fourth. On the third lap Whitworth gains the advantage over Davis, who later capsized on a gybe, after Stewart had passed him. The result was another Whitworth win with Stewart behind followed by Winder, Crook and Gilbert.

Whitworth has now won the Felucca Trophy thirteen times and throughout showed impressive speed.

Report: Graham Knox