From Ullswater to Poole Harbour and from Northampton to Warsash, the Nationwide series wound its way through the calendar and around the country culminating in the Pennines. There were several parallel competitions: friendliest club, masterchef, strictest parking warden and top siblings.
First off was Ullswater, a beautiful lakeside setting with racing a stone’s throw from the club. In difficult, variable wind conditions, and two 49ers sharing the finish line, Rory Mackenzie and Harvey Martin were crowned winners of the first stage of the Crewsaver Nationwide series, from Will Hyde and Emma Clayton, and Eddie Grayson in third.
In April the circus moved to Poole. The first race started in 13 knots which built to a gusty 17 knots by the 3rd race. There was an enjoyable meal in the club followed by a mini Olympics with the well known Olympic discipline of ‘pin the tail on the donkey’. The following day was very wet and too windy. Flags N over A were raised and the old favourite of ‘pack the boat up in the pouring rain’ was practised once again. Sarah and George Richards were 1st in the event, followed by Milly and Nick Pugh in 2nd. Rosie, Helena, Midge and Harriet Watkins (in 2 boats were 3rd and 4th) with Rory Odell and Lewis Bowen in 5th place.
The sun came out for the third leg in Northampton, however both days were troubled by inconsistent wind towards the end of the day. There was close racing culminating in a win for Emma Grayson, 1st overall, 1st singlehander and 1st lady helm, from Andy and Tom Smith, Sarah and George Richards, Milly and Nick Pugh and Eddie Grayson in 5th overall.
The Mirror fleet arrived in Warsash for leg 4 of the Crewsaver Nationwide series. The wind arrived a little later and the fleet launched for 3 good races in the afternoon. A fabulous meal was served in the club on Saturday evening. In shifting wind on the Sunday 2 more races were completed under the control of the Olympic Laser Race Officer, Peter Knight. Prizes were awarded by Ian Walker, Olympic silver medallist to Sarah and George Richards in first followed by Max Odell and Finlay Boon, Katie Davies and Gemma Keers, Rory Odell and Lewis Bowen with Clare Peterson and Eleanor Keers in 5th.
And finally, to the last Nationwide event on Pennine water. Saturday was bright but cold and sadly lacking wind. The galley, ably assisted by Andrew Richards, produced a warming and delicious meal in the packed clubhouse. Under grey skies the Sunday racing was close with four boats in contention for top spot in the last race. Rory Odell and Lewis Bowen triumphed to come first, followed by Emma Grayson and Ben Settle, and Emma Clayton and Faye Caswell in third.
The final scores were counted and the results of the Crewsaver Nationwide Series were announced, with Sarah and George Richards taking the impressive model mirror trophy home, followed Emma Grayson and Ben Settle. Following on were Rory Odell and Lewis Bowen, Midge and Harriet Watkins, Clare Peterson and a variety of crews, April and Jamie Whitely and Jenny and Sally Lorimer.
Thanks go to all the hospitable host clubs and the very generous sponsors, Crewsaver who provided all the lovely prizes.